Keep your business age-friendly by listening to customers
As the population ages, you may find yourself facing some unique challenges in serving this new wave of maturing customers. Providing a positive customer experience has always been an important part of running a business, but it's even more important now that people are living longer and demanding a higher quality of life in their later years. As a business owner, you can be smart about these demographic and social changes if you know how to address the needs of this segment of the population.
How can you determine what an "aging population" needs? It isn't simply about installing ramps or creating accessible websites (although those things are important too). It's about listening and about understanding, and then taking appropriate action.
The best way to figure out what your customers want and need is to research them, observe them, and ask them directly. For example:
- You might want to implement a Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system to keep track of your customers' purchasing habits and requests.
- You can monitor social media to hear what people are saying about your business.
- Be proactive by asking for feedback using customer surveys or comment cards.
- If you are in the service industry, think about ways to solve problems for elderly customers who may not be as mobile — offer delivery options, mail orders, or transportation.
Doing these things will help extend your relationship with customers and maximize profit. Make sure that your employees understand your wishes, so that they are giving your customers the same attention you would even when you are not around.
If you want to make your business more accessible, consider designing your facility or website in order to optimize for health, mobility and security; not just for your customers, but for your employees too. Not all provinces and territories in Canada have accessibility regulations for businesses, but it may not be long before they implement those kinds of standards.
Perhaps the most important thing you can do is to really listen to your customers. The lasting impressions your customers have, no matter what their age, are a result of how they felt doing business with you. If it was a positive experience that met their needs, they are more likely to keep coming back.
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