Clients and buyers are the lifeblood of any business, so you want to keep them happy. Aside from providing top-quality products and services, one of the best ways to achieve this is by understanding your customers and meeting their needs.
What if you could pre-empt these needs? Have protocols in place for any situation? Well, not any situation (customers are a fickle bunch), but there are certain things that everybody looks for.
In this article, we address eight common customer needs and how to deal with them.
1. Good Customer Service
This one seems fairly obvious, but many companies miss the mark here. In the “the customer is always right” era, purchasers expect incredible service from any business they patronize. While many companies don’t adhere to this maxim, they’re still aware of customer expectations.
Make sure your customer service is the best it can be at every stage of the customer journey. This can cover a few different things, but the general rules of good customer service remain the same.
Whether you’re using in-house customer service staff or call center outsourcing, make sure your customer-facing team is, above all, friendly and helpful.
Let’s take a look at these points individually.
A friendly face is a must for customers. We know the importance of a first impression, and one bad experience is enough to turn most customers away. Nobody is expecting a red carpet, but a smile and a friendly greeting will make customers feel welcome – as if you’re actually happy to see them.
If customers have questions or problems, you must do your best to address/resolve these. With training and encouragement, your customer service team should aim for consistent first call resolution, for example.
You should also inform your customers of anything you think they’d find helpful. They’ll appreciate the extra effort, whatever form it takes.
2. Great Products
With a good marketing campaign, you can get anybody to buy anything. However, for repeat business, you want to make sure customers are actually happy with the product. Most people will quickly lose trust in a company after one bad experience, adopting an “I’ve been burned before” mentality.
Don’t sell incomplete products just to meet a deadline (we’re looking at you, gaming industry). People don’t mind waiting a little longer for the full article.
Don’t promise features that aren’t included in the advertised price either. Amazon Prime is guilty of this, frequently advertising films that need to be rented or bought at the top of their interface. This tactic comes across as cheap and salesy.
3. Useful Information/Help
This is, obviously, a rather vague heading, but it’s true. Customers are always going to be on the hunt for information to help them get the most out of your products or service. So, try to offer them a convenient channel through which to find that information.
Product information should be covered in the product description. This should address physical features, practical features, and availability.
General information can be presented in a newsletter too, to keep your customers in the loop and get them excited about upcoming events. Large companies with multiple locations, like Walmart, make great use of this kind of public schedule. For example, see these Walmart key event dates 2021.
For more specific inquiries, you can build a comprehensive FAQ page, employ chatbots, and make sure your contact information is easy to find.
Another vital time-saving tactic to help customers is to improve efficiency. The best way to ensure efficiency is by streamlining your business operations. For example, you can automate a lot of tedious, time-consuming tasks with an effective bots download. These pre-built bots can take care of all sorts of tasks, and any time you save can be passed on to the customer as a time and cost saving.
It’s easy to forget that customers are people, especially when they’re shouting down the phone at your complaints department. Try not to take this personally – they will often be upset or frustrated. The quickest way to defuse these kinds of situations is with genuine empathy.
Take time to understand why they are upset, and let them know you understand. A simple, “I’m sorry to hear that. I can see why that would be upsetting” is usually enough. Phrased this way, you’re both suddenly on the same team. It’s you and the customer against the problem, rather than you against them.
Customers… no… scratch that… people… are lazy, or sometimes just busy. As such, they will often opt for the most convenient, time-saving option. Evidence of this is all around. Fast food restaurants, department stores, and Amazon are all business models that capitalize on the desire for convenience.
Do your best to keep everything in one place. If you’re a website, lay out everything in a way that’s easy to understand and navigate, offering links to other related areas of your site.
Make yourself available to customers too. There are few things more infuriating than being ignored. Luckily, there are options, even for small businesses, to ensure you can always be reached thanks to small business phone systems.
Finally, if you have a website, make it compatible with mobile devices. A huge amount of online shopping and browsing is done via mobile, so neglecting these platforms will alienate a lot of customers.
7. A Fair Price
Nobody likes to feel like they’re being ripped off, so offering a fair price is essential for repeat business. People talk, after all, and even if you manage to sell something above the fair price, customers will quickly realize this and probably won’t come back.
This doesn’t mean making everything incredibly cheap. It’s okay to have a higher price, but it has to be justified. Be transparent with customers about pricing. If yours is on the cheaper side, great. If not, explain why it’s not.
This point is made more crucial by the access to information most customers have. Price comparisons on most things are only a google away. So, if your prices aren’t fair, you probably won’t even get the chance to rip off savvy customers in the first place. And you certainly won’t be getting a second chance from anyone else!
There is an element of this present in every other need we’ve mentioned so far. Because of this, it’s worth repeating.
Whether you’re selling retail or wholesale (see this wholesale vs retail analysis to help you understand the key differences), be honest about your prices, products, and services. Otherwise, it could come back to bite you. Trust in a company is a huge factor for the discerning customer.
Building up a trustworthy reputation is an ongoing effort that can take a long time to build but only a few bad decisions to ruin.
Meeting your customer’s needs will encourage them to return, and it will also ensure those customers go on to say great things about your business. If done correctly, it’s more than just customer retention; it’s building a positive reputation that will prove invaluable in the long run.