To grow your business you need to know your customers

know your customers

The Dunkin’ Donuts in Boston’s Back Bay Station is a well-oiled machine.  The whole process – ordering a cup of coffee, paying, and receiving said coffee – takes seconds.  The experience is something reminiscent to Seinfield’s Soup Nazi.

For customers who frequent this Dunkin’ Donuts expect this.  They have timed their commute down to the minute and they know that if they can move through a line of 30 or so people in seconds – and make the train.  For customers who don’t frequent this Dunkin’ Donuts the experience can be jarring.

On the other hand, there is a small coffee shop I visit in Maine.  It takes minutes (think two digit numbers) to get a cup of coffee, and then more minutes to pay.   Customers who frequent this coffee shop savor this time that it takes to get their coffee.  The minutes waiting allow for conversations or quiet meditation.

Watching someone new enter the coffee shop is always interesting.  There are those that start to wait in line and then leave when, after minutes, they are no closer to getting coffee.  There are others who wait it out, checking their watch or smart phone every few seconds as if this will speed up the process.  These people generally leave in cloud of frustration.

These two businesses know their customers.  They have taken the time to understand what the needs are of the customer and they have tailored their business to address these needs.

To grow your business you need to take the time to determine who your target customer is, what their needs are, and how you can address these needs and bring value to the customer.

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