Did you ever wonder how business morph out of nowhere and become industry leaders? Are you puzzled how an industry leader remains on top and relentless efforts by David to bring down Goliath end in failure? In this series of post we shall think and look at the differences of what makes a formidable business Goliath that lasts for ages.
Part I – How to Create or stay as a Business Juggernaut
Who can argue that customers are the source of income which fuels and runs a business? They are very important but the problem is businesses are sometimes so glued to their short-term and long-term strategies, product launches, commercial concept creation, expansion, etc. that sometimes they forget about the their customers, taking them for granted thinking that they will always be there patronizing their great product.
An experience worth noting.
My sister and I go to the laundry business service just a half block away from where we live every end of the week, which is most of the times, a big headache to deal business with; but given the convenience and proximity from where we are, we could bear the difficulty of dealing business despite their poor customer service and quality.
But just this morning, their poor and pathetic business practice reached it’s peak and I was hit hard that there are business owners who just don’t care much about their customers and would not even take accountability for his staff’s non-delivery of my sisters clothes which was promised and delayed for the third consecutive day.
My sister is naturally calm in negotiations, and deals as patiently as she can but this morning she was raising her voice which as an indication of the kind of unacceptable business service shown to her. She was fuming at the owner demanding for her clothes to be prioritized amongst others and was asking a discounted price as penalty for their non-completion of task especially since she needed the business clothes for an important business occasion on that same day. To my surprise, and disbelief the owner answered back that she should have stressed and hounded his staff more as the delay was too long already.
I could not resist and answered back in defense of my sister how pathetic and uneducated the business owner was, and may his business fall down in flames.
To cut the long story short, both my sister and I would rather drive 4 kms. every week to get our laundry done instead of doing business with people who makes life hell for their customers.
Don’t make customers sweat doing business with you.
Our experience with a small laundry business gives me enough reason to argue why they are a very small entity and I would bet they would remain like that if not go out of business.
Always think of your customers and don’t make them exert the least effort in dealing with you. They should feel relaxed, wanted, and important and you should be able to do business the easiest way for them.
How do you make business easy for them?
Single point of communication – If customers need something be sure you provide them a medium where they can ask/clarify things without the hassle of being redirected to multiple people, repeating and bouncing questions, answers and responsibility back and forth. My previous company, BPO International, is the leader in finance outsourcing services in the country with thousands of clients served; but customers always complain how difficult it was to contact the person handling their account. I did not think it was a serious issue and though customers are probably exaggerating the issue a bit. Two years after I left, I experience the annoyance customers complained about when it took me half-day to get in touch with a colleague as I was redirected three or four times only to tell me the person was talking to somebody, was not in his place or they did not know who the person was. It was unbelievable for a company of that size and reputation failing to make simple accessibility as easy as possible for the customers.
One product is not for everyone – Different customers have different needs, so always bear in mind that a single product is not for everyone and stop insisting to customers that it shall work for them as it have worked for everyone else.
Let’s take Procter and Gamble’s product line as an example. Their product line for hair hygiene and cosmetics is different here in Asia as it in Europe and North America. But why? Hair is hair. But a simple and logical answer is that environment, climate, and culture affects hair differently in Asia, Europe, North America or even from one country location to another that making different products that suit each customer makes sense.
Another scenario I could think of is about mistakes I have seen in technology implementation is when consultants debate and argue customers so efficiently that they make them agree to buy certain products and services that later on they realize they don’t get their ROI as presented.
If I may add, even reporting on similar event or news is viewed differently by readers (they are customers you want to attract not drive away) as I recently read Jessica Doyle’s article that personal opinions should be left out when reporting live while other’s would be perfectly be fine with it.
Be sensitive and know who and what is the best approach or product for each customer and work on giving them the most suitable product/service that increases their value and your value as well.
Add value by selling them more which they need – Always, try to add value by offering more of your product to customers but do it in such a way that would look like you want to increase their experience in doing business with you.
Whenever I go to a restaurant for the first time I would always ask the waiter what he recommends and they usually tell you their best seller and at the same time recommend food that goes best with your main course. What I find comforting is when the waiter would suggest food and at the same time tell you the probable pros and cons of it — very good but spicy, or large enough for three people, etc. Most of the time waiters would tell you all the positive things about the menu and can’t seem to find anything important enough to tell that may keep you from ordering the food only to realize it was way, way off your taste.
Selling more means more expense for the customer but comparing it with what they could get in return makes the amount very cheap as Third and Grand would argue on it.
Keep track of your customers. – No. No. No. I am not advising you to stalk your customers but rather make sure you keep track of records that would make the next business deal easy for your customers.
The first time I called cab service to pick-me-up in the office late at night was painful having to repeat and clarify my location over and over again, detailing landmarks, directions and other stuff. The next time I called, they knew where the location was already and provided me with much simpler service.
But remember never to betray or extort from your customers similar to what AOL has done.
Give some room and don’t be too pesky. – Don’t suffocate your customers by continuously asking them about what they need and irritating them through your non-stop suggestions.
A number of times, salesladies in department stores are irritating enough to drive you out of their outlets by following you wherever you go convincing you that their shirts make you look nice and thin. Stop being a marketing bug in the lives of customers.
The best approach is to greet them as a sign of your recognition that a customer has arrived and make a quick and short query what they want if they need assistance. If yes, then help them out without intruding much and limiting their experience; if not, then tell them you will be around if they would need anything.
Customers are not always right. – Not all the time customers are always right and naturally they would ask and want more things that won’t actually help them improve or increase their value.
Its’ common in software development that clients ask for ton loads of features and reports of all kinds of analysis. As it turns out, after you have given them all these reports, they find that won’t actually need to read each transaction and details of the report and views it as a waste of time. Instead they only want a summarized view and keep all detailed transactions in archives for audit or reconciliation if need be in the future.
Since the customer asked for more features, they will have to pay more; but in the long-run all these added features will go to waste and would actually hamper their progress. Be analytical and help your customer realize what are the things they need and the least things they should be concerned about.
To be continued…
[tags]Business, Customer Service[/tags]
People get absorbed in work and before they realize their current situation…