It doesn’t matter what kind of job you have, somewhere along the line you will need to provide customer service. Whether or not that customer service is behind the scenes or on the front lines, good customer service requires patience, quick thinking, and the ability to listen. There’s one other thing that you need as well—knowledge about your customers and what makes them tick.
To understand your clients you need to know about the challenges they face, the skills that give them a competitive advantage, and what you can do to help them be successful. That means that you not only need to know about them, but you also need to know about their industries.
If you are like most business people, most of your business comes from about 20% of your customers. That makes it critical that you identify the industries that you work with most often. Once you do, you can dig in deep and learn what makes those industries unique.
To get started when learning about an industry, start with these five key areas.
Language: Every industry has unique jargon and terms. Knowing the language is essential to being able to communicate with your customers.
Trends: Knowing what trends are currently impacting your customer’s industry will help you understand what is on his or her mind. It will also help you understand how they make money and what you need to consider when setting your prices.
Key Players: Whether your customer is a major industry mover or a small company just starting out, understanding the major influencers in the industry can help you identify your customer’s needs and wants. It can also give you insight into what your customer aspires to be.
History: While you may not need to know all the details, understanding how your client’s industry has evolved and where it is in its lifecycle will help you understand some of the pressures your customer may be facing. The factors that influence an industry that is growing may be very different than those for an industry in decline.
Dynamics: Every industry has unique drivers, and the most successful companies have established strategies for responding to those drivers. Understanding both the micro and macro drivers for your customers business will help you respond to the unique challenges they face.
Investing time to learn about the industries your customers represent is well worth it. Not only are you sure to be speaking the same language your clients speak, but you’ll also be in a much better position to help them succeed, and if they succeed, the chances are you will too.
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Hollie Clere of The Social Media Advisor is a “#BeAwesome” Developer, Social Media, Brand Builder, Content Manager, Trainer and Author in LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, Blog, Google+, YouTube, Pinterest, Instagram, and the tools to manage them.