Understand Your Customers or Risk Losing Them

Bristol, United Kingdom (PressExposure) August 04, 2009 -- Customer needs are changing as they feel the effects of the recession. Businesses need to understand customers’ motivations in order to succeed, say marketing experts.

“Many small firms don’t know enough about their customers,” says Kate Willis, senior account director at KW Research and expert contributor to Marketing Donut, the new website for small businesses.

Many businesses have researched customer opinion in the past, but they are not tracking their changing perceptions in this difficult market, says Willis. “Often they researched customer perceptions when they were starting out, but if they’ve expanded then the range of customer attitudes has become more diverse. That’s the point when you really need to do customer research.”

As marketing budgets shrink, market research is often put on hold. “People do have fears about market research — about the bluntness of the tools, and the cost and the time and effort involved,” says Willis. “But there are significant dangers of not knowing your customers. You could be creating a product they don’t want or need at the wrong time and at the wrong price. If that’s the case, they’ll quickly go elsewhere and once you’ve lost them, you may never get them back.”

There are many ways that small firms can get valuable feedback from their customers, says Willis. “Qualitative research can give an in-depth insight into your customers’ real feelings, especially in the form of face-to-face or telephone interviews. Customers often really appreciate being asked and love the opportunity to provide feedback.”

Surveys and questionnaires can be useful, but they come with a health warning. “Quantitative research is good but it is often a snapshot in time and things change,” says Willis. “Businesses often want to compare like with like, so they repeat last year’s survey using the same questions. But there isn’t a like for like in a recession and the questions that need to be asked may be very different. In a downturn it’s important to keep listening and talking to customers.”

Further information: Become a Marketing Donut expert by visiting the BHP Information Solutions website [http://www.bhpinfosolutions.co.uk/Who-we-are/Experts.aspx] Register for Marketing Donut here http://www.marketingdonut.co.uk/user/register?destination=node%2F27 Find out more about Kate Willis here http://www.katewillis.co.uk/

Contact: Mick Dickinson BHP Information Solutions Ltd Bristol, UK Tel: 0044 (0)117 904 2224 Mob: 0044 (0)7816 680 266 mick.dickinson@bhpinfosolutions.co.uk [http://www.bhpinfosolutions.co.uk]

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Press Release Submitted On: September 04, 2009 at 1:56 am
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