My Customers Want What?

Customer is KingNo matter what your product or service is, you must understand and internalize this aspect of customer behavior: If they have a positive experience, they will probably tell you about it, but if it is negative they will explode on social media and it would be your luck that the incident will go viral. Here is the second set of consequences: you will soon see the result in your sales and bottom line.

At some point we have all probably wished that we had addressed and resolved a customers’ issue a bit differently. We must also accept the concept that excellent customer service is not optional and treated like the garnish on a steak. The fact is that excellent customer service is the magic key to helping your customers to decide to have a long term relationship with your business. So, what do customers really want? Here is the secret sauce: They want convenience, empathetic contact and easy accessibility to solutions to their issues.

Let’s explore these three (3) issues.

Convenience
Do not underestimate the importance of convenience. Try to anticipate how your customer defines convenience relative to the product or service that you offer and remove every obstacle that you can. For example, if you offer services on line, don’t bury your help of customer service screen or prompts in at the bottom of a page in size six type. The goal is to have the website organized or designed to minimize the clicks to order or receive assistance regarding your product or service.

Don’t discriminate between customers, by offering different prices or discounts depending on how they order or arrange service. Every business has to be diligent about shrinkage, theft or fraud. However, you should not max out on protections such as in store coupons that will not be accepted online or vice versa. I have seen instances where a given printer did not render a bar code exactly and the deal was rejected even though all other aspects of the coupon were acceptable. If taking advantage of your offer is too complicated, most customers will give up and abandon your shopping cart.

WebPro News reported the following statistics: Baymard.com recently calculated the average documented online shopping cart abandonment rate based on 29 different studies. The study with the lowest rate (55%) was from Forrester and Shop.org in 2010. The one with the highest (80.3%) was from Rejoiner in 2012. The average from all of them was 68.07%. That’s too high.

Customers will choose the path of least resistance, so make that the one you want them to choose. Making the customer happy should be prominent in the overall customer service strategy.

Empathetic Contact
When you think of customer service, you have a right to expect to be understood. By understood, I do not mean the intellectual act of processing the words that you hear. I mean that you should show empathy.

Empathy has many different definitions that encompass a broad range of emotional states, including caring for other people and having a desire to help them; experiencing emotions that match another person’s emotions; discerning what another person is thinking or feeling; and making less distinct the differences between the self and the other. The ability to imagine oneself as another person is a sophisticated imaginative process. However, the basic capacity to recognize emotions is probably innate and may be achieved unconsciously. Yet it can be trained and achieved with various degrees of intensity or accuracy.

Empathetic contact can be manifested in various ways, but can be simply characterized as viewing customers as human beings. People want comfortable and friendly contact, and to be treated as people.

Easy Accessibility
This may seem obvious, but some organizations actually make it difficult for a customer to talk to a live person. Every business should make the contact information prominent on all promotional materials and the website. Based on the size of your organization, there are cloud contact centers that can assist. My only caveat is that you must specify what you want, rather than agreeing to some “standard” package. You want a service that allows customer call back abilities, which could lead to greater sales, and the capacity to scale up as needed without sacrificing customer attention. I am going to rely on you to recall some of the horrible examples of automated customer services and simply suggest that you avoid it.

Finally, try to provide customer tailored to your product or service and personalized for you unique customers and clients.

Related Articles:   Customer Retention Is King   and   customer service … Be Careful What You Cut!

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James E. McClain is the author of Successful Career Development: A Game Plan, the book upon which some of our training programs are based. He has over 30 years' experience as a corporate HR executive, small business owner with ongoing experience in career development and as a college instructor. His educational background includes a B.S. and Masters degrees Education and Certification in Financial Planning. Our promise is that "you can pay more for training but you can not buy better training." The mission is to deliver the most effective and cost effective training and development programs.

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