Being Customer Focused Means Being Easy To Do Business With
Customers Do Not Want To Be Nomads
Larry Weber, the founder of public relations firm Weber Shandwick , says that “most customers are nomads.”
And rightfully so. Too few companies and organizations deserve customer loyalty.
The reasons why customers are nomads are numerous:
- Service delivery is inconsistent.
- Customer service is perfunctory and uncaring, lacking warmth or even pleasantness.
- There is no recognition of the customer’s previous engagements and interactions with the organization.
- There is a lack of personalization to meet individual needs, wants, desires, likes, or dislikes.
- “Value-added” pricing and packaging comes without the value add.
- Customer rewards programs are thought to be true customer loyalty programs.
Despite all these hurdles, customers do want to be loyal!
After all, loyalty saves the customer time (our most precious commodity in today’s world). Plus consistent service delivery can be anticipated, expected, and planned for. No surprises results in the customer not having to make new plans or contemplate new decisions.
How can you obtain customer loyalty? Does becoming customer focused work? What does it mean to be customer focused anyway?
Call it customer focused, customer centric, customer caring, or any other clever phrase you want. Being customer focused may boil down to one simple question ─ are you easy to do business with?
How do you rate in terms of convenience, easy ordering, customizable products and services, personalized delivery terms, and flexible terms and conditions?
Being easy to do business with is more about pre-sales and post-sales support than about the core features of your products or services.
For example, I buy almost all my books from Internet retailer Amazon. Unlike the big chain bookstores, or even my local neighborhood bookstore, Amazon is easy to do business with because:
- The titles I want are always in stock.
- I never have waste time while the checkout person chats idly with the customer in front of me.
- I never have to search for a knowledgeable staff member to help me find out where the book I’m looking for has been placed.
- I do not consume fuel driving to Amazon, nor do I have to wait or pay for a parking space.
- The time and fuel costs I save more than outweigh and offset any shipping charges I pay.
- My personal shipping addresses and credit card details (yes, both are plural for a reason, another sign of their flexibility and customization) are on file, so I easily check out with the mere click of a few buttons.
- Amazon notifies me when my order has been shipped, saving me the time to follow up.
- Amazon gives me an approximate delivery date, thus setting my expectations (which they then always meet).
- Even when I place an order on Saturday it gets shipped the next day ─ a Sunday!
I cannot think of a single thing Amazon could do to make it easier to do business with them. I have read where Amazon founder and CEO Jeff Bezos is passionate about improving the customer experience. For me, he is certainly hitting all the right buttons.
Amazon is a great example of a company that is practicing Customer Retention Marketing by being easy to do business with. As a result, they are keeping good customers (like me) loyal in terms of both buying behavior and brand preference.
Customers do not need (or want) to be nomads. All it takes to change this is being easy to do business with.
KEY POINT: being customer focused may boil down to one simple question ─ are you easy to do business with?
TAKING ACTION: ask yourself, is your organization easy to do business with? What rules, procedures and processes do you have that make it hard for your customers to do business with you?
How could you make it easier for customers to do business with you? What changes can you make in the areas of convenience, order placement, product or service customization, delivery, and other terms and conditions that would make it easier for customers to do business with you?
Review with your major customers which of your processes, policies, procedures, terms, conditions, and other elements drive them crazy and make them wish you did things differently.
This article is excerpted from our book The Best of the Monday Morning Marketing Memo, available at Amazon in Kindle and paperback formats.