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Gina Blitstein Article

Gina Blitstein Article
Gina Blitstein combines her insight as a fellow small business owner with her strong communication skills, exploring topics that enhance your business efforts. That first-hand knowledge, matched with an insatiable curiosity to know more about just about anything, makes her a well-rounded writer with a sincere desire to engage and inform.

Assuring That "In with the New" is a Positive Experience for Your Business

Assuring That "In with the New" is a Positive Experience for Your Business

Throughout the life of your business, your offerings will undergo changes. If you provide services, you’re likely to upgrade or tweak them over time. If you make products, you may add new ones to your line or redesign that which you produce. The reasons for those changes are varied and may include changes in taste or technology - or a need to keep things fresh. Whatever the reason for offering something new, it’s important to consider your decision closely. Making a change simply for the sake of change is pointless and may actually cost you business.

When deciding to change things up, consider a couple of factors:

Why? Determine your motivation for making a change. Is it required because of a technological or supply issue? Are you losing business because your offerings falling behind the times? Perhaps you’re expanding in order to serve a new market or cater to a new clientele. These are but a few of the legitimate reasons for seeking to add something new to the mix.

What? Determine specifically what you’re going to change - and what will remain the same. Cosmetic changes can update the look and feel, presenting a fresh face for your offerings. Changes to your actual products or services should be done with particular consideration. It can be a fine line between continuing to please your existing customers and offering that which will attract new ones. It’s important to make changes that are informed and for reasons that will benefit your customers and your company.

Deciding to add something new to your offerings

At any given time, it’s conceivable that you could provide a number of new products or services. The question is, however, who will want them? More than one company has made the mistake of taking it upon themselves to decide what new offerings to make available - only to miss the mark with their customers. Without the input of those who already do business with you - or would likely do business with you - your decisions are likely to suffer from a lack of context.

While it might be tempting to implement new functionality or products because of an excitement factor - or just because you can - the fact may be that your customers are perfectly content with much of what is now available. Conversely, if you hesitate to implement that which your customers request, you may lose them to companies who provide what they want.

That’s why determining what your existing customers want is paramount to the decision of what to add to your repertoire. So keep your ears and mind open in a variety of ways:

  • Those in your customer service department hear the lowdown. They are the direct line from outside the company to inside it. Ask them what customers are confused by, complain about and ask for.
  • Surveys are revealing. Ever wonder why so many companies provide surveys to their customers? This is a way of keeping their hand on the pulse their consumers to help determine what’s working, what needs attention and what new and different products and services to roll out.
  • Focus groups are another means by which to measure customer expectations and experience. Discover firsthand what actual users think about using your product or service. Take note of what they like - and don’t like about what you offer and proceed accordingly.

The takeaway here is to avoid hastily latching on to a new offering just to create buzz. If your new product or service differs too much from what customers want and expect from you, they’ll feel betrayed. If it doesn’t resonate as an improvement or welcome addition, customers will be confused. If it seems devoid of customer consideration, they will resent the change rather than embrace it. And if it removes functionality without rationale, they will be irritated. Obviously, your intention in bringing something new on board is none of the above. Disappointed customers and turned-off shoppers will bring your sales down fast.

Businesses evolve as time goes on and that means changing or adding products and services to their offerings. “In with the new” should be cause for celebration among you and your customers. A well-researched, considered and satisfying improvement demonstrates to your customers that you are committed to providing that which they actually want.

How do you determine when it’s “in with the new” time in your business?

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