Proving you Care for Customers

“Your customers don’t care about you. They don’t care about your product or service. They care about themselves, their dreams, their goals. Now, they will care much more if you help them reach their goals, and to do that, you must understand their goals, as well as their needs and deepest desires.” – Steve Jobs

Human nature dictates that we want to feel valued – meaning that this would be more pronounced for customers who need to make many hard choices, resulting in opening up their hearts and ‘pockets’ to companies. It is not prudent to take their backing and support for granted – customer attention and loyalty are transient now. Companies must constantly make the effort to keep in touch and constantly prove their care for customers in order to keep them happy and earn their loyalty. Regular meaningful interactions with customers, builds and strengthens connections with customers, while differentiating a company from other market players who would be communicating with customers only when they have something to sell.

It is established a company must prove that it does care for customers. What can companies do to prove that they genuinely do care for customers? Customers constantly require information and access to a knowledge base. Companies must send customers helpful tips and advice in any form – information that will enrich and better the lives of their readers and customers. It would be prudent for a company to understand their customers well such that they can proactively answer customer questions and anticipate their needs such that relevant information can be sent out. It is a good idea for companies to ask customers and readers what additional kinds of information they would like to receive – this way whatever customers receive would be exactly what they need, enhancing the trust and value they attach to the association.

The premise of proving you care for customers is by being different and unique from other market players. Everyone is constantly promoting their offerings in every communication, with no value added for customers. A company that shares knowledge with customers without them asking would be giving them something valuable and helpful, while proving the company’s authority and expertise on the subject.

There are several ways for companies to prove they care for customers. Rather than relying on historical data, it would be necessary for companies to ask customers directly about every aspect of their association with the company. It would be helpful to check how they feel about their association with the company, and request them to provide consistent feedback – both formal and informal. By keeping pace with the changing needs and preferences of customers – keeping a finger on the pulse of their expectations – does prove to be extremely beneficial for any business. The more a company seeks feedback, and allows customers to be part of the solution making process, the better it can display care and empathy for them. Of course, the process of asking is of no use if companies do not listen when customers ‘speak’. It is imperative for companies to let customers and respondents know that their feedback will be utilized. It helps to publish survey findings and results such that all can see. By posting results online, a company would enable customers to further comment and post their opinions, ensuring a healthy and consistent conversation – customers love being afforded a chance to talk and comment.

The underlying basis of showing care for customers is doing what they want. Of the top ‘wants’ of customers, they expect that companies do not waste their time, nor make them wait. Hence, it is imperative for companies to respond promptly and address whatever issues the customer may have. Responding is necessary in the case of complaints or compliments. Responsiveness shows customers that the company cares and that they are listening – and customers tend to stay with such companies. If you do care for customers, adapting to their needs would be part of the culture of the company, and every employee would be cognizant of the role they play in keeping customers happy.

Rewarding and gifting is a great way to display care for customers. Offering cash coupons, gifts that highlight and promote the brand, discounts, and special offers let customers know that they are valued. In addition, a company could offer to promote their customer’s business on their website and or social media sites. Another great way to show appreciation and care for customers is by hosting an event honouring them. A fun event with guest speakers, entertainment, food and drinks, and participation of several industry top players, not only gains visibility for the customer’s company, but for the host company as well – and any opportunity to gain positive attention for one’s company proves to be a blessing.

Companies globally are becoming increasingly aware of their social duties and responsibilities. Several of your customer’s companies too would be associated with a charity or involved in some kind of non-profit work. For companies to show their care for customers, it would be a good idea to contribute to the cause supported by the customer, or highlight the customer’s efforts, or support a charity of their own, and or hold fundraising events for some major cause that would need urgent help and funds. By advertising its efforts, a company would be able to get more people to buy since they too would become part of a social cause by buying the company’s products.

Just as with any business imperative, showing customers you care is not a one-off thing. It should be an on-going process requiring constant attention and monitoring. Sincerity and genuineness are essential in everything a company does, since it is extremely easy for customers to perceive falsehood and attempts to pass off hype as care. A company must remember that one of the top expectations of customers is that a company keeps every promise it makes. However, if a company happens to fail despite its best efforts, it is advisable to apologize instantly, without any excuses. Customers forgive lapses, but are extremely unforgiving of companies that do not own up to their faults. Not only should companies apologize, but must also swing into action to amend the problem with swiftness and efficiency.

Companies can do so many things to show care for customers but not every company makes the time or puts in the effort to do so. It is no wonder then that customers switch loyalties, and never return to a company that may have displeased them in any manner. It is necessary for a company to remember small things that would be important and big for its customers. Things like remembering their names, preferences, special occasions, interests, and other such seemingly minor details. As a customer, you would be extremely pleased if a company remembered the birthday of your spouse or children, and did something special for them. Or if the company picked up from your social media comments about your love for dogs, and sent you relevant information or even free gifts for your family pet.

The fact is that to show care for customers, a company must do more than provide top quality products and services. It is important to show them that the company cares about the things they care for, and that the company is committed to keeping them happy and feeling valued for the entire duration of the association.

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