Why it’s about customer needs, not your strengths

In a service business, prioritize based on client needs, not on your strengths.  But, how about the retail business — it’s not service-based, or, is it?

In the retail business, especially in the apparel business, shop owners all know one very important fact: “Get to know your customers’ life styles if you want loyalty and repeat sales.”   Unless you’re a t-shirt shop on a Hawaiian beach, following life styles is critical.

The retail example goes one step further in teaching us about our high-value customers.  Boutiques, like larger stores, all now display clothing in a mix & match togetherness so customers no longer must walk throughout the store trying to mate a chosen blouse, as an example, with a desired skirt, shoes, jacket or accessories.  The merchants have taken away all that very hard work by displaying choices next to each other.  That makes it easier to shop, easier to purchase what the designer had in mind, and easier to buy more than might have been intended.  A great example of know-their-lifestyle: customers want their shopping to be easy, fun, interesting and efficient. 

Contract this with a store that displays in groups with all the dresses over here, the blouses over there, coats and scarves in the back and the shoes and accessories downstairs.  Easier for the store to manage its stock; easier for the clerks to specialize in apparel-type; and, easier for the single-piece shopper to “find it & run”.  But, none of that makes the register sing, does it? 

Service-based business, no matter the industry, is about solving customers’ needs.  Customers don’t care about your specific strengths.  They don’t even care about systems or procedures you may have in place to make your operation easier for you to control.  They do care about how you’ll be applying all of that to help them get what they need to support their lifestyle.  They don’t need to get to know you.  Are you smart enough to truly get to know them?  If you are and you can solve their needs, then, they’ll want to know you!

So, decide right now.  Are you a solution looking for a problem or are you a service targeting a need?

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