Pricewaterhouse Cooper (PwC) recently released their annual global CEO survey. The survey is given to over 1,400 CEOs worldwide to capture their thoughts on business trends and growth. Business owners would be wise to pay attention because the results can easily be turned into business tips, even for small companies.
It’s no surprise that most CEOs think cost is what interests consumers the most. But almost one-quarter of CEOs surveyed felt that consumers were “seeking relationships with organizations that address wider stakeholder needs”. And even more surprising is that CEOs believe this trend will only increase in the next five years. Corporate greed has been exposed to the main stream culture and big business leaders can see what’s coming down the pike. Accountability will matter to the average consumer but also to top talent who only want to work with companies whose values are aligned with their own. Investors are also going to be looking for common ethical ground according to the study. Bottom-line, stakeholder input has become a necessary priority as corporate strategies become more transparent.
Graphic courtesy of PwC
So how can small businesses increase stakeholder engagement? Just a few simple ways to reach out can make a huge difference.
Social Media is something we now recognize as a critical part of our overall marketing plan but do you also use it to engage customers on a personal level? A few simple tweets or posts could make all the difference and make customers feel like their voice matters to you. Ask them how they are enjoying your product, if they give you a glowing review that's free advertising to all their followers. If they have an issue it's your chance to address their concerns and show off you amazing customer service skills.
Just like PwC, you can reach out to your target audience via surveys. There are a bunch of free websites, like Monkey Survey, that allow you to easily create a questionnaire for your customers A satisfaction survey should be given at least annually and should include a place for stakeholders to submit ideas and wish lists. Some of our best ideas at Braun Automotive have come from collaberating with our distributors. Be sure to follow up on any submissions - customers who take the time to share their feelings and ideas will be your best promoters if taken care of.