Serving the King

Published on 13th November 2007

In any business, the customer is said to be ‘king’ and is always reputed to be right. When one designs a product, it is tailored to meet the consumer’s need. However, as consumers become  loyal or frequent buyers in a store – their needs seem to change with time demand ‘better’ services without necessarily paying more. Customer Care – the provision of service to customers before, during and after a purchase – varies by product, industry and customer. The dynamic nature of consumers cushions them from arising changes in industry and product, leaving the business person in a dilemma.

Customers will criticize your company for poor service, poor workmanship or just being inconsiderate. In many an instance, such allegations are never justified but are often a product of the customers’ mood, emotions and other factors. Despite conventional wisdom, the customer isn’t always right. Sometimes the customer is right, sometimes the company is right, and sometimes the answer falls somewhere in-between.

While business people ought to be preoccupied with consumerism – the promotion or protection of the interest of the consumers – it should be noted that they also need to take care of expenses involved in customer satisfaction. To understand the business environment, one needs to integrate simplicity and complexity. One has to understand the concept clearly by monitoring consumer behavior and preferences on one hand and deliver products and services to the satisfaction of the customers on the other. There is need to monitor population demographics, cost of sales, population size and keep a noose on the various overheads involved. For a business to succeed, one needs to interact closely with the consumers, employees and suppliers.

The consumer never bothers about other parties. He wants his needs to be met. Any excuses, however genuine, are termed as failure to offer the product or render the service in question. The scenario gets juicy when the same customer opts for another service provider only to come back on realization that he had literally jumped from the frying pan into the fire. He finally realizes he wasn’t right after all.   

The challenges of dealing with difficult customers are pretty obvious. Less obvious are the opportunities presented by these same customers. Customers  can be angry, irrational or improper. Studies show that complaining customers who have been satisfied become more loyal than those who never complained at all. Therein lies a golden opportunity for you, the chance to transform tough times into lasting loyalty. 

Dealing with demanding or otherwise rude customers is a common occurrence in any industry and should be handled as a recipe (not a challenge) for better services. An expert customer might require less pre-purchase service (that is advice) than a novice. After taking the novice through a ‘learning process’, they are able to appreciate the service delivery offered by your store, thereby building consumer loyalty.

In many cases, customers tend to forgive organisations that acknowledge and apologize for their mistakes. Taking responsibility for mistakes and correcting them is an important aspect of good customer service. When a customer experiences poor service and is ignored, the customer is less likely to return.  

A successful business is one that builds on customer care as a tool for proper service delivery. It is a customers’ satisfaction that matters in building lasting business relations.

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