How to Stay Ahead of Changing Customer Behaviors

Transformation is a word you often hear when talking about the future of businesses and industries. However, it’s not just a business buzzword — it’s a relevant point because customer needs and behaviors are constantly evolving. So, as a small-business owner, how are you staying ahead of expectations to grow your business?

January is a time to refocus attention — on our goals, our habits, and our resolutions. So, as you reflect on the opportunities ahead and how you may transform, here are three tips to consider as you plan.

1. Talk to your customers.

Now, I know this may seem simple, but most of us aren’t doing it enough.

Your customers are your customers for a reason. Do you know why they are coming to your business instead of going to your competitors? Ask them how well you are serving their needs. Is there anything your business could do better or differently to alleviate any of their pain points?

These questions will give insight into how you might need to transform your business practices throughout the year, and in doing so, grow your business.

By talking through their needs, maybe you can identify solutions your company offers they aren’t already capitalizing on for their own business. Plus, most customers appreciate the human connection and relationships that small-business owners can offer.

For example, we at the UPS Store, in talking with our customers, found they are looking for convenient solutions for their everyday online purchases. That’s why we partnered with Cole Haan to offer no-label and boxless return service of their merchandise through our network of nearly 5,000 locations throughout the country.

2. Consider a refresh.

Contrary to popular wisdom, some people like change (even if they don’t always admit it), especially when there are enhanced offerings or benefits added to the picture. When was the last time you took a hard look at what you’re providing to your customers? If you’re a restaurant owner, have you considered switching up your menu or creating seasonal offerings? Maybe you could consider a refresh of your website or explore a new social media platform to reach new customers.

Last year, the UPS Store unveiled a new, contemporary design for our retail stores. We spent years researching and testing prototypes and we found that our redesign created a more seamless experience for our customers and franchise owners, while also embracing the latest needs driven by technology and e-commerce.

So, while people may tell you they aren’t ready for change, how can you surprise them to anticipate their needs before they know them?

3. Find new solutions.

Throughout the last year, we’ve had to think differently about how we conduct our business, whether it involves contactless payments or new online tools. Continue to push the boundaries of how you can do things differently.

Is there something new you’ve wanted to test for your business? One thing I’ve learned is that our careers are full of learning experiences. Always test and learn. If something doesn’t work out as you hoped, what did you learn from it and how will you move forward?

Use this month to reflect and reset how you will stay ahead and exceed your customers’ expectations this year.

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