Want Better Customer Service? Monitor Consumer Behavior


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There’s no denying that the number one aspect of creating and maintaining a thriving business is creating loyalty. When your customers are loyal, they will go to the ends of the Earth to support you and buy your products and services. When they’re treated well, they’re more likely to become regular customers. And that loyalty can only grow from a foundation of trust. So, where does trust come from?

When a customer makes a purchase, and they receive their product on time and as expected, that creates trust. If a customer purchases your services and receives the value they expect, that creates trust. But more importantly, when a customer has an issue that needs to be resolved and interacts with your customer support team and their issue is resolved to their satisfaction – or beyond – that generates an enormous amount of trust and almost guarantees loyalty on the spot.

Customer issues are opportunities to generate trust

Nobody wants their customers to experience issues, but it’s bound to happen at some point in time. No system is entirely flawless. So when your customers do have issues that need to be resolved, think of it as an opportunity to resolve something for someone and turn them into a loyal customer.

The best way to create amazing customer service that turns people into loyal customers is to study consumer behavior.

What is consumer behavior?

Consumer behavior is how and why people make their purchase decisions. This can include factors in the physical world like specific needs for features and benefits, as well as internal and external circumstances that influence purchasing decisions. It’s basically everything about their buying process from start to finish.

It’s important to understand consumer behavior because you can use that information to strengthen marketing efforts, plus increase brand loyalty and your service strategies.

When you can understand consumer behavior, you can create products and services (or modify existing ones) to provide your customers with even more value based on what you know they want. It’s another way to up your game in the world of customer service.

Understanding basic consumer needs

According to BrianTracy.com, there are eleven basic needs that drive consumer purchases:

  • Money
  • Security
  • Being liked
  • Status and prestige
  • Health and fitness
  • Praise and recognition
  • Power, influence, and popularity
  • Leading the field
  • Love and companionship
  • Personal growth
  • Personal transformation

Any purchase made by a consumer is going to be rooted in one of these needs.

Consumer behavior is your key to better customer service

As a business, when you know what your customers want and expect, you can understand their needs well enough to incorporate what you know into your customer service strategy. And you don’t need to jump through fancy hoops to find out what your customers want. You just have to look at their buying habits, and know how to interpret the data.

One of the most interesting things discovered in a study by Gartner is that 80 percent of online customers need to connect with customer support in order to make a decision to make their purchase. That means customers online want the same type of service they would typically receive in a brick and mortar store. They want the ability to connect with a staff member for help.

Knowing that consumers need help, it makes sense to ensure your service strategy makes that help available.

Understanding the following consumer behaviors can help you develop stronger service strategies:

  • Other people’s experiences shape purchase decisions: Many consumers will make purchase decisions based on other people’s product reviews as well as the experiences they share. When people share their difficulty with purchases, returns, and an inability to get good support, many people will just go to the next competitor with a great reputation for customer support.
  • People are willing to go into debt to satisfy a need: When people are driven by obtaining status, class, authority, prestige, or anything else that emotionally drives them to make a purchase, they’re not afraid to use their credit card to get it.

    Although many people choose to make large purchases on their credit cards, they aren’t too worried about getting further into debt because they know they have plenty of options to consolidate and refinance their debt through programs and consolidation loans. This means you can price your products and services higher when it’s warranted without worrying about whether or not people can afford it.

  • People buy to satisfy a variety of needs: In the 1940s, Abraham Maslow identified many needs people make purchases in order to satisfy. These needs might be biological or rooted in safety and security. They could be based in obtaining love, affiliation, prestige, esteem, or even self-fulfillment. That’s why the best marketing slogans for big brands are linked to the satisfying of a need – for example, “gentlemen prefer Hanes.” This slogan suggests that if you’re a gentleman, or want to be one, Hanes is the brand you want to choose.
  • Cultural and social values heavily influence purchase decisions: When a product or service represents a specific cultural or social value, people who identify with that value are more likely to purchase it. For example, if a culture or society places immense value on hard work, then the companies who connect their product with hard work are going to see a higher rate of success.

When you look at consumer behavior – how people make their purchase decisions – it will become clear how you can incorporate that data into your customer service strategies. All you have to do is look at how your customers make their purchase decisions. Then, use that information to structure a solid support strategy to guide them through the customer journey based on what they value the most.

Larry Alton
Larry Alton is an independent business consultant specializing in social media trends, business, and entrepreneurship. Follow him on Twitter and LinkedIn.


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