Author: Sor anno, Valerie - Discount Store News Title: Customer profiles are key to loyalty, February 8, 1999 The author makes a very good point in that understanding the drivers behind customer loyalty can be an important step in increasing earnings and profits. I agree in the fact that you need to sell products that your customers value and need in order to be successful. Although that concept seems simplistic, companies still try to market products that it thinks the customer values. Determining what the customer wants is critical in the business world because if you have a product that nobody wants then you " re out of business. So determining what the customer wants becomes very important to you and it is necessary in making business decisions.

The process of keeping the organization competitive in the market and determining what the market wants and needs can be done by using customer profiles. Customer profiles give you the ability to understand the consumer and allows you to better fill the wants and needs more fully. By identifying what your customers want and need you can market your product to target those areas. As the market becomes more and more competitive the companies that have a clear understanding of their customers will become market leaders. As customers become more familiar with your business, you need to focus on other areas that can create loyalty.

Providing helpful and friendly service will increase customer satisfaction, as will increasing the ability of the customer to find what they want quickly. An area where companies can go wrong is when they don't look for what the customer wants, but focuses on what the company thinks is best. Instead of concentrating on attracting and retaining customers, companies often end up alienating the customer. If companies would take an empathic approach and try to get close the customer and understand their needs they could sell them anything. By pressuring the customer to buy its products or trying to make them conform to the companies requirements they will inevitably fail. In order to be successful you must first identify your customers needs and wants.

By using customer profiles you can understand the types of customers and build a shopper loyalty by targeting the needs. The first thing you should do is to discard any pre-conceived notion that the company knows what is best for the customer. The general trend of ever- increasing growth and ever-expanding globalization makes customer profiles even more important. A customer in one country is not going to have the same needs and wants as someone in another country. Therefore, you need clear, specific profiles that can target different segments of the market. These profiles can be used to paint a vision of the kind of business you'd like to have and how you'd like to serve your chosen clientele.

Once you do this, you may identify your most profitable customers and gain their loyalty.