Many wonderful products have entered the market dead on arrival because of the customers. Great designs, powerful and scintillating adverts, millions of dollars wasted. Some companies that have maintained market leadership are history because their customers abandoned them.
Blackberry Limited (formerly known as Research in Motion Limited) with a global usage of 80 million in 2012 sold 207,900 units of mobile phones in the Q4 (fourth quarter) of 2016. Their current global use is less than 15 million with a market share of 0.0%.
Nokia that has the record of the bestselling mobile phone of all time, Nokia 1100, and also maintained market leadership throughout North America, Asia, Europe and Africa sold out to Microsoft Mobile because their sales plummeted. App developers abandoned their Symbian platform for Android and Apple IOS.
No love lost, their customers wanted something better and left them. We know many companies that their times are up. Customers patronize them because of lack of options. In Nigeria, Hypo came and displaced JIK. MTN, Econet-VMobile-Celtel-Zain-Airtel, Globacom entered the telecommunications industry and displaced NITEL (Nigerian Telecommunications Limited). NITEL is moribund today and had fallen like the walls of Babylon. Many businesses are bidding their time, waiting for new competitors to lay them to rest.
Gaining customer insight helps organization to stay on top of their game. The keywords are: innovate or lose your position and die. The customers wants to be happy, their tastes are constantly evolving, companies need to gain deep understanding of their customers to stay afloat.
- Monitor Buying Trends
This is the simplest methods of identifying the products that are trending. Whenever a product or service is trending it is normal join the bandwagon. Many “old” businesses are still surviving in the midst of fierce competitors because they still enjoy patronage. For instance, Google provides cloud storage services for Gmail, Google Docs, Google sheets and Google Slides because many customers are leaning towards cloud storage. Microsoft also provides cloud storage services for their Office 365 suite. It is possible Facebook is strategizing on how to use cloud storage to get a bigger slice of the market share.
- Create a Functional Support System
Innovative companies create an efficient support system for their products. Hewlett-Packard (HP) uses support.hp.com, an efficient support system for driver downloads, customer support, product manuals, guides on troubleshooting, community forums that helps customers to find solutions to their numerous problems. The beautiful aspect of support system is that companies can know the products with the most complaints, the product with the least complaints, drivers with the most downloads etc. Companies with a good support system have a good control over their products. They are always there for their customers, aggrieved customers are pacified. There nothing more dangerous than having many aggrieved customers in your fold.
- Quick Response of Emails, calls and messages
Quick response of email is another way of gaining insights from your customers. When customers know their mails will be responded to, they will like to have a conversation with you. Some companies place numbers on their website that doesn’t exist in any telecommunication network. Imagine sending mail to a company and instantly email@example.com replies you instead of the company’s customer service. Quick response to messages from customers help to build trust and loyalty. Effective communication is the life wire of any relationship.
- Use Analytics tools to monitor movement on your websites
Websites use analytics tools to monitor movements. Facebook.com use analytics tools to suggest friends for users on Facebook. Facebook use information on your profile like location, education, work to suggest friends for Facebook users. Web analytics tools analytics help to track movement of visitors. According to Wikipedia, web analytics is not just a process for measuring web traffic, but can be used as a tool for business and market research, and to access and improve the effectiveness of a website. Google Analytics, Kissmetrics, Woopra etc are examples of web analytics tools
- Use of Demographics
Demographics helps in target marketing and advertising. All customers are not the same. Demographics helps to identify various market segments. Companies that use “one-fits-all” always miss out the big picture. Study.com defined demographic segmentation as market segmentation according to age, race, religion, gender, ethnicity, income and education. For instance, the younger generation does not like buying newspapers. In 20-30 years, when this young generation gets old, newspaper/magazine publishers might record its lowest sales in history. When an organization focuses on her customers, it leads to customer satisfaction and loyalty.