The secret unveiled!
What customers really want.
We may refer to them as the baby boomer generation, X, Y or Z, we may reverently call them the “digital natives”,we may try to classify them according to typologies, such as traditional, modern, post-modern, however, there is one thing that applies to all: customers have become more demanding than ever before, because in today’s “web age” they have access to a seemingly endless range of online offers 24/7. Well, in logical consequence the question naturally arises, what exactly it is that we would have to offer our customers today to give them good reason to pick that „one“ business from the huge number available and to possibly remain loyal to the company of their choice. In order to find the answer, there is no getting around the fact that one has to honestly deal with the subject of „the customer“ first.
Who really is „a customer“, where do you meet him, what’s important to him, who does he trust,who does he respect, what language does he speak and, most importantly, what does he want?
That too requires answers and even though they are complex, they are by no means difficult, on the contrary, they’re actually quite logical. To establish „what customers want“, you only need to honestly think about what you would want from a business, if you were the customer. It doesn’t just sound logical, it is logical indeed! Actually, it is pretty easy to get to the bottom and it is accordingly „pretty simple“ to sum up, what customers want, since there are quite a few things, all customers consider equally important:
- businesses who deliver on their promises
- straightforward and easily understandable interaction with the company and its employees at all contact points
- to be noticed
- to see the business and all its employees make an honest effort and show interest in the customer
- friendliness not just from sales personnel but from all employees of the company
- an honest effort to not just listen to the customer but also try to really understand what the customer wants
- the company’s readiness to help and advise and assist with problem solving
- undivided attention
- an effort to positively surprise
- not to take „business“ with the customer for granted
- to ensure that staff do not in any way detract from the value of the company’s services or products (i.e. during consultation, a purchase or use of a service) – not even “unintentionally”
- to feel good – prior to, during and particularly after interaction with a company and its employees
- to ensure that company staff do not “bother” the customer with tedious, bizarre, depressing or even unbelievable company-internal trivia
- to ensure that staff are in a position to give competent product or service information, or if an employee cannot handle an inquiry himself, he or she can immediately call on someone who is in a position to do so
- to ensure that employees know the company’s services or products respectively, further understand how they can improve or make the customer’s life easier and, beyond that, are also in a position to explain the benefits in a simple and comprehensible manner
- ensure that – in the end – no questions remain unanswered
- upon inquiry receive a competent explanation as to how the usefulness or value of a service or product justify its price
- never to be put under pressure or even be made to feel that way
- to thank the customer even just for the interest shown in a service or product – actually the same way as one would expect that after a concluded sales transaction
- not to be ‘left out in the cold’ or be made to feel that way after the purchase of a service or product
- to show fair goodwill when solving problems
- straightforward handling of complaints, exchange and return of products and services
Does it promise too much? Definitely not, because they aren’t really big secrets we are unravelling here. Don’t you think the aforementioned customer expectations are in your interest too, if you happen to be in the position of customer of a business? To see your own business through the eyes of your customers and to realize, what it is that customers really want is more than ever the key factor for success in business. Even though customers are steadily growing their networks and are getting better informed and consequently becoming more influential, they do want to remain understood in their heterogeneous needs!
Despite all the progress and globalization there appears to be an obvious desire to revert to the good old „traditional virtues“!
The customer must finally take centre stage again, in fact rapidly so, consistently and rigorously, nevertheless with the necessary attention to detail. The challenges are optimum consultancy & customer service, carefully thought out service processes, an effectively functioning integration of the company’s own on-and off-line world as real multichannel product and service offer, as well as the mobilization and qualification of an adequate manpower potential.
So far so good. Unfortunately, many companies still rarely consider how they could genuinely improve their business from their customers’ perspective. Companies are still looking for internal solutions and are implementing internal service process and cost structure adjustments – looking from the inside out, instead of the other way round! Yet, customers are on the outside of a business, therefore answers to the crucial questions cannot entirely be found within the enterprise alone.
Rather, it is far more necessary to align all contact point processes in a customer oriented manner, to define them practically, in a manner that is easy to understand and up-to-date, and it is further necessary and important to maintain gauging customer satisfaction and eventually facilitate and systematically establish sustainable processes of learning and change. Nothing more, but nothing less either.
Always remember that the successful development and progress of an enterprise are directly and inextricably linked to its employees – particularly those, of course, who are in direct contact with the customers. Genuinely good sales consultants, sales and service staff are and will always remain a critical success factor. Regrettably, many companies continue to fail to get their staff to show interest and passion for their own brand, services or products. Instead, companies still believe to this day that the one-dimensional bonus of „sale“ of certain services or products is incentive enough. Competent, individual, reliable and caring customer-centred advisory services are, however, by far more important and form the basis for a perfect customer experience, and are therefore the key driving forces behind customer loyalty too.
Fact is, content customers buy more, stay longer, turn loyal and are more likely to recommend the business!
Would you organize your business exactly the way it is today, if you could start anew tomorrow? No? There is good news though, it is never too late to restructure and optimize!