In a tough economy, some small-business owners try to boost sales by rethinking their marketing campaigns, while others concentrate on increasing customer loyalty. Yet they often overlook opportunities for growth in their own products or services.
Jeffrey W. Zindel, president of JZ Small Business Consultants, offers three tips for how to do improve a product or service.
- Understand why people buy. Your customers buy your product or service for a reason. Before you can identify how to improve it, you need to understand what its greatest benefits are. Zindel suggests calling key clients and then following up with a professionally designed survey to determine what you’re doing right in their eyes — and how you can do it better.
- Identify weak spots. There are probably people out there who have deliberately stopped buying your product or service, too. It’s important to understand what motivated their decisions, Zindel says. They will tell you if you just ask. “By asking them,” he says, “you can determine if it was poor service or if a product or service has outlived its effectiveness.” Your in-depth conversations with them should produce insight into what could be improved.
- Put this knowledge to use. Once you’ve gathered customer feedback, assemble the best team possible to address the issues, Zindel recommends. If you find that your customer service is lacking, develop a plan to fix the problems and implement it. If some aspect of your product is turning customers away, consider upgrading or redesigning it. The key is to share your vision with your team, Zindel says. Your idea will need to be developed, produced, marketed, and delivered. Each team member should be responsible for a part of the process.
In short, Zindel says, the better your service or product, the greater the longevity of your clients — and the more profitability you’ll experience. That should be reason enough to think about improving your offerings.