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What Do Customers Want, Anyway?

Have you ever had customers who want the universe, gift-wrapped and delivered yesterday? Was that a resounding YES I heard? Fortunately, most customers don t demand the impossi!le" In fact, what they want is e#ceedingly reasona!le" $nd what s that? Well, switch for a moment from your service provider hat to your customer hat" When you re a customer, what matters to you? What matters when you re at the car dealer, the doctor s office, or the airport? What matters to you when you re on the phone ordering flowers, or awaiting technical support, or ordering a million-calorie pi%%a and a %ero-calorie !everage? &ver the years, I ve as'ed many hundreds of participants in my customer service seminars what matters to them when they re the customer" (heir responses are overwhelmingly similar, demonstrating that most of us want the same things when we are customers) We want to !e treated with respect" We want to !e listened to" We don t want to !e !ounced around or ignored or treated li'e dummies" *roduct and process +ow, switch !ac' to your service provider hat and thin' a!out it) ,oth the product and the process are important to customers" (he product refers to the solution, system, response, resolution, delivera!le or result" Whatever form the product ta'es, customers want it to wor' properly, to meet their needs, and to have that elusive -uality of, well, -uality" (his is the technical element of service, and you re not li'ely to have happy customers without it" ,ut e#celling in the technical element alone may not 'eep customers coming !ac' unless you also attend to the process" In fact, for many customers, the process is more important than the product" (he process concerns how customers feel they ve !een treated" (his is the human element of service" $nd touchy-feely though it may appear, the human element is e#ceedingly important in achieving a high level of customer satisfaction" (he following list presents the some of the responses I ve received from participants in my seminars" +otice that the ma.ority of the items pertain to the human element"

When I m a /ustomer, I Want " " " 0" (o !e ta'en seriously 1" /ompetent, efficient service 2" $nticipation of my needs 3" E#planations in my terms 4" ,asic courtesies 5" (o !e informed of the options 6" +ot to !e passed around 7" (o !e listened to 8and heard9 :" ;edicated attention 0<" =nowledgea!le help 00" Friendliness 01" (o !e 'ept informed 02" Follow-through 03" Honesty 04" Feed!ac' 05" *rofessional service 06" Empathy 07" >espect Sloppy service with a smile ;oes that mean that it s &= to give customers incorrect information as long as you re empathetic, friendly, and respectful in doing so? &!viously not" ,ut providing correct information may not !e nearly as effective as correct information accompanied !y empathy, friendliness, and respect" Focusing on the process is a way to invest in a relationship" In the customer interviews I conduct in my consulting wor', I continually find that customers who appreciate the way they ve !een treated uncomplainingly accept occasional delays and glitches" In other words, an emphasis on the human element can give you some leeway in delivering the technical element" It may !e that customers who demand the universe gift-wrapped and delivered yesterday .ust need a strong dose of respect, attentiveness, and courtesy" ,efore you start searching for universe-si%e wrapping paper, give it a try"