Get to Know Your Customers


How much do you know about your customers? Do you know what makes them happy? Mad? Restless?

Let’s face it – you should!

Businesses often operate in ignorance of what their customers like or dislike, ignore and abhor. To ensure retention, pay attention!

The Basics: What Customers Love

– When you know them, remember them by name and remember their preferences.
– To be treated with respect
– To feel special
– To know you’re accountable when problems arise
– The ability to reach a live voice or person when problems arise
– To receive lagniappe — a little something extra, for their money’s worth

The Basics: What Customers Hate

– The run-around — and having to repeat one’s predicament repeatedly
– Labyrinthine voice mail systems
– Ignorant salespeople
– Apathetic employees
– Being put on hold
– Being left on hold
– Being disconnected after holding
– Poor routing of their phone call to the incorrect person
– Repeatedly hearing how important their patronage is while on hold indefinitely
– Canned e-mail responses that are unresponsive or miss the particulars of the problem
– Sales reps with surly or superior attitudes who are condescending
– Lack of empathy
– Taking customers for granted
– Being nickel and dimed!
– Adhering to the letter of the law as opposed to the spirit of the law

How We Can Win Points With Customers

– Exceed their expectations!
– Anticipate client needs even before they do
– Proactively head off problems before they occur
– Advocate for your customers with management
– Provide full service — offering one-stop shopping for myriad client needs
– Make doing business with you fun and easy
– Don’t make charge-backs, returns and problems problematic to address
– Grow with your customers
– Treat them like royalty and employ a touch of class in your interactions

Your Next Steps

– Audit your sales and customer service process; look for ways to streamline both for your customers’ convenience.
– Make sure your sales reps know your product lines inside and out.
– Poll your customers to uncover new ways to better serve them.
– Create a marketing plan for keeping in front of your customers: e-zines, ads, invites, demos, sales and courtesy calls, focus groups and other mechanisms.
– Review your returns; look for patterns and trends. Fix systemic flaws in your systems.
– Seek to reward devoted, long-term customers for their loyalty.
– To the extent possible, meet and better acquaint yourself with your customers so they’re more than a customer number or account name.

Don’t treat customers like strangers. Treat them like beloved family!

About the Author

Craig Harrison is a speaker, trainer and consultant who makes communication and customer service fun and easy for his clients.

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