The economic vitality of a small town absolutely depends on the quality of products and the customer service offered by every business in the community.
Most business organizations say they are customer focused, but is that a desire or an actual fact? There is a lot of talk about customer service and yet many customers do not feel they are really being taken care of. In today's highly competitive environment, the customer is king and you should be the valued servant. This is especially important in a small town so the locals will not travel to a larger city to get their needs met.
If you plan on staying in business in today's tough business environment you must focus your energy on serving customers so that the value you create is fundamental to their success. You must listen to them and understand their problems, needs, and desires like no one else. Having listened, you must then apply your knowledge and expertise, making it possible for your customers to be 100 percent satisfied. “All employees” must understand the important contribution they make in this partnership with your customers.
To help focus and align your thinking and actions, and in order to expect and correctly react towards building both a “perceived and an actual customer value proposition,” you and indeed every member of your organization, must be able to answer the following questions with a big yes!
1. Do I deliver what I promise?
2. Do I expect my customer's needs?
3. Do I proactively listen to the customer?
4. Do I proactively seek to meet the needs of my customer?
5. Do I provide customers with what is required for their satisfaction and success?
6. Do I create new and unique products and services that will benefit the customer?
7. Do I seek to understand my customer's problems, needs, and concerns?
8. Do I constantly develop solutions that solve the customer's problems?
9. Do I outperform the competition?
10. Do I encourage customers to recommend my products and services to others?
11. Do I continuously work on improving my relationship with my customers?
12. Do I continuously make it easy for my customers to do business with me?
Customer-value focus is essential, because it is the reason why your service or company can stay in business. Without the customers seeing and buying the value of your knowledge, products, and services, they may not see the need to return or recommend your business to others. In the eyes of the customer, do you really outperform the competition?
The action of delivering what is promised speaks to the idea of commitment. Commitment to the customer is essential in building a customer focused relationship. Relationship building leads to a better understanding and an anticipation of what your customers need and the products and services they are seeking for their future success or enjoyment. By understanding the specific customer needs, you are better prepared to create new and unique products and services that will benefit the customer.
It is very important to understand that customers buy your products and service for their reasons, not yours. This is why you must walk in their shoes, understand what problem the customer wants solved, and proactively seek to meet your customers' needs. You must help the customer connect your knowledge, products, service, and solutions to their problem or need.
When you truly walk in the shoes of the customer, you then begin to see how you are perceived from the outside, looking in. Are you easy to do business with? As an example, can the customer call one place and get whatever they need – from the purchase of a product and service, to having a problem solved?
Does your attitude and body language convey a genuine exclusion when solving a customer problem? What do you say and how do you act when you do not have what the customer needs or wants or the customer needs or wants something you can not provide? Finally, do your personal actions demonstrate the fabric of your collective customer awareness?
When you begin to honestly answer the questions provided, you gain the insight and knowledge required to take specific actions to shape your customers' present and future needs. That is what customer-value focus and service is all about. If you and members of your organization can not answer yes to all of the questions posed in this article, then there is room for improvement to better serve your customers.
Remember, going the extra mile to serve the customer who pays you for your service will pay off, and the appellation and appreciation they return is the extra satisfaction you earn when truly satisfying the customer.