Have you ever wondered what your customers really want? Here are 5 things that they may be looking for.
I’ve noticed something different about today’s customer. Unlike the customer of yesteryear who did not have easy access to product information and multiple avenues by which to locate and purchase products, the customer of today can easily access information, compare prices and formulate product or service questions in the comfort of their home or office.
The question of “What does today’s customer want?” often comes to mind.
Here are 5 things I think they’re looking for.
Lifestyles have changed over the years. People are working longer hours. More and more of us are working from home. The internet has assisted in making the world a twenty-four hour marketplace. Today’s customers want the convenience of researching and making purchasing decisions without having to leave their home or office. Does your web presence allow them the ability to acquire enough knowledge about your product or service to make a purchasing decision? Is it possible to make a purchase right now? Twenty-four hours a day? On the other side of the world? Can they make purchases via their smartphone?
Now I know this one may be a little tough, but can they communicate with someone within your organization when it’s convenient for the customer? I know this may mean asking the customers to email your organization, but can they feel confident that someone will respond within a reasonable amount of time? The busy customers of today want to have the ability to do business with your company at their convenience.
2. Knowledgeable Workforce
Because your customers have the ability to perform their own research regarding your product or service, they expect your employees to know even more! Have you ever asked questions regarding a product or service only to feel that you knew more than the employee? Your customer expects your employees to be experts.
Are your employees trained properly? Do they know the history of your company? Do they know how your products are made? Materials required to manufacture the product? Can they provide comprehensive answers regarding your service concept? Are they familiar with your competitors products or services and how they compare to your offerings? When today’s customers interact with your company, they want assistance from competent, knowledgeable employees.
Today’s customers are busy with the everyday hustle and bustle of life. The idea of dealing with inefficient processes and procedures when attempting to do business with your company is very unappealing. Your customers want to be serviced in a timely manner. Today’s customers want to utilize technology to assist in reducing the amount of time required to make purchasing decisions and completing transactions. Is purchasing products or services a simple process for your customers?
Once your customers make a purchasing decision, how long does it take to complete the transaction? What’s the wait time at your retail locations before the customers are serviced? Are you aware of your peak periods and staffed accordingly? Can your customers easily find products or services on your website? Are your customers able to walk into one of your “brick and mortar” sites and quickly locate their items of choice? Make sure that your company allows your customers to quickly and efficiently conduct business.
The customers of today want to know that they will receive the same level of service every time they choose to do business with your company. Whether it’s through your website, over the phone or in person, your customers want to know that they can count on your company to consistently deliver a great customer experience. As we stated previously; speed, convenience and a knowledgeable workforce are key ingredients required to service today’s customers. Can you provide these ingredients for every customer – during every interaction? I hear someone saying “For every customer Errol – during every interaction?” Yes, for every customer – during every transaction.
Consistency is one of the building blocks in creating both customer retention and customer loyalty. Your level of consistency is key to building trust with your customers. Make sure that your customers consistently receive a high level of service regardless of how they choose to conduct business with your company. Do the customers receive a high level of service at all of your retail locations? Does it matter which customer service person interacts with the customers in regards to the level of service provided? Your customers expect your service delivery to be consistent across all channels and from all company personnel.
5. A Great Mobile Experience
Technology has created a multitude of avenues that assist your customers in their daily living. Today’s customers can make dinner reservations, and check for parking availability near the restaurant directly from their smartphone. Does your company take advantage of technology to create a better mobile experience for your customers? Do you have a mobile website? How would your customers rate your mobile website? Are you aware of what percentage of your customers found you via your mobile website?
According to Compuware, fifty-seven percent of consumers would not recommend a business with either a bad mobile website or no mobile website. Forty percent have turned directly to a competitor’s mobile website after a bad mobile website experience. Does your mobile website provide enough information for your customers to take the next step: call you or visit in person. A smartphone usage study (The Mobile Movement) from Google in 2011 reveals that a positive mobile experience drives traffic to your business. The study found that after conducting a local search, sixty-one percent of smartphone users called the business, fifty-nine percent visited the business in person and ninety percent of callers or visitors did so within twenty-four hours.
In today’s marketplace, your competitors are no longer just in the same local area, state or even the same country. The customers of today have many purchasing options. Garner your share of today’s customers by including the ingredients of Convenience, A Knowledgeable Workforce, Speed, Consistency and A Great Mobile Experience.
About the Author
Errol Allen has over 25 years of experience in the customer service industry including 13 years in a management role. Having held positions as an Internal Customer Service Consultant, Call Center Quality Manager and Operations Analyst, Errol understands the need for a “systems” orientation to providing excellent customer service. Errol has also designed customer service training programs for the “front line” associate to insure employee confidence when interacting with customers.