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Written by Sonal Jaiswal | Evangelist, Customer Guru
Companies spend a lot of time and energy researching customer expectations and behaviour. It’s important for companies to have this knowledge because only when they know what matters most to customers, will they be able to exceed expectations. More importantly, businesses need to be judicious in spending their resources. Knowing their customer’s biggest need would help the company to optimise their costs and reorder their priorities. I guess Roy.H.Williams sums it up very well when he says “The first step in exceeding your customer’s expectations is to know those expectations.”
So let us start getting to know what they are, shall we?
Customers prefer delight over happiness. Sometimes, just a great product won’t suffice; customers expect an amazing experience. Companies like Ritz-Carlton, Disney Land etc. have successfully created a magical customer experience that is hard to forget. Such experiences are long lasting and one of a kind, which is why customers can’t stop talking about them and enthusiastically recommend the same to others. However, such level of customer experience is extremely difficult for companies to achieve. It takes years of practice, and it requires that the company leadership put customer at the heart of everything they do. It requires hiring the right attitude, training people to understand the customer, and empowering them to go beyond their call of duty if it creates positive customer experience.
Experiences are what gives customers a reason to be associated with you.
Every second and every penny spent in doing business with you is precious for the customer. Once a customer feels that your company’s offer is not worth the money he is paying, he will move on to your competitor. Similarly, when companies take their own time in closing the loop on customer feedback or delay the delivery of a product, it tells customers that their time is not valued.
There are numerous examples of companies that goes to prove how this builds customer loyalty. Apple is perhaps one of the best examples of a company that built customer loyalty by emphasising on the value of its customer’s time and money. Apple products are generally the most expensive ones in their category, but people still buy Apple products because they are confident that they are getting something worth the price. Similarly Zappos ensures that all customer service calls are answered within first 20 seconds, and by a call centre executive, not an IVR. Zappos is fanatical about customer service and that’s one of the reasons why customers love that brand!
Many a times, companies fail to recognise their repeat customers. Customers find it annoying and sad to be asked who they are. They want to be remembered by their face and not just by names. By the time you search a customer’s name in your directory, he or she has already lost interest in your company. Starbucks baristas are trained to make their customer enamoured by deliberately remembering their name and their choicest drinks, delivering even before they are asked! The sense of familiarity makes the relationship more informal and it goes a long way. If you could put some extra effort in personally knowing the customer and understanding his/her needs, you’d win a customer for life. It also helps a company in personalising its services for each individual, which ultimately builds better customer loyalty.
Companies need to start asking themselves ‘what is it that matters most to our customers?’ And the best way to learn what matters most to customers, is by asking them regularly through customer feedback. Ask the right questions, and when you learn about the things that aren’t making your customers happy, do whatever you can to fix it!
We would love to hear from our readers what they think matters most to their customers. Please leave your feedback in the comments below.
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