This post is part of a series celebrating SmartSign’s 15th Anniversary. In 15 posts, we reflect on lessons learned, good experiences, and company-wide changes that brought us to this milestone of success. You can view the entire series here.
In the words of SmartSign’s CEO and co-founder Blair Brewster, “Where do all the ideas for new products come from – the customer of course.”
Successful companies know their customers and companies that don’t focus on their customers often fail. Without understanding why your customers choose your company, how can you create and implement a sustainable growth strategy?
Just as you take the time to get to know your boss and coworkers, it’s equally as important to get to know your customers. Only when you understand what your customer wants are you able to properly provide it.
Because e-commerce companies such as SmartSign do not interact with customers at a physical location, getting to know customers’ needs is a bit more complicated. Performing follow-up surveys, offering online chat options, and collecting customer reviews are a few ways e-commerce companies can gather valuable feedback.
While harsh feedback can be hard to swallow, it’s an indispensable way to learn more about what customers want. Brewster acknowledged this kind of feedback, saying “We love to hear from the challenging customer. That’s the one you learn the most from.”
SmartSign has an onsite customer service team of 13 representatives to handle customer orders until each package has safely arrived at its destination.
SmartSign Call Center Manager Tahyna Colon said:
“As a (customer service representative) you want to build relationships with your customers for different reasons — you want them to become a returning customer, you want them to trust you and have faith in you. If anything goes wrong with their order, they will feel confident that you will get it resolved in a timely fashion, and they will be worry free during the process. Also, knowing what is in demand for the customer will bring up new products we start to sell.”
When it comes to e-commerce companies, really knowing your customer requires knowledge of the following information:
- Demographics– age, gender, location, etc.
- When your customers order- During weekday business hours, late night, or on weekends?
- The website capabilities that matter most- Quick order options, live chat support, real-time inventory updates, user reviews?
- Motivation- What motivates customers to buy? Monthly or annual needs? Sale offers? Tip: Offering free shipping for orders over a threshold amount may keep the customer happy and buying.
In the case of SmartSign, Brewster said, “The more you listen to the customer and truly hear what they have to say, the better that sign or label will ultimately become. Designing a sign with a customer is a truly collaborative process. Listen closely and carefully and ultimately they’ll be delighted with the outcome.”