Listening to your customers IS the bottom line.

Posted on March 4, 2009 | in Uncategorized | by CRC

GM is apparently not the only company with an identity crisis, as CNN reportsthat Dell is trying to respond to low earnings too. It seems that the company has run into trouble because they haven’t diversified into other product areas like leading competitors, so when their primary market of hardware sales dropped, so did Dell. This sounds like an issue of not knowing what your customers want, but it is suggested that Dell should take a hint based on its competitors' approaches, which seem to be stylish (Apple) or affordable (Taiwan companies).

OK, so if we come up with something stylish and affordable that’ll sell right? Well, maybe.What isn’t being asked is why customers spend more for Apple but also apparently need affordable options from Taiwan. Could it be that other factors are involved? Like the reputation Apple has for excellent customer service? The author suggested that having a niche may lead to trouble in the future but then commended Apple for cornering the “innovative” niche. What happens if innovative goes out of style as people scale back and just want stuff that works (Taiwan’s market?)? Should Apple start diversifying too?

It goes back to the customers. It isn’t about diversifying or maintaining a niche, it is about responding to what the market (i.e., your customers) want. Businesses may have gotten a bit lazy and stopped thinking beyond the present day’s stock prices when it seemed like the economy would keep going up and up.

Regardless of the economic climate, it is about staying proactive and continually doing market research to determine if your customers are satisfied and obtaining what they need.