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Create Good Shopping Experiences All Year Round

Lynnea Hagen Speaker

In past posts I mentioned secrets to building solid customer service plans and creating lasting relationships of “raving fans.” As I started thinking about it (fueled by the juices of this BIG holiday shopping season!), it occurred to me that what we need to create is a wonderful shopping and BUYING experience that lasts more than a month or two. We need to be acutely attuned to our clients’ needs, and consistently evolve ourselves to meet and serve those needs.

Today’s post is part of the list of “secrets” required in shepherding and growing your satisfied customers into raving fans.

You must know what your customers want (not what you THINK they want!). How do you achieve this? Well, you must know who your customers are, then you will know better how to serve them. Demographics are essential here. An upper-class woman in her 30’s is going to have completely different expectations than a working class man in his 50’s.

There are five main areas you need to consider and plan for in order to know what your customers want:

  • Listen to Your Customers

  • Ask Your Customers Sincerely

  • Offer More than Just a Product/Service

  • Know When to Ignore Them

  • Put on Your “Coaching Cap”

These are all important when deciding what your customers want out of their shopping experience.

Listen to Your Customers

You need to listen to both what they say and what they don’t say. Customers may say they want one thing and really mean something else. For example, if you customers are begging for lower prices, you may find out their real priority is quick delivery.

Also, listen to your “silent” customers. These are the customers don’t bother to complain because the service is so bad they’ve just given up and don’t feel like their voice matters. They feel unwanted and when a competitor shows up, they’ll be gone.

Listen to former customers. So many businesses only ask current customers what they like about doing business with them; yet most businesses NEVER bother to find out why people leave. This is golden information! Yes, it may be painful, but it’s great “fertilizer” for growth and change.

Lastly, listen to customers who only reply with “fine”. These customers are similar to the “silent” customers in that they are so used to bad customer service they only give a monotone response. They are probably the next group to leave. If “fine” is a good enough service rating for you, well…fine. But, truly, a business which provides products and services that are merely “fine” will not achieve loyal, raving fans.

Ask Your Customers Sincerely

If you aren’t sincere when you ask their opinion, they are going to see right through you. You may be thinking, “What about the customers who aren’t saying anything?” You need to ask them sincere questions that get them thinking about their experiences. Make them feel like you really care–and come from a place of really caring! After all, this is your business, your reputation

Offer More than Just a Product/Service

Your customers are looking for much more than a simple product or service, they are looking for an experience that makes them feel good. They gauge every step of the process with a value. When you take this into consideration and treat them like people, they will feel like they belong.

Know When to Ignore Them

You may think this goes beyond providing good customer service, but in reality you can’t give them everything and there are some people whom you will never make happy. You have to set limits and stick to those limits. If your vision and company don’t meet the needs of the customer, they will be best suited somewhere else. So, bless these folks on their way to somewhere else.

Be a “Coach”

If you’ve ever worked with a coach, you’ll know what this means. A coach’s job is to see and UNDERSTAND what is keeping their “coachee” from moving forward, then helping them move past those challenges. In all of the above scenarios, put on your “coach’s cap”, and get curious, ask questions, get clarity, make sure that what you heard is what they meant; then see how to help them move past what’s getting in their way of doing business with you. Not only is this a good way to learn more about your customers, it’s a fantastic way to help THEM feel heard and cared about by YOU. You may even win back some who have left.

These are some steps and tricks to figuring out what your customers want and how you can use them to work on your customer service vision and plan.

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