How these two principles assure customer satisfaction every time


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“Many players come to the market with a ‘monopoly mindset.’ They think they know what’s best for customers, even without asking them. MCI knows that what customers want is important. We know how to find out what they want, and we have the resources to deliver it.” – Bert C. Roberts, Jr., Chairman and CEO, MCI Communications Corp.

Even though MCI has merged now with Verizon, two key principles for any successful business are outlined here by Bert Roberts, and deserve further investigation.

Know what customers want.
Not only is this true by itself, but the secret is knowing how to find out what they want, and to do that on an ongoing basis. Discovering customer wants is not as easy as it sounds, but begins with asking them what they want. The difficulty comes when what they are telling you is not really what they want, but only what they think they want. Sound confusing?

For example, if a customer says they want the best deal in inexpensive air travel, they most undoubtedly would not want to sacrifice safety or aircraft maintenance to get the “best” price. So what they really want is not the best price, but the best deal they can get within the appropriate level of reasonableness. This “appropriate level of reasonableness” can be a moving target or a gray area that is difficult to define, but the more you can define it, the better your chances are that you can be effective at meeting a real need in a ripe market.

Have the resources to deliver with excellence.
After knowing, really knowing, what the customer wants, then you have to be able to muster up the resources to actually deliver on that product or service in an excellent way.

If, for example, you run a restaurant and you recognize a real desire for customers to have blueberry waffles every morning, then your restaurant better be able to provide enough raw materials to meet that need for the hundreds of customers you serve. However, if you know there is a real need, but you only have enough blueberry batter for three batches of waffles each day, then you will certainly sell those, but disappoint a large measure of your potential market who may not return when you are ready. The old adage is true: “Strike while the [waffle] iron is hot.” Or something like that.

If this sounds overly simplistic, it’s because it is. (Notice I did not say “easy,” I said “simplistic”). I truly believe we make customer satisfaction much more complicated than it really needs to be. If you can repeat these two broad, yet simple principles to everything you do, then you have created a real opportunity to satisfy customers like never before.

Just for fun…

“Immorality: The morality of those who are having a better time.” – H.L. Mencken

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, an online resource designed to provide insights and training to customer professionals across many industries.


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