Do not take your Customers for Granted

“I’m blessed to be able to work at something that I’m good at, and that I love. It’s not something I take for granted.”- Emmylou Harris

Taking things for granted is that awful mistake we all make, albeit inadvertently. In all of the strategic errors that companies, even market leaders, make is of taking their customers for granted. When a company starts to become successful and finds itself in a strong leadership position the thought process seems to revolve around their products and or services being top-class, unique and something the market cannot do without. This also extends to thinking that obviously then customers will simply choose their ‘uniqueness’ and always be there for business. With this mindset companies are actually pushing themselves back to older times where companies dictated what the market looked like. In today’s world however, taking customers for granted is equivalent to shutting down the business since it is the customers who call the shots now.

Companies and their offerings are not indispensable given the fierce competition, rise of a new breed of competition and technology that seems to change every minute. Customers have so many options that they do not need to stick with a company that takes them for granted. They would much rather go on to a company that respects their needs and treats them well.

Leaders of a company that takes its customers for granted will undoubtedly permeate this feeling throughout the organization. This attitude would also reflect in their customer service staff’s dealings with customers without remembering that their company exists because of their customers. Customer service staff as the face and first point of contact for any company must reflect a service demeanor and display a genuine empathy towards the customer’s needs, expectations and wants. They must actively listen to the customer and then do whatever they can to address those expectations in the most speedy and efficient manner. This is the point of contact that will give the customers an idea in to the manner in which they will be treated during the length of their journey with the company. If companies take their customers for granted they will not have anything unique to offer to customers and thus attracting new ones or retaining the old ones would be near impossible. Customers are able to easily distinguish between great customer service and ‘just for the sake of it’ service which happens when they are being taken for granted. Companies can forget about gaining trust and respect for their business and prepare to shut shop.

Again, with the frenzied market place scenario, that is constantly in flux, companies must go by the mantra that ‘having a customer today does not guarantee being able to keep the customer tomorrow’. Customer loyalty is based on the company’s ability to provide the best products, most competitive pricing and overall a level of customer service that shows them that companies value them and their resource investments. Technology and smart devices have made choices easier, more varied and quicker to have. Moving to new products or service providers is not a challenge anymore and hence not unusual for customers to shift base from one company to another in a matter of days. Imagine if they were to feel like they were being taken for granted – they would never return to the company and in fact take out time to spread the negativity as much as possible. Not taking customers for granted would translate to companies constantly innovating, reaching out to customers to understand their needs and even modify their internal strategies and products or services to give the customers what they want.

Survival in the current cut-throat scenario is difficult as it is and if companies make the glaring error of taking their customers for granted, it would be quite an insurmountable challenge. Placing the needs and expectations of the customer first not only helps to retain existing customers but also gains their loyalty and makes it simpler to attract new ones. Trained and knowledgeable customer service staff can amply reflect the company’s commitment towards customer expectations. They must also be empowered to provide feedback to the decision makers of the company so that the necessary changes can be made to policies, procedures, products and or services that the company currently operates by. Remaining aware of what competition does with respect to these operating procedures, will also keep a company in a front end position and help to overcome the competition’s tactics. It is important that the advantages the company can offer and how its service towers over competition is amply demonstrated and conveyed to customers.

Appreciating customers by knowing what they need is vital. However, assuming that your company will always know what they expect without even trying amounts to taking your customers for granted. Customers that are loyal to your company are loyal because they have felt special and their needs are being met. It stands to reason that when they stop receiving this treatment they will slowly fade away and let others know that you took them for granted. This obviously is not the intention of a company but missing out on the little things could make this huge negative difference.

– If your company realizes that your customers seem to be getting impatient with you it is probably because you have been taking your customers for granted. Fix it immediately by investing some value added time on them. Show them that you appreciate them and apologize for the inadvertent neglect on your part. Treat every customer with the same level of respect and importance to display that their business is indeed important to you and that they are an indispensable part of your success and growth. Imagine how you would respond if someone made you feel that you were the only one and were making a huge positive difference. Make your customers feel this way and vow never to take customers for granted.

– With the investment of time, making a genuine effort towards retaining the customers is also important since your actions must actually translate in to value for them. Retaining customers is always easier and pleasing them will ensure that they voluntarily advocate your company and attract new customers for you. In making this effort companies must know that trying to force products and or services on a customer or potential one will push them away. Customers don’t want to be ‘sold’ to they would rather be shown how useful and trustworthy a company is for them now and in the long haul. Earning the trust is crucial and companies must invest in a variety of ways to gain this elusive trait. It is challenging but when received it pays in more ways than one and the initial cost ceases to remain an issue.

– Making a great impression and providing high levels of customer service is good. However, to assume that customers will come back on their own because they ‘remember’ what you did amounts to taking your customers for granted. They probably remember but they want to be shown that you remember them and would wait till you get in touch with them to gain business. So rather than waiting for a time to reach out, have a system in place that allows your customer service agents to keep in touch with them on regular intervals, ensuring that when customers do need a product and or service you offer, they think only of you.

– Send them promotional material of to be launched products and or services since freebies are something that everyone likes. Doing this would also show customers that you are keen on retaining / attracting their business and are making the necessary and consistent efforts for it. This holds high value in the minds of customers.

– Each one in the team must be geared towards making the customers feel special and wanted. Every interaction must be memorable and serve to make the customers want to come back for more. Taking customers for granted is equivalent to a sin in the customer service realm.

Making your customers remain with you and return to do business is a tough proposition but pays off every single time. Taking your customers for granted is detrimental and turns away customers for good. Becoming the ‘go to’ company for every customer’s every business need should be the ultimate goal.

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