In our short marketing course today, here’s a quick look at how to uncover amazing ways to grow your business by listening to your customers. Mastering the simple ideas in today’s short marketing course will help you sleep better at night because you’ll suddenly know how to win more and better customers while reducing the risks involved with growing your business.
First in today’s short marketing course, the people at Staples.com were concerned. Their bosses at the office supplies giant were pushing them to come up with a way to boost sales for their website. As one of them sat in front of his computer staring at the website, no ideas were coming to him.
Then he got this crazy idea. Rather than guessing, why not chat with actual customers about what the website was like for them.
So his team started contacting a few of the better customers to get feedback. And they quickly discovered two things. The best customers to the Staples.com’s website were… office managers. And most of them actually hated the website.
As many of you watching today’s short marketing course can imagine, office managers tend to be super busy. When they’re preparing to place an order, they’d typically go around the office asking people what they wanted from Staples. When they’d finally get to the website, all they’d want to do was get on-and-off as quickly as possible, so they could get back to work.
Another important issue for our short marketing course is, these weren’t just heavy buyers. They were also profitable ones. The reason… these buyers knew the site had reasonable prices, so they typically wouldn’t be price-shopping every time they placed an order.
But office managers hated the website. All they wanted was to type in part numbers, add the items to their shopping cart, pay and check out as quickly as possible… something many watching today’s short marketing course would also, no doubt want to do. But many office managers felt the site was more complicated and time consuming than it had to be.
From the customer interviews, they also discovered the website’s second best customers were people who loved hunting for specials and discounts. And even these people found the website was not as much fun as it could be.
Armed with this information directly from customers, the people at Staples.com made a few simple changes, and voila! … their sales DOUBLED!
They made the search bar at the top of the website much larger, and always showed the shopping cart, so people could see how much they had ordered. Office managers absolutely loved the changes.
Then, they added discounts in different places throughout the home page and throughout the site, making it almost like a scavenger hunt. Discount-hunters loved those changes, making them want to return often to see what new treasures they could find.
By listening to their customers rather than just guessing, they were able to get enormous growth with almost no cost, just as you can.
Does this type of thing work for everyone?
How about, say… plumbers?
Next in today’s short marketing course, is Southern California-based Mike Diamond Plumbing. Here’s a company that’s had such great success with this, they even got mentioned in the JD Power & Associates Book, Satisfaction – How Every Great Company Listens to the Voice of the Customer.
Mike Diamond did something almost no other plumber does. He asked homeowners what they liked and hated about plumbers. Overwhelmingly, two answers came up.
True to form for today’s short marketing course, he built his company around solving these complaints, and his business has been booming ever since, at a time when many plumbers are struggling just to survive.
What do you think people hate most about plumbers?
Overwhelmingly, homeowners commented on the infamous plumber’s crack… they said they hated that plumbers were typically smelly, perhaps from crawling around under buildings, and at how unprofessional they often look.
But second and perhaps more bothersome was that most plumbers won’t quote you a price over the phone, until they actually show up at your home. Then they’d stick you with a price that you’re pretty-well forced to pay. In a way, when you’re desperate for someone to unstop your drain or fix a leak, it feels like you’re held hostage.
So Mike Diamond tackled both problems. First he dressed himself and all his plumbers in neat uniforms, made sure they smelled great, and even came up with a memorable slogan and a guarantee. He called his company – Mike Diamond, The Smell Good Plumber – and Guaranteed his plumber will show up on time and smell good or the service call is free.
Then, he established a $99 price to unclog most residential drain blockages, with a few exceptions that are clearly listed on his website.
By listening to customer complaints and building a business that overcame them, Mike’s business has enjoyed phenomenal growth, with the only problem, finding enough employees to service all the business that comes in.
The point for today’s short marketing course, with Staples.com and Mike Diamond Plumbing is simple. If you want to find a way to grow your business, start by going to the source. Ask your customers what they hate, and often they will tell you that one or two things you can do to turn your average product or business into a booming success.