Know your Customers
January 24, 2014

Every business owner knows that it’s very important to know his or her customers. Even then in my last five transactions, I’ve done with local businesses, nobody tried to know me. Why?

  • They don’t have time to make any effort for this!
  • They don’t see any value in it!
  • May be, they are scared to ask me. What if, I’ll say no!

I was talking about this with one of my friend, Raj, who recently opened a Coffee shop in a new mall on Golf Course road, Gurgaon. It’s third day for his shop, when I asked him about his plan to collect customers’  information. He said that he doesn’t have one. He thinks this may annoy  his customers. Along with his doubt on why somebody will be willing to give his or her information to a new and unknown outlet. I believe, his answer was based on his own personnel experiences of getting so many SPAM mails and undesired phone calls at undesired time, everyday .

I agree one should not SPAM or disturb the customers. And one should treat the customers and customers’ information with great respect. But there must exists something in your business, which benefits your customers and they want to know more about it. If there is nothing of that sort, start thinking about changing the business.

Let’s take Raj’s case, he opened his coffee shop because he is a coffee enthusiast, he knows a lot about coffee, he has experience in this field, and he wants to do something different.  His business model is not just to serve you coffee, he wants you to buy coffee bean from him and brew at home. His coffee beans are especial, which he has chosen very carefully. Now couple of things

  • As a coffee lover, I am interested in knowing Raj’s coffee endeavors. And I believe, there exists so many like me, who are interested in Raj’s stories.
  • I want to know more about the product – He is a coffee expert and I would love to learn about coffee from him.
  • For people new to coffee culture but ready to join, a very much possibility in a Tea drinking nation, he needs to do a bit of education also.
  • He needs to regularly let his customers know if he has discovered something especial and also to listen what they liked or didn’t like.

To do all or some of these, he needs to have information and permission of his customers,  who are willing to listen him. There are, definitively, so much more, which can be done for the benefit of the customers by him. This will help him to earn the trust of his customers.

Now, how can Raj do it? There are so many ways to capture customers information, but I prefer technology over any other, as it’s faster, cleaner, and scale-able. The way, I will do it

  • Create a very very simple website.
  • Take out some money from marketing budget. Offer free samples of coffee only through website. Ask your customers to register on website to get their free sample.
  • At the time of registration, ask their permission to send them useful information in the future.
  • Don’t SPAM them. Provide valuable and interesting information and remain in touch with them.
  • They will love you back and share your stories with their friends.

If your business is worth doing, it’s worth doing in the right way. Stick to the age old basics and growth will definitely come.