3 requirements for satisfying your customers


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“I believe you have attained ‘customer satisfaction’ when customers return to your store because they want to, not because they have to.” – Richard T. Takata, President, Eagle Hardware and Garden, Inc.

In reading the above quote occurred to me that this is actually a business result that we shoot for each and every day in the customer satisfaction business. When you get right down to the meat of it, what we are really trying to do is create such a wonderful experience for customers that they simply want to come back and do business with us again.

Think of a favorite restaurant where you’ve had many enjoyable meals: what are the types of things that keep you coming back to that place? Perhaps it has outstanding food; perhaps it has only marginal food but a great atmosphere; perhaps the food is OK, the service is OK, but you typically go there with a good group of friends and feel very comfortable in that environment.

Think of a favorite bookstore or coffee shop: what is it that seems so attractive to you about these places? Is it the types of books; is it the brand of coffee? Maybe you just like going there because it’s a quiet place to get away from the world for a while, and so you’ve come to “like” this place.

When you begin to analyze your own customer behavior, you can discover new perspectives about your own business that you may be taking for granted, along with some missed opportunities for improvement. I’ve talked about the importance of empathy before, but just how can you be empathetic to so many different types of people, who are your customers, that come through your doors?

1. Know your product’s place in the market. How is your product or service viewed in the marketplace in which you operate? If you’re one of the only providers, you have the benefit of being in a position of attaining new customers on a regular basis. However, if your market contains other businesses that provide similar products and services then it helps if you begin to define for yourself and your team what it is you do and whom it is you do it for.

2. Know your customer. If you’ve been in business for any length of time, you probably heard this a million times, “know your customer.” However, the better you know what your customer expects, the better you’re able to provide what it is they want. And if you’re providing what they want, then your chances increase exponentially that they will return to your business again and again.

It’s been said that many businesses create a product and then go look for a customer base to sell it to. In reality, businesses should be created around a customer need that exists already, because then an “automatic” customer base exists already for what it is you have to offer. I believe the vast majority of businesses exist somewhere in between these two extremes, and therefore need to evaluate their own customer base carefully to ensure that their product and service line matches the desires and needs of their customer base.

3. Take customer feedback seriously. There are many ways that businesses seek to solicit customer feedback; surveys are one of the primary ways that businesses do this. However, your customers are probably giving you a lot of information already that you may not be capitalizing on. Listen to what they’re telling you when they are requesting service; listen to the comments they make about your sales environments in your office. Don’t turn a deaf ear to customer comments simply because you don’t agree with their conclusions. Every customer comment needs to be weighted with the respect it deserves.
By having a better understanding of the context of your business and the nature of your customers, you automatically become more empathetic with their needs and desires. And, although you may not be able to meet all of them, you will be that much more prepared to choose which ones are worth your time and effort. When you are successful in creating an environment where customers really do want to do business with you, you will have no problems with repeat sales.

Just for fun…

“The best reason I can think of for not running for president of the United States is that you have to shave twice a day.” – Adlai Stevenson

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Steve Martorano
Steve has been on the front lines with customers for over 25 years. He is currently Director of Customer Services for Polygon Northwest, a real estate developer in both the Seattle and Portland markets. Steve is also the creator of ThinkCustomerSatisfaction.com, an online resource designed to provide insights and training to customer professionals across many industries.


  1. You offer right-on-the-point insights many businesses can benefit from. When companies know where they stand, who they serve and work hard to improve service, they can attain the satisfaction levels they’re after. These three things can also combine to help align efforts throughout a company to better serve the client. This video (http://www.upyourservice.com/video-theater/get-better-results-through-alignment-of-effort-not-through-greater-effort) offers some good ideas on how to achieve that goal.


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