The customer of tomorrow will be even more sophisticated than the customer of today. The twenty-first century customer will be savvier and have even higher expectations than today’s customer. It is the obligation of the service industry to assume the responsibility of raising the level of service and, likewise, to manage the expectations of our customers.
Tough economic times breed even tougher, more demanding customers. Customer expectations are at ever-increasing highs, while customer loyalty, seemingly, is at ever-decreasing lows.
It is easier to accelerate your business by cultivating the customers you already have rather than constantly working to attract new customers.
Through it all, there remains one inescapable fact: building a business depends on an organization’s ability to profitably deliver some superior proposition of value to some set of customers. If those customers don’t perceive superior value from you, they’ll turn their interest, attentions, and their wallets, to the alternatives that do exist. Companies lose their place in the market when they ignore the customers’ needs and do not show any distinctive competence or unique capability. Many products wither away from the markets because an organization does not understand the changing market environment and importance of delivering values to customers.
Superior value can be rooted in distinctive customer relationships built with the customer. A customer must feel confident that your organization understands, cares about and is committed on his business like none other. This feeling transcends to a range of service factor like speed, convenience, and consistency.
Fostering outstanding customer service is every employee’s responsibility, starting from its leadership. Leadership is encouraged to lead with strategic clarity build on servicing the best customers. Customer facing employees in turn, must be empowered, the power that comes with widespread recognition that anyone who speaks for the customer speaks with authority. Clarity demands leadership by example – a culture can be no more customer-centric than what is allowed by the everyday example set by senior management.
There are no secrets where the customer is concerned.
- Will continue doing business until something better comes along, whether better location, better price or better variety.
- No relationship formed.
- No personal interaction.
- Sees business as impersonal, only doing business with a company, not with a person.
- Forgives and understands minor problems.
- Not price sensitive.
- Will help sell the business with word-of-mouth advertising.
- Will not jump at the next attractive offer.
Front line employees must be empowered to affect decisions on behalf of the customer and management must encourage and support this shift in power. A customer-centric culture is focused on balancing between the internal organization’s world and the outside world, where exceeding the customer’s expectations is everybody’s task at hand.