SWOT analysis helps to prepare businesses for success and the possibility of failure. But it can also be narrowed down to analyse how to keep customers happy.
Earlier we discussed how to use Strengths and Weaknesses to increase customer satisfaction. Now we’ll look at how using Opportunities and Threats can aid in a better overall experience for your customers.
The opportunities and threats of SWOT analysis
When using SWOT analysis for strategic planning, opportunities come externally and internally. While opportunities can be created, such as reaching out to another firm to arrange a partnership or collaboration, opportunities tend to appear because of several events, including:
- Marketing trends
- Fluctuating stock value
- Economic (dollar) changes
- Lower taxes
Opportunities can be leveraged as a benefit. Otherwise, they pass due to inaction.
Threats are different because companies don’t control threats. Whether they come from within or externally, threats develop uncertainty. Left unresolved, threats can negatively impact business. Or destroy them. Threats can be found in:
- New competitors/products
- Government policies
- Communication issues (customers and employees)
- Manufacturing complications
- Unusable stock
Opportunities and threats can be leveraged when documented. In fact, they’re channels to boost customer satisfaction.
Using competitor analysis for better opportunities
Opportunities happen when customer complaints are optimized with competitor analysis.
For example, if your competitor can no longer ship Product A to customers in the UK without a 50% payment increase, this is a potential opportunity. Especially if you can offer their customers a reduced (but still prominent) fee such as 25% rather than 50%. Not only do you already know which customers will be more responsive due to their complaints, but you also know exactly which demographic to target and how to appeal to them emotionally to build a connection.
It’s best to monitor your competitor’s weaknesses. Document what they’re struggling with, based on your own observations and through customers’ responses via:
- Online reviews
- Comments (on blogs/social media)
It’s important to document their responses throughout the process to keep the upper hand of both customers and competitors. It may feel like a tug-of-war between your business and the competition to keep customers engaged. But by responding to customer issues as directly and humanely as possible, it actually takes less tugging to win.
Use literal threats from customers to your advantage
Unhappy customers are vocal customers. In retail, it’s not unheard of for a disgruntled customer to shout “I’ll never shop here again!” as they storm out. It’s also not surprising when this person sends a complaint – via email, phone, or through social media – about how said customer was mistreated by the company.
While we can’t satisfy the needs of every customer, if more complain about the same issue this could be a threat to the success of your business. For example, if a customer sends an email threatening to go to X-Competitor because you didn’t deliver on A, B, or C, this may not be a big issue initially. But if ten more send a similar email with similar complaints, this could turn into a mess.
These complaints are feedback, whether solicited or not. It’s also a direct communication line with customers who seem to think your competitor offers not only a better product but a better customer experience.
Rather than panic about lost profits, take these criticisms and:
- Record them in a notebook or spreadsheet
- Monitor the frequency of the complaints (via phone/email)
- Find the similarities between complaints
- Create a solution via business/marketing plan
- Prepare appropriate responses for customers
This way you’re prepared to find a solution for the problem and keep customers satisfied throughout.
To boost customer satisfaction…
When optimizing opportunities and threats, it’s about how your firm responds. With opportunities, inaction can lead to a stunt in growth. With threats, inaction can lead to profit loss.
By staying customer-focused, and using the feedback from customers and the weaknesses of the competition, you have the necessary tools to boost the satisfaction of your own customers.