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From Barrier Reef to boardroom: Shark-wrangling is like dealing with customers

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The business landscape is fast-paced and constantly changing. In order to remain competitive, companies are exploring different ways to not only attract, but retain customers.

However, many businesses feel apprehensive at the thought of truly getting to know their customer base, often just building up a two dimensional picture and offering an experience based on this.

Jumping in the water with sharks can feel daunting too, but once you’re in there, you begin to see beyond the image you’ve built up. So what does dealing with sharks and customers have in common? Actually, a lot more than you might think.

(1) Like sharks, customers can seem scary, until you get to know them

In the same way that sharks are part of a species but each one is individually different, every single customer does not follow the same suit.

In plenty of cases, businesses are convinced they have enough information about customers, just by merely scratching the surface, grouping people together (be it by gender, service level or location, to name a few).

Like sharks, you may think you know what they’re like but it’s not until you get up close and personal that you can begin to really understand them.

Don’t just test the water but dive straight in. Take the time to get to know your customers’ behaviours, what they want and how they like to engage with you as a company. Build a profile of each customer and you’ll be able to target them more successfully, offering relevant and tailored products and services.

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(2) You learn more by observing something in its natural habitat than second-hand research

If you’ve seen the film Jaws, you’ll probably already have an unpleasant representation of sharks, if not a fear of them! But, in actual fact and after experiencing them first hand, sharks are fairly placid animals, quite the opposite to the way films portray them.

The same misconception goes for customers. You may have formed an opinion of them, but have you formed this based on research and personal experiences?

The only way to understand why customers are behaving in certain ways is to observe that behaviour and make inferences. Invest some time and money in getting to know them as people so that you can move forward with understanding what does, and equally does not, work.

While learning about customers, you’ll also learn about yourself – something that also applies when dealing with sharks. Continue reading on the next page.

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