What The Customer Wants

If you ask the average person, “What do you want?” you will observe a phenomenon. There will be a vague answer, and often a difficulty in articulating. Most people cannot articulate what they want from life, much less from the businesses they buy from.

Behavioral economists, like Nassim Taleb, have concluded, “We think with our emotions, and there is no way around it.” It explains how people behave. It is largely irrational. Think about smoking or obesity. There is a vast amount of logical and educational information for people to know what to do to curb these two health risks which lead to cancer and heart disease, respectively. Yet, the behaviors do not align with the logic. They are irrational.

Your customer is just like you. They buy from emotion and justify with logic. It is difficult to articulate what they want. However, they can recognize it when they see it or feel it.

Here are the things your customers want:

They want to feel special
They want you to lead
They want the most perceived value exceeding the perceived cost
They want you to care

Telling them that you are these things is meaningless. They don’t believe your claims. Helping them feel these things every time they engage your brand gives them the confidence to say, “Yes.”

They Want To Feel Special

If everything about how you engage the customer is about you and not them, then you lose. They are not thinking about you. They are thinking about themselves. They are actually thinking about themselves a lot, perhaps 90% of the time.

Making your customer feel special is an art form. Here are a few ways businesses can do this:

Personalizing system communications
Giving the perfect gift
Turning a lunch appointment into an experience
Solving a problem they care about before they ask
Helping them clarify their problem
Bringing them a customer

It takes imagination and a desire to engage. It requires careful construction of every specific piece of their pre-buying experience. Making the customer feel special is critical to helping them get what they want. They want to feel special.

They Want You To Lead

The customer does not know your business. They are thinking about their own. You fit into their world. When they come into yours, you are expected to show them how to buy. This requires leadership.

Leadership assumes you know where you are going, where they should go, and how to get them there. You are leading in every aspect of the business engagement. When they receive communications, how they should examine your product and which path to pursue is your responsibility. If it becomes the customer’s responsibility, then you lose.

This requires thinking about systems. If your customer needs knowledge to gain understanding, then your leadership should produce a content management system which you direct them to. If your customer needs to know how their application is going then you should have an automated system which emails them with detailed accomplishments and next steps.

The customer does not want to push on you. They want you to lead and direct. The touchpoints of the buying process needs to be automated. Each touchpoint should be personal and relevant. This, of course, requires planning and strategy with a focus on the buyer’s mindset.

They Want The Most Perceived Value

The price of your product or service is one part of the cost. Your customer is thinking about costs in terms of impact on their life and business, financial cost, timeliness of your work, longevity of your product and how you will handle mishaps. That is one part of their scorecard.

The other part of their scorecard is how much they get. They want to feel like they got more. By doing business with you rather than your competitor, they were lavished upon, serviced expediently, and are wowed with tangible and intangible delights.

Let’s take a car repair at the BMW dealer. If the customer is going to spend $500 with the dealer rather than 30%-50% less elsewhere, they will vote with their feet based on comments like:

“I felt like I was at a relaxing spa with refreshments. I didn’t even notice the time.”
“With the virtual office setup, I got a complete day of work done in a first class environment.”
“The music, aroma and lighting relax me when I walk in.”

Everyone gets their car repaired. Few will get an experience. Every business can give more. Most will think about how little they can give for your $500 rather than how much. Your customer wants the most value beyond your commodity and beyond their $500. Give them what they want and you will have won them.

They Want You To Care

There are always problems in life and business. If you are a problem solver, then you will be sought out. If you make your customer’s problems part of your problem, they will see that you care. If they see you care, then they will give you loyalty. It is a natural exchange of appreciation.

To care means that you are thinking about your customer’s problems and you have answers to help them. It also means that when you create problems, you make things right with the customer.

The root of care means responsibility. You and your business takes responsibility for what you do and beyond. Going beyond is what stands out to the customer.

Imagine a chiropractor’s possible relationship to her patients. If she is only focused on the patient visit, she will only have a transaction, not a relationship with her customer.

To bring more value, the chiropractor could bring more advice to her patients. Monthly free seminars which train on overall healthy living or creating an accountability system on exercise could be valuable to patients. It would take work to set up the systems and make it part of the business model. If it costs you something and the customer sees this, it speaks volumes to them. They will know that you care. You are acting in their interest in addition to your own.

Help Your Customer

You cannot tell your customer what you are. You must show them and use every process, system, and tool in your company to show them consistently. If you do it right, then your customer will give you what you want – their loyalty and referrals.

Published by Don Dalrymple

I am a management consultant to business owners, executives and entrepreneurs. I write and speak on systems, strategy and leadership on my blog and help empower business clients to achieve their goals for revenue and efficiency. I live a life of adventure and work with business clients all over the world from remote locations to help them start and grow their businesses.

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