24 Jun Reading your Customer’s Mind!!
by Teresa Sanders and Ruy Garcia-Zamor
Imagine your customers get the information and service they want before they ask. Are you reading their minds? Wouldn’t that be nice! But no, we’re just listening.
What sets apart excellent businesses is the ability to communicate effectively with customers and taking the time to listen and fully understand their needs and wants. Effective listening and careful consideration of the customer’s situation often reveals a need different from that initially verbalized.
Filled with zeal to provide a great solution to their customers, businesses often form premature initial impressions of what the customer needs. However, by listening and asking good questions excellent businesses set aside those impressions and hone in on solutions that address the actual needs of customers.
Jane Potter (not her real name) owns a home staging company, Staging for You, (not her real business name either!) specializing in assisting realtors and home sellers in preparing their homes for sale. A small part of Staging for You’s business is providing furniture, accessories and props for a local theatre group. Miss Potter hopes to franchise her business within the next three years and as part of her plan she hires a law firm to file a trademark application for her company. Jane was very excited about how she was able to help the local theatre with items needed for their recent production and focused the conversation primarily on this new small aspect of her business. As is typical in many law firms, the trademark application was assigned to the most junior member who briefly reviewed a note from the attorney who met with Jane. As a result, the junior attorney filed a trademark application attempting to protect the name “Staging for You” in connection with providing furniture and accessories to theatre groups. Miss Potter was very happy with her pending trademark application and never appreciated that her core business was not necessarily properly protected.
Jane met with Garcia-Zamor Intellectual Property Law a few years later to discuss protecting a new tag line used by her company. As is the standard practice at Garcia-Zamor, they took the time to listen to how Jane is currently using and plans to use her trademark, reviewed her website and promotional materials and discovered the defect in her current trademark application. Her core business of home staging was not properly included in the goods and services set forth in her original trademark application. This could complicate protecting her brand name and future franchising plans. Unfortunately, while Jane Potter is a fictitious person, this situation is not. Garcia-Zamor often finds that clients have not had their needs fully met by other attorneys who did not take the time to fully listen and understand their clients businesses.
Another example of meeting needs that the client doesn’t verbalized can be illustrated with James Robinson (you guessed it! – not a real person) owner of the barber shop, All the Trimmings, (yeah – not a real company either). He knows that his books are not quite right since he often gets hit with overdraft fees but is too busy to worry about it. After repeatedly hearing about how great QuickBooks software is for accounting, Jim bought a copy which has been sitting on a shelf for two years. Jim met TBooks at a local networking function and was thrilled to find out that they provide QuickBooks training. At the time Jim did not think it would be affordable to hire a company to handle all of his accounting needs so he scheduled a session with TBooks to train him to use QuickBooks. How hard can it be?
During the scheduled QuickBooks training with TBooks he realized how much is involved with keeping accurate accounting records and how advantageous it would be for his barber shop. How wonderful it would be to have his bills paid on time, know his bank balance to the penny, and make sure his customer payments make it to the bank! To his further surprise he also realized that the cost of having a professional handle his accounting would quickly be offset by the lack of overdraft fees, worrying about payroll penalties and notices, and the simplicity of having his business expenses and income tracked without having to personally record them himself.
After working with TBooks he realized that he would have the big picture information and financial statements that needed to make the decisions to grow and increase his business profits. TBooks listened to Jim’s needs and wants while working with his existing systems to improve the workflow, capture all his income while monitoring his expenses to ensure that he was maximizing his profits. After working with Jim he was able to determine that hiring an additional employee would further increasing his revenue without increasing his overhead. Jim’s best business decision was hiring TBooks to move accounting off his plate! And the rest was history.
Maili Godwin (gotcha! – her real name), a photographer and owner of Boris & Company (a real company J), is another perfect example of how listening to customers has established the business. Maili’s innate curiosity enables her to capture the customer’s true story in images. This has made the work of Boris & Company highly sought after by families and businesses alike. Boris & Company’s ability to translate the inner story is evident whether photographing a newly engaged couple as they capture the images of their favorite date spots through the years, showcasing customer’s products in majestic surroundings, or immortalizing the special relationship you have with your loved ones.
If you have any questions regarding branding, trademarks, patent planning or other intellectual property matters, please contact Garcia-Zamor Intellectual Property Law, LLC. Ruy Garcia-Zamor has been helping individuals and businesses with their intellectual property needs for over nineteen years.
If you have any questions regarding accounting and/or bookkeeping please contact TBooks. Teresa Sanders has been helping individuals and business with their bookkeeping and accounting needs for over twenty years.
If you are looking to capture your business or personal story contact Maili Godwin at Boris & Company at www.BorisandCompany.com.