Expanding, updating and growing are things virtually every businesses strives to continually achieve. Success is generally measured on business growth and if you aren’t continually finding ways to improve your services to customers and introduce new innovative solutions to maintain your competitive edge, you’re business can suffer. But when does evolving and growing your products and services reach the point that it may counteract what you’re trying to achieve in the first place and cost you customers?
Understanding your customer
It all comes back to understanding your customer. The number one rule in any business, you need to know who your customers are and have an in-depth understanding on what it is that they want and need from you. If you don’t now this you are simply gambling with your business.
In this day and age with technology ever changing, the way in which we conduct daily business and make decisions are also changing, so too are business needs. Data security for example, is on the minds of everyone – both businesses and individuals. Knowing that your data is going to remain in safe hands with increased cyber-crime and differing international law is at the forefront of any IT strategy and is a major factor in provider selection.
Knowing how your customer will feel about new changes, developments and products that may affect them and if they can adapt and see value is crucial. If they aren’t ready for change or don’t see value in what you’re offering, there’s always the risk that they may turn to your competitor.
The same can be applied in the opposite spectrum. It is essential to constantly research and follow trends, anticipate future developments in your customers’ markets and lives, and know what your customer will need before they do. Educating them on how your business can alleviate any future issues is a sure way to maintain and satisfy your customers.
The impact your decisions can have on your customers
We’ve all seen and heard and maybe even experienced for ourselves when a provider makes a decision that costs them our business. There couldn’t be a better example showing the consequences not listening to your customer can have on your business than that of Macquarie University, who recently dropped heavy hitter, Google.
After expressing concerns about their data being housed in the United States – due to US legislation such as the Patriot Act, allowing US law enforcement access to data, Google agreed when they signed Macquarie back in 2010 to maintain the Universities data in a European datacentre instead.
Fast-forward five years, and Google clearly forgot the fundamentals of customer retention. Macquarie’s Chief Information Officer Mary Davies revealed Google had decided to relocate the universities data to a United States-based datacentre. The exact problem the University was wanting to avoid when signing with Google in the first place.
“Data security is a top priority at Macquarie University, and following a decision made by Google to move our stored data from Europe to the United States, we initiated a market search to look at alternative options,” wrote Davies. “The result: Office 365 – a Microsoft cloud product suite with services hosted locally in Australian data centres.”
What to take away from this
Long story short, Google lost a huge client simply because they failed to listen to their needs and did not demonstrate having their customer’s best interests as a priority. Every business decision made effects customers, and businesses need to value each client they have and ensure they are doing everything possible to adhere to their needs. Keeping abreast of competitors strategies is another crucial element, if Google had perhaps thought to set up their own data centre in Australia they wouldn’t be in the position they are in with Macquarie and perhaps could have acquired other business from Australian universities in the process.