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How Oregon Businesses Engage Consumers in Business GrowthSalem-News.com Business
Prepare for success by doing your due diligence.
(SALEM, Ore.) - It is common knowledge that successful businesses aren’t created overnight. Beyond the product or service itself, to achieve a high level of success, a business must engage with its customers.
This is not just about having customer support available. Instead, many companies are using idea management software to involve their customer in major decisions regarding the running of the business.
Product DevelopmentIncluding your customers should start before a business even opens its doors. To get a business up and running, it is necessary to decide on products and services to sell- but to who? and why?
Prepare for success by doing your due diligence, of which market research is a must. Market research will help you figure out how a certain product will sell, which isn't as difficult as some might imagine. Why not ask the customers directly which product they need and would buy?
Involving customers in product development isn’t just an interesting strategy for startup companies. It’s also important for established businesses. Just because your business is already moving along doesn't mean the competition isn't beating you to the finish line. Think progressively to be successful.
There is a caveat to involving customers in product decisions. Of course, a company can’t create every product their customers might want, and some product suggestions may just not be profitable enough for the company to follow up on.
When it’s time to engage with customers about product development, it’s important to set the parameters, too. For example, a company might not want to venture away from a certain industry or specific topic.
Pricing DecisionsDetermining prices for your products or services is a difficult business decision. Once the price is set, it’s difficult to change, especially if the products or services are being sold on the Internet. That’s because when word-of-mouth starts spreading, the price will always be mentioned.
Decreasing a price might indicate that the product just isn’t selling as well as was planned – and there must be a reason for that, at least in the customer’s mind. Increasing a price will turn people away who found the earlier pricing information.
Of course, not every product has a price. There are several sites on the Internet that let the customer determine how much they want to pay. Sometimes there is a suggested retail price, sometimes there’s a minimum – but sometimes a customer could get an item for free if they wanted to.
Letting customers determine pricing assumes that most of them are honest, and that’s probably true. While there will always be a few people who’ll take advantage of you when they can, most people won’t.
Giving It a NameOne area where customer input is extremely valuable is coming up with names or taglines. When people have the option to voice their opinion about something as simple as a name or a tagline, you can create a big wave of engagement.
They’ll start talking about your brand. Even zoos take advantage of that. For example, when a new baby elephant is born, the zoo might ask visitors to drop a name suggestion or vote on a few of the name choices. It gets people excited to go to the zoo and see the elephant to help them determine which name would fit.
Following through on Customer DecisionsThere is one thing that all businesses must keep in mind: they must follow through with their customers’ decisions. If the zoo doesn’t want the elephant named just anything, they should give a selection of names they’re okay with and let people vote. However, if a business gives their customers’ free reign on new product development ideas, it’s important to follow through.
Actually, the follow-up is where companies have a unique opportunity to increase their sales. It could go along the lines of “Remember the elephant you helped name? It just had its first birthday. Why don’t you come visit it?”
It’s a brilliant concept - the customer doesn’t need to be sold, because they’re already engaged and interested to hear more.
Source: Salem-News.com Special Features Dept.
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