How to Stop Competitors from Stealing your Customers
The modern business world is very much dog-eat-dog thanks to the globalised marketplace opened up by the internet. For a business to survive it must be compelling to customers and competitive. The keys to long-term survival and profitability include knowing your core customers inside-out, aligning your business strategy to their evolving needs, and being fully commercially aware. This means looking at the bigger picture: the factors affecting your industry sector, what your competitors are up to and how your business ranks alongside them.
Gaining this level of commercial awareness can be a challenge for new business owners or managers, but business skills training experts Maguire Training are on hand to help. Their comprehensive two-day course, Commercial Awareness, provides the knowledge, skills and strategies required for business leaders and managers to produce 'commercially aware' business plans and covers vitally important topics such as building customer relationships, marketing and promotion, managing business cash flow and costs, product lifecycles and strategic analysis.
Commercial awareness is essential to winning new customers and retaining the loyalty of existing customers. A business that takes its eye off the ball for a moment is apt to lose valuable customers to competitors, but even those with sound business plans are not immune to having their customers poached when markets are so competitive. Here, Maguire Training gives some useful pointers on how to stop competitors from stealing your customers.
- Communicate with your customers
Once your customers have purchased from you that's not an excuse to forget about them and move on. In the digital age regular communication via email or a social network takes no time at all, but the occasional telephone call or mailshot is equally valid to remind your customers that you are there for them whenever they need you.
- Give them a reason to stay with you voluntarily
Tying customers into your business by signing them up to a long-term contractual agreement is not necessarily a guarantee of customer loyalty, particularly if the terms of that contract are inflexible. A better way to encourage loyalty is to add value as part of your aftersales service. This might include suggesting new and better ways in which customers might use their product or offering free updates or upgrades.
- Conduct customer research
Customer research doesn't have to cost much. Surveys can quickly and easily be integrated into your website or sent as an email shot. Asking one or two simple questions as part of telephone conversations can be quick and unobtrusive. Yet the results of research particularly in respect of what your customers think about your competitors can be invaluable in helping you develop your business offering in order to ensure that it remains the most popular choice in the market.
- Become a leading authority in your field
By demonstrating to your customers that you know their field of interest, your product and the market in general inside out you can become an indispensable source of information and gain a reputation as an authority in your chosen area of business. Making your website as factual, informative and as useful as possible and adding a regularly-updated blog or free document downloads is an excellent way to keep customers coming back for more.
- Fight fire with fire
If you discover that a particular competitor has been drawing your customers away, use your customer research to turn the tables and target their customers. Pick out the aspects which their existing customers find preferable and attempt to match or better these. One way of attracting customers, whether new or those allied to your competitors, is to lower your prices but this should only ever be a last resort and, if unavoidable, should be for a time-limited period.
Gaining commercial awareness is the best way in which to start a business and keep it on a sound footing. 'Commercial Awareness' from Maguire Training is just one of a wide range of invaluable courses aimed at business leaders, owners and managers aimed at helping them to achieve long-term success and profitability. Many, such as 'Understanding your Market and Clients', are offered in two formats, both as classroom-based sessions and as online training delivered via Maguire Training's in-house E-learning system. This gives delegates the freedom to choose the delivery of training best suited to their needs and working arrangements.