Strategic Planning: Resources for Understanding Customer Relations

By looking at your operations through your existing customers’ perspectives, you can conduct more business with them. And armed with this information, you can make strategic decisions that raise your worth in the eyes of those customers who’re most valuable.

When you neglect your customers, you tend to assume that you know them, what they want, and that they’ll continue to buy from you. Businesspeople come up with various reasons to neglect their customers (intentionally or not), such as the following:

  • Customer feedback takes too much time.

  • Doing customer research is too expensive.

  • I’m scared to hear what my customers really think.

  • I don’t have time to implement customer recommendations.

  • Our sales are up, so customers must be happy.

There are some easy ways to get past these myths and excuses to uncover your current customers’ needs and wants as well as create customers for a lifetime. The following list of great resources can help you see your business through your customers’ eyes:

  • Marketing For Dummies, 3rd Edition, by Alexander Hiam (John Wiley & Sons, Inc.): This reference provides a no-nonsense approach to growing revenue from your current customers.

  • Creating Customer Evangelists: This website is a free resource of articles, newsletters, and blogs by Ben McConnell and Jackie Huba. Check it out at www.creatingcustomerevangelists.com.

  • The Center for Customer Focus: This organization offers customer-focus training and workshops. Several free articles are also available on this topic at www.customerfocus.org.

  • Business Model Generation: A Handbook for Visionaries, Game Changers, and Challengers by Alexander Osterwalder and Yves Pigneur (John Wiley & Sons, Inc.): This book is an outstanding reference to use for your business model exercise. Check out the iPad app and other resources at www.businessmodelgeneration.com.

  • The Art of Profitability by Adrian Slywotzky (Warner Business Books): This book is another great reference for business model designs.

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