Think about it: when someone you trust recommends a product you check it out because you trust the source of the recommendation. But if that same product was recommended by someone you don’t trust or like, you’ll ignore the recommendation. That’s why companies need to stop trying so hard to sell products and they should focus on earning their customers’ trust.
I believe that what makes successful companies successful is that they think what’s best for their customers as opposed to what’s best for them. This doesn’t mean they don’t look after themselves, but they put their customers first and this makes all the difference. The problem is that every company in the world thinks they put their customers first but this really isn’t the case.
An entrepreneur once told me “I don’t show pricing information on my website because I want my customer to call me so I can sell them more expensive products.” My question to him was, “if you were a customer, would you buy from a company that hides information from you so you have to buy more expensive items?”
Another business owner once confessed to me that she didn’t include a phone number on her website because she didn’t want her customer calling her. She wasn’t very happy when I asked her if she’d buy from a company that doesn’t want to talk to her.
I believe that companies should be obsessed about creating the best possible shopping experience for their customers, and then figure out a way to take care of their own needs. The good news is that if you take great care of your customers, you’ll earn their loyalty and referrals for years to come.
A few years ago, I remember reading an article about how the Internet was going to make customer loyalty disappear. But Google and social media completely changed the game. If your customer service sucks, people will find out. Bad reviews will pop up on Google when customers research your company, and people will be bashing you in social media sites.
Last year we were contacted by a company that needed help “cleaning up” their online reputation. When we did a little research, their customers were complaining about being put on hold for 20 minutes when they called them. This company wanted these reviews “removed” (as if this was even possible.) When I asked them what they were doing to address the long waiting times at his call center he said “we’ll take care of that. For now, let’s make sure we get these bad reviews “removed.” Needless to say, we turned this company down.
What if you spend more time taking care of your existing customers? Would your customers be happier? Would they keep giving you their business? Would they spend more, come back more often and recommend you to their friends?
The world has changed dramatically in the last 15 years. Consumers are smarter than ever. They can tell what companies care more about their bottom line than their customers. And they talk loud and clear. Maybe it’s time to re-think your marketing. Maybe it’s time to make it easy for customers to buy in their terms as opposed to sell them what you want them to buy. Maybe it’s time we realize that the power shifted from companies to consumers, and that companies that ignore this will be out of business. It’s just a matter of time.
Tags: what customers want