Do you know What Your Customers Really Want?

As a company are you now complacent with your success? Resting on your laurels? Or are you still hungry to know what makes your customers tick, what they really want from you? Do you know What Your Customers Really Want? If the answer to the last question is yes, then kudos to you! You have won half the battle. When you know truly what your customers want and need, you will be able to create tailor made processes and prioritize the strategies that run your business based on the data you consistently and pertinently collect. However, even without a pointed study or research it would be common sense to assume that customers would want the following, not mentioned in any particular order: the overall product or service quality, complaint management and resolution, effectiveness of service recovery, efficiency and knowledge of staff, first contact resolution, tailor made and prioritized service and being always informed about matters that concern them. Recorded and monitored data shows that customers have placed shoddy customer service in the ‘No Tolerance Zone’ while doing business. They will just not settle for lop-sided and clumsy service that inconveniences them. They would rather switch brands and companies than stay with a company that is oblivious to their needs and wants. Companies that constantly exhibit heightened customer experience are the ones that will be able to attract and retain customers. However, even such companies would not be wise to stop innovating and creating. It is ongoing, relentless and most definitely hard work. And it’s not going to get any easier since as the use of newer technology spreads, customers have all the information regarding companies, their competition and the brands they endorse at their fingertips. You cannot fool the customers in to believing lies or half-truths.

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[img src=”×150.jpg” width=”” height=”” align=”right”] It is appalling that despite all the information available to companies about customer needs and the trend these are following, some companies still don’t consider it important enough to put customer service as performance indicator failing which could have negative consequences. Is it hard to understand that it would be infuriating from a customer’s point of view if he or she gets to speak to an incompetent and untrained representative who would not only be unable to resolve the problem but be completely dumbfounded by the aggression of the customer? Putting measures in place for the sake of doing so does not serve the actual purpose of customer service, are pointless. As a case in point: The customer service department of a reputed Insurance company had a rather ridiculous way of measuring effective customer service. They would time each call answered by the customer service representative. For each extra minute the representative would lose a point and on reaching some number of lost points, would be penalized. This did not lead to resolution of customer queries at all. In fact, the representatives would rush through each call, often sounding irritated just to ensure they kept to the number of minutes ‘reserved’ for each call. This resulted in calls being disconnected on purpose, repeated calls of ever increasing angry customers and higher levels of escalated complaints. How can you tell the customer that they have only a minute or two to speak with you? It is one of the main reasons for customers being disgruntled and resolving never to call you again. Personally, I have not met a single person, who has been a customer for either a product or service, who has not experienced poor and frustrating customer service. Isn’t that shocking? Companies must base their choices and processes around what customers want and what they need and this will be how their customer service runs – great or below average service. Customers NEED products and services but they don’t necessarily WANT them from you. Great customer service will change this want to a need. So how do you go about this? The magic lies within two words: Customer Service!

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• In an already complicated and tough world, anything that makes our life simpler often catches our attention. The same is true for the product or service a company offers along with efficient customer service. Customers are busy and an idea that it simple, convenient, good quality and effective is sure to attract and retain them. So make it easy for your customers to do business with you. This is a want that is masquerading as a need!

• Anything that will make your customers feel good and not be physically strenuous is on its way to being a winner. Promoting and delivering this comfort is a way to tell your customers that you understand their needs, you are there for them and your service is committed to keeping this comfort there for them as they do business with you. You are sending a subtle message to them that you recognize that they work hard and as a brand you would like to simplify things a bit.

• An ‘intelligent’ product or service that exercises and excites the mind is a sure shot way to break the wearisomeness of routine. Customers should feel stirred and motivated to use your product or service just for this. Tough but rewarding!

• Your customer base is probably too large to customize your product or service to match each customer. However, when you promote and position your brand, reach out to their individuality. This makes it effortless for them to identify with your brand and scoop it up for use. The perception, that the product or service being offered is aligned to the customer’s identity, is influencing and a formidable idea that is not easy to brush aside or be oblivious to.

• When we live in a society or in a gamut that is competitive, being able to one-up or show-off what we have is very real. People do that all the time. Customers too are in the grip of this ‘show’. They want technology, products, services and anything that they can brag about as them being the first to have or afford. Use the invaluable data you collect from all the surveys and customer interactions to figure how to meet this want of innovative products or services lead to the satisfaction of the need of the customer of being perceived as a leader and pioneer of the latest offerings in the market. If your customer receives this praise and acknowledgement from their peers and associates, you will have most certainly achieved – the highest ode to your customer service – customer loyalty.

These are not all, but just some of the things that will serve as pointers for what customers really want. Pay attention consistently and you will pick up subtle and strong hints that will help you identify these wants and perfect the offerings you have. Re-visit your company’s business strategies, processes, the everyday working of each individual business unit around these observations. Allow your customer service representatives the discretion and freedom to provide the best service and customer experience for maximized customer satisfaction. Arm them with the resources, training, performance indicators and reward mechanisms to keep them motivated and at the top of their game at all times. Make customer service your culture – talk about it department meetings, have customer service theme week, put up invigorating posters around the office – drive customer service and make it the air you breathe!

The aim is not to bog everyone down, but provide an environment that encourages each member of the company focus on achieving the highest level of quality when it comes to interacting with customers. Have superior and well-trained staff frontline with your customers. Promoting customer service within your organization may seem like hard work that is also costly, but you can be sure that the resultant loyal customer base would certainly be worth it and overtime will neutralize and balance out these expenses. It is a lot harder and more expensive to gain a new customer and even harder to appease a disgruntled one. The overriding fact when dealing with customers is that they don’t easily believe and even less likely to give a second chance. In a number of cases, customers that are not served what they want might just drop you and move on without so much as feedback or affording you an opportunity to explain. Give the customers what they want, and more, and you can be sure that you will be laughing all the way to the bank!

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