Top 5 – How You Can Really Put Your Customer First

Customer ServiceCan you honestly say you and your organisation put its customers first or are your customers jockeying for position with their close cousins Profit and Return on Investment?

Most of us actually know exactly how to put the customer first but we a thrown off course by competing objectives further up the organisational hierarchy with executives who are blinkered by the ‘numbers’ that need to be achieved for shareholders or senior management to grant a ‘win’.

There is a school of thought that says you actually can have both, you can look after your customers and in turn hit your numbers and whilst it sounds like utopia some organisations have charged out of the gates and have hit their stride looking for a 1st place result. Such companies (and some of these will surprise you) include McDonald’s, which has expanded its healthier fare and dollar menu ; Amazon.com offers free shipping on orders over $25 in the USA and on all orders for prime customers. TATA Motors in India has emerged as the most reputed company in India in a survey by Neilsen for the service levels they offer, product quality, financial performance and talent pool.

The ancient law of Karma says you must give to receive, so this week we weigh in with our neatly packaged Top 5 On How You Can Put Your Customer First.  As you read on keep on mind both your external customers and your internal customers!

1.  Listen
We hear of so many cases were organisations with the very best of intentions look to create products and services that will attract and delight their customer, unfortunately for many they forget to ask the very people they are trying to please…….the customer.  There are many ways to engage the customer to find out what they want when considering your products or services but none as compelling as a series of focus groups which focus on finding out just what your customers want from your products and or services but also from you and your organisation. True success comes when an organisation successfully interprets what the customer wants and implements it in to the organisation.

2.  Evolve
Remember the big stink about online shopping and how so many heads of organisations famously said it would never be a threat to traditional brick and mortar companies? Companies like David Jones and Harvey Norman who were too slow to evolve along with this new emerging market soon lost market share and were sent scrambling to make up for lost business and frustrated customers.

3.  Look after your staff
This is an interesting idea gleaned from a www.forbes.com contributor Karl Moore who was interviewing Vineet Nayar, CEO of HCL Technologies,  one of the largest I.T. outsourcing firms in the world. Vineet argues that how it got to be one of the world’s largest IT firms is by putting employees first and customers second.  Sounds radical, but when he explains, it makes sense.  He believes that when you look after your employees first they will willingly take care of your customer.

4.  Do the work for them
People are busy and they do not have enough time in their day to work out what you as an organisation are trying to sell or want them to buy. There is nothing more frustrating than logging on to a website or opening up a new piece of hardware and thinking ‘Well what now?’.  SPELL IT OUT, for example, “Our website does this…” or “Here is a very easy to understand manual to get your new hardware operating in minutes.”  You have to make it easy for them, by lowering their frustration and anxiety you can hang on to them longer.

5.  Understand Value from their perspective
This is a very simple idea and really goes back to point number 1, it is only of value if the customer thinks it is.  Treat your customer with respect, they have a lot of resources at their disposal if it isn’t of value to the customer no amount of spruiking will change their minds.

Make it to the winners podium, put your customers first!  Happening People has helped hundreds of organisations make a stronger connection with their customers with their award winning Customer Service Professional Development Programs and Consulting.   Call Happening People on 1800 68 67 69 or go to www.HappeningPeople.com

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