Thursday, April 18, 2013

What Customers Want... But Won't Tell You

We all know the "customer is always right." But did you also know that the "customer is always lying?" Maybe not so much as lying as not telling you what they're really thinking. Yes, you can put out the occasional survey to get impressions of your business but by then it might be too late to fix things.

What a customer won't tell you might end up hurting your business especially if it is keeping that customer from coming back for repeat business. Here are five things that customers wants but won't tell you up front.

They want your staff to look good.

This doesn't mean you have to hire runway models as your sales staff. However, appearances do matter. How your employees dress and groom themselves sets the tone for your business. If you're running a sports bar then tattoos, piercings and wild hair will fit right in. However, if you're selling carpet you don't want a motley crew being the face of your business. Set the dress code that is appropriate for your business and make your new hires aware of those codes before they agree to the job.

They want to matter.

When a customer walks into a store they should be greeted by a friendly staff member and asked, "How can I help you?" This lets them know that their business is appreciated. That same kind of relationship can be built through an online store. If a customer sends an email query, try to answer that right away. Hopefully, it will be a personal answer. Whenever possible, provide your customers with the opportunity to comment on your business. This can happen through social media, email survey or even directly on your website. When they feel that their business is appreciated, they'll come back for more.

They want contact.

Like it or not, we're living in a 24/7/365 type of society. Our news is around the clock. Same for our TV watching. Many big grocery and convenience stores are open 24 hours. The same can be said for gas stations, diners and doughnut shops. In other words, we're getting used to getting what we want whenever we want it. Your business needs to make the effort to appeal to that same desire of immediate satisfaction. This doesn't mean you need to keep your doors open around the clock. However, having a voice mail system where a customer can leave a message will go a long way towards providing that feeling of being open 24/7.

They want consistency.

It's difficult to image a business that won't have some level of staff turnaround. From a customer's perspective, they might have grown accustomed to working with a specific salesperson or staff member. They've built up a relationship. That's important for a loyal customer. When a change in staff occurs, try to reach out to your loyal customers and let them know what is going on and assure them they're needs will continue to be met.