May the road rise up to meet you.
May the wind be always at your back.
May the sun shine warm upon your face …
Those are the first few lines of a traditional Irish blessing and, for me, they are all about making life easier for the person receiving the blessing.
Regular readers will know that I’m a great fan of ensuring the customer’s interests lie at the heart of your business strategy. The easier you make life for the customer, the more you will be valued as a supplier, the longer the customer will stay with you, and the more opportunities you will have to win other business from that customer.
During a recent session with one business, we discovered that their customers were having to re-order consumables manually. However, this business held customer usage data, which meant they knew what their opening stock position was, so creating an automatic replenishment order wasn’t that much of a step for them. But doing this would make a significant difference to the customer – one less thing for them to worry about.
In a similar vein, another business was including a service offering with every sale. The default was that the customer bought the service with the product and had to specifically decline the service if they didn’t want it. As the IP for the product belonged to this business, there was nowhere else the customer could get it serviced or repaired. But including a service with the sale didn’t just give the business the security of future revenues, it also eliminated a potential headache for the customer. They too had security, knowing that the service had been organised in advance.
The key to keeping your customer on side is to understand their business need. The fact that you supply them with a particular widget isn’t important. What matters more is understanding what they are going to achieve with that widget. And when you know what they are doing with it, you may be able to see how you can help them achieve their goal. Through doing this, you will almost certainly gain other benefits as well.