Look after the Customer and they will Care for You!
Managing customer expectations has always been one of the most interesting challenges faced by any business. Yet even in business it is ultimately people who make the decisions and those decisions made are based on personal preferences. It is therefore a key part of an holistic approach that binds Marketing and Customer Care together which provides a winning strategy for managing these relationships.
- Delivering Customer Expectations
- The Importance of Customer Service
- Customers and Marketing
- It is the People that we Must Please.
Delivering Customer Expectations
In an earlier article "Delivering Customer Expectations - The Secret to Sales Accomplishment" the accomplishments of a hugging used car salesman were highlighted as part of looking after the customer. It is clear from many of the comments that this philosophy in not restricted to any single business area. One comment on the original article talked about how a "gentlemanly approach" brought in much repeat business, particularly in the recent hard times that any business has faced. Ultimately if you look after the customer, they will buy from you. Ultimately manners and professionalism really do count in all aspects of business life.
They are an important aspect of modern business life. As a customer we expect that the salesman will listen to our needs. Sure when it comes to purchasing a second hand car we are looking for the Ferrari or Mercedes sold at rock bottom bargain prices, but the reality of that market is these type of deals rarely happen. Most customers have their wish-list of features that need to be met, but it is important to separate the immediate must-haves from the dreams. So it is in any marketplace.
The Importance of Customer Service
Customer service is not placed high up on some agendas, yet it should be first and foremost for most businesses. It is the mainstay of any great business. It is just one component of a much broader customer experience. Sadly it is often the last thing considered in any strategy when it should be the first thing a business owner considers. Customer service is indeed a great route to success, starting with the fulfillment and delivery process.
Customer service is key to maintaining good relationships with your clients. In some corporations it has become a nightmare, they have been reduced to a faceless, nameless, and often voiceless entity from whom the company simply extracts a profit. The level of customer service is a requirement for any business for that matter. It is an integral part of any job and should not be seen as an extension of it. It is terrible and not one person seems to ever care when you call. It is just as important as the ingredients in the product you're selling.
Customers and Marketing
Customers are not just buying products, they are looking for answers to their problems. They can become very upset if not satisfied, even about the smallest of details. Ultimately customers are the life force of your company and keeping them happy ensures a healthy income for your company.
Yet sadly some staff view handling customers as the WORST part of their day; this is an attitude that rarely helps as almost anyone in the business is involved in doing something on the customer's behalf, put simply it drives business. Of course customers are perfectly able to read other customers' reviews and judge how good or bad they are for your organisation, sometimes managing them goes beyond handling or controlling the relationship it is about building a partnership.
It is the People that we Must Please.
People are far more likely to repeat stories about poor customer service than top notch customer service. They are motivated to buy if they like your brand and feel a connection to you. They will eventually get tired of being treated badly. The treatment of customers makes a huge difference and is what makes your business, yet even in business-to-business transactions it is people that ultimately make the decisions and it should always be the goal not to treat customers badly.
Pleasing customers is a major way to encourage business. They are the bottom line for any thriving concern. They should be where you excel, the focus of the things you do best, which assures you of great product quality and customer service. Pleasing them in some circles is seen as getting more difficult by the year. Yet it should not be the case - we all make mistakes and all have our failures, but without those we do not learn. Ultimately listening must form a key part of your strategy to manage customers.
Some corporations have always believed in listening to customer needs and having access to world wide developments in technology whilst focusing on these requirements to bring about innovation in their industry. We must constantly innovate and provide solutions to the marketplace. Building strategies for really listening to customer needs and asking key questions is very important. We can see that changes are coming to the way we do business and it is always important to listen to customer needs and understand the industry trends.
Explore with your team new ways of listening to customer needs and wants, this opens opportunities for new products and services. Try to incorporate at least three new ideas over the next six months into your corporate portfolio.