Sad to say, I’m old enough to remember when there was a bit of a craze on women’s clothes that bore the label, “one size fits all”. Of course, it never did! Human beings tend to come in all shapes and sizes and being fairly small myself, the “one size fits all” garment looked as if I was wearing a wigwam.
“Now why is she wittering on about old clothes?”, you’re wondering. It was Trevor Edwards, Colbea’s trainer and speaker at the next BIG Group Meeting, that made me think of it. No, he wasn’t wearing a particularly ill-fitting shirt at the time (in fact, he was his normal smart-suited self) but he was talking about how we should treat our customers if we want to make sure our offering is a good fit with their needs and expectations.
Technology has driven a sea change in terms of the level of service businesses are able to provide to their customers. The collection and analysis of data means we can look at people as individuals rather than ‘en masse’. If we use that information well, we soon understand that different customers want different things from us. The pendulum of business has swung from simply supplying goods or services to developing relationships that will facilitate buying behaviour.
All buying is, in fact, a solution to a problem. That problem could be a need or a desire and could range in complexity from very simple behaviour (I’ve run out of milk, therefore I buy a pint a milk) to a major decision making process such as buying a house. Buying helps us to solve a problem or achieve a goal. Even buying the same product will have different meaning for different buyers. For example, the middle-aged man who buys a Ford Focus wants an economical family car that’s reliable and has plenty of space – it fulfils his need. The same car bought by an 18 year old who’s just passed his test may be much more of an aspirational purchase.
Trevor’s going to tackle the subject of customer behaviour in more depth at the BIG Group Meeting on 15 January. He’ll be looking at communication, buying behaviour, what happens when things go wrong and what you can do to put things right. You’ll be taught ways of understanding your customer and of designing communications that help you overcome issues and strengthen relationships.