As a business owner, it can feel like you’re constantly being pulled in a million different directions when it comes to balancing business needs vs. customer needs. You’ve got operations, accounting, marketing and staff management duties, not to mention sales and customer retention. When it comes down to it, owning and operating a business is all about expertly balancing the needs of your clients, your coworkers and your company in a way that works well for all of them. Sounds easy, right? (Wrong!)
Clients, prospective clients and coworkers all have unique needs and demands that can make it feel as though your job is simply to play go-between for them. This sometimes means your company growth goals end up getting lost in the fray. And that’s no good for anyone!
- How can you identify which needs are actually essential and develop an ongoing partnership between the three disparate factions of your business?
- How can you best identify customer needs and expectations?
In order to keep your business running and revenue steady, you need to keep your customers at the forefront. You know that your clients have come to you for a reason and that your business provides them a service that they need. Your customers also have an objective to get the most they can for their investment and to make sure they get the best possible experience. It’s up to you to determine what they can realistically expect and what you’re able to offer them.
It’s natural to want to go above and beyond to please your clients. After all, we live in a society where “the customer is always right.” A word of warning: setting a precedent with your clients is absolutely essential. It’s up to you to determine which customer demands are realistic for you to meet and exceed and which are simply too much for you and your business.
It’s important to determine the difference between needs, expectations and desires. If your contracts are well-written and specific, you and your client will both know exactly what falls within your scope of work and what services and products are outside of the realm of your agreement. If a customer’s demands consistently exceed the contracted service, it’s time to discuss what the customer actually needs and possibly renegotiate.
Business Needs vs. Customer Needs
Your business is your pride and joy, and it can be hard to separate your business goals from meeting your current customer needs. As you work toward your growth goals, you need to strike a balance between your customer needs and the needs of your business. As you’re setting your sales and growth goals, make sure that you’re setting attainable goals and that you’re being selective about the clients you’re taking on.
So, how do you best identify customer needs and expectations? If the clients you choose to work with have a high need, but aren’t necessarily paying enough to match up to the level of time you’re spending meeting those needs, it may be time to reassess that customer relationship. In order to grow your business and meet your goals, you need to work with clients who see you as a valued partner and share your vision for ongoing growth.
Your current customers represent just one facet of your business needs: you also need to be able to acquire new customers, partner with other businesses in your community, establish your brand and recruit new staff. If your company gains a reputation for sacrificing employee needs in favor of customers, then you might struggle with this last critical effort.
Employee Needs In an Organization
Your brand values not only inform your sales position and marketing materials for customers, but also your internal company culture. The employee needs in an organization are just as important as the business needs and customer needs. After all, when it comes to meeting your client expectations and achieving your business growth goals, your employees are the ones who are executing the day-to-day work to make it happen.
The employee needs in an organization will continue to evolve as the workforce evolves. Millennial workers tend to value growth opportunities, collaboration and transparency above other amenities and perks that a job might offer. As they reach more mid-level to senior positions, these millennials also expect a competitive salary and a fair work-life balance.
As all business owners know, it’s more difficult than ever to hire and retain experienced talent. When you’re working to acquire new business and acquire new talent at the same time, you’ll likely never be able to match your staffing needs and your business needs 100% — but your goal should always be to work toward that balance.
Finding Harmony Between Clients, Coworkers and Your Company
When it comes to bringing balance to your clients, your company and your coworkers, each one brings unique needs and demands to the table that sometimes seem to conflict. In order to resolve these conflicts, you need to find ways to save time and money so you can pass these savings along to each member of the trifecta.
Automation is a tactic you can employ to help save money for your company, save time for your coworkers and exceed the expectations of your clients. When considering automation tools, don’t just look for a band-aid to take one or two tasks off of your team’s plate. Your aim should be to simplify your processes from the ground up and build a culture of empowering digital changes for your clients and internal team.
Leverage marketing automation to automate many of your marketing initiatives. By automating many of your marketing initiatives, you are able to spend more time and effort on creating an awesome customer experience across different channels.