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Saturday, August 25, 2012

What customers want from all businesses

A satisfied customer shows her satisfaction.

If you plan to be successful in creating a service-based or product-based business, you have to consider the customer's experience in purchasing your product or service.  Here is a list of traits a customer looks for:

  1. Low Price: Pricing ties in directly to public perception of a company and its products or services. For example, Apple offers higher costs products that are of high quality.  Because of the expected higher quality, people are willing to pay top dollar for an Apple product.  However, Apple may lose potential customers because of the products' higher costs.  On the opposite end, more people may buy Dell products than Apple products because of the lower costs.  The lower the costs, the more affordable a product line becomes and reaches more potential customers.  Apple has a different business strategy and focuses on a particular segment of the consumer base.  They prefer more affluent consumers than Dell.  Dell wants to be in everyone's home, thus they charge lower for their technology products. 
  2. High Quality: This speaks for itself.
  3. Top Customer Service: Although Apple is mainly known as a product-based business, they implement a strong customer service philosophy.  Therefore, their goods are known as facilitating goods.  A facilitating good is any physical entity accompanying a transaction that adds value.  The masterminds at Apple are always asking "How can we add value to our customers' lives?"  If you create a business that focuses on this single question, you will stand out in any industry.  Guaranteed.
  4. Low Variability:  If a customer orders a steam mop from a company, that steam mop should function correctly with the same features in each household.  There should be no difference in functionality.  Imagine if you ordered a new iphone and your neighbor ordered the same product model.  You would be pissed if your iphone did not have access to GPS or gmail.  
  5. High Flexibility: Using iphones as an example again, there have been several models of iphones that were released with software bugs and malfunctions.  Apple was able to save face by being able to immediately respond to the market by creating updated software to correct those iphone malfunctions.  Companies have to be quick in correcting problems and offering new products to evolving markets.  
  6. Short Response Time: With the constant development of technology, business systems have dramatically improved across the globe.  Businesses are able to partner electronically with shipping entities to get the product in the hands of the buyer in rapid speed.  Thus, people expect what they paid for within a short period of time.  Companies that do not meet the response time needs of consumers will find themselves frequently looking for sales.  
To summarize, customers want value.  Value is the perceived benefits and costs your particular product or service gives a customer.  Does your product offer the feeling of a higher-end lifestyle like BMW does?  Is your product always dependable like Apple offers?  

Nowadays, businesses regardless of scale cannot afford to anger customers.  Research shows that a great customer service experience with a company will lead to two or three positive referrals from a single consumer.  On the contrary, a negative experience will lead to a minimum of eight or nine negative referrals from a dissatisfied consumer.  Thus, it makes business sense to treat your customers right.  If you have a difficult costumer on hand, proceed with caution if you plan to continue that relationship.  If you decide not to continue doing business with that person, be professional and honest on why you will not be able to do business with the respective consumer.  

If you are uncertain of your future and need relevant, applicable answers and direction, My Flexibility Manifesto: Following Your Passion 2 Success is a combination of spirituality, business, and career advice to put you and your family on the path to success and happiness.  It is available on Amazon via paperback and Kindle.  The PDF eBook is available on the right.  Thank you.  

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