What Your Customers Really Want
By Walt Zeglinski
Does your business have what it takes to consistently win in
today’s market? How about keeping your customers loyal? If you
think the price of your products or services is the reason you are
attracting or not attracting and maintaining customers, think
again. Today’s customers are savvy and want much more from their
relationship with your company than just a low cost.
Customers are looking for relationships that deliver unique
value. Yes, they want your products to solve their problems but they
also seek a level of satisfaction that goes beyond the intrinsic
value of what they paid for. By learning to tap into this deeper
level of emotional satisfaction, your business with current
customers will increase and you will uncover a steady stream of new
Are Your Customers Loyal?
You may have asked your customers if they
were satisfied with their purchase from your company. But the true
measure is whether your customers are actually coming back. In an
average customer poll you may find that 8 or 9 out of 10 customers
were satisfied. That sounds great. But studies show that only 4 or
5 purchase from you again. Why? Because rational satisfaction (they
were not displeased, the product worked, etc.) is only part of the
equation. Customers who purchase again are
satisfied. Moreover, emotionally satisfied customers will also
recommend your product or service to others.
The bottom line on measuring loyalty: (1) How many of your
customers intend to purchase again, and (2) how many of your
customers would endorse your company to others.
Creating Exceptional Value:
Exceptional value is created when your customer perceives your
product or service to be worth more to them than the price they pay.
There are two components in any strategy for creating exceptional
value with customer. The first is how well you communicating the
unique value of your products and services as compared to
alternative solutions in the marketplace. This is important and is
likely to result in a high rational satisfaction. However it takes
emotional satisfaction to develop a loyal customer. The second
factor – building deeper, trust-based relationships – is the key to
emotionally satisfied customers. This happens when your employees
show your organization understands a customer’s needs, delivers more
than is expected, and helps them achieve their goals.
Exceptional value stems from exceptional employees. Your
people are the “secret sauce” in your organization’s ability to
deliver on its value promise. You have to hire and retain the right
people to make it work. These employees are those who do not need
management mandates to engage customers and adhere to company
values. These employees are your customer’s problem solvers. They
provide the discretionary effort and intellectual capital that can
take your customers from satisfied to loyal. And, studies have
shown that an increase of only 5% in customer loyalty can add from
25% to more than 100% to your bottom line!
Tapping the Emotional Fountain:
Developing emotional satisfied customers who enjoy extrinsic value
(beyond functional benefits) might seem like a pie in the sky ideal
but there are many world examples. Think about a Rolex watch and
what you feel when you see one worn. Any watch can give you the
time. But they aren’t a Rolex. What captivates us about a Rolex
isn’t its function, it’s the prestige. A Rolex suggests more than
your need to tell the time. It says that you appreciate the finer
things. It shows that you have earned enough success to purchase
one. It means you are knowledgeable about the value of the
craftsmanship and precision it represents.
That is the connection you should seek to develop with your
customers. You want to deliver more value than the functional
benefits inherent in your product or service. You want your
customers to experience the extrinsic value you bring to the
relationship by being emotionally engaged throughout the buying
It Pays to Be Ethical:
A recent USA Today poll revealed that 72% of people will pay more to
use the services and products of a company they perceive to be
ethical. An easy example of this for consumer products is the
higher prices that consumers pay at eco-friendly stores like
WholeFoods. For service-based businesses, think of the movement of
customers away from the megabanks who charged hidden fees and left
customers navigating though a labyrinth of automated phone systems
to credit unions and community banks where a real person answers the
phone with a sincere interest in your situation.
These are examples of how the perception of ethical business
practices can make a difference. It reflects the impact of
emotionally satisfied customers. People feel better about
themselves when they believe they are dealing with an organization
that cares about “doing the right thing”.
By optimizing the key performance drivers of value creation,
you can successfully tap the emotional bonds of your customer
relationships. This takes the right people, the right process, the
right leadership, and the right commitment. The investment your
company makes in enabling and aligning your team with the skills,
attitudes, beliefs and values that develop loyal customers will
enrich your core business and provide new opportunities to gain
customers and market share. Stay engaged and stay ethical in your
customer relationships and you will transform your business.
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