Welcome to the Monthly Mash, a mashup of tools, tales and tips on customer service and the customer experience from around the blogosphere.
Volume 16: February 2013
Thoughts on the Customer: Knowing Your Customer’s Why
Do you know why your customer is doing business with you? I ask the question in the singular because that is how our customers come to us, as individuals, people with their own motivations and desires.
Of course, in business we get so entrenched in demographic and psychographic data that it is easy to forget that individuals are behind each purchasing decision. Not every female, aged 25-45 who works out twice a week and reads Self magazine buys your product for the same reason.
In logic, it is called the ecological fallacy — extrapolating the characteristics of the group to the individual.
Why is why important? Let’s say you have an ice cream shop. Why do people do business with you?
“Well,” you say, “I sell ice cream. Everyone loves ice cream.”
Then when business is down, you blame the unseasonably cold weather or the fact that the sandwich shop down the street just installed an ice cream machine.
But if you knew the why behind your customers, you might find out that a large percentage of them are grandparents who like your classic ice cream shop feel. They don’t care about the ice cream; they feel comfortable in your environment.
Business is down because you haven’t trained the teenagers on your staff properly. They are not being respectful nor are they taking their jobs seriously, and your older patrons (and their grandchildren) are being turned away.
The first step in designing an incredible customer experience is knowing why your customers are there in the first place. In most businesses, we will never know the why of each individual customer, but in trying to learn, we can discover more about our customers and our businesses than we ever knew before.
The Month in Customer Service Blogging
A collection of the best posts about customer service and the customer experience I read this past month.
- Small Businesses Use Customer Service to Compete – Smaller businesses use experience and expertise to find competitive advantage over big box stores.
- Every Mistake Is An Opportunity to Surprise and Delight – An amazing service recovery that proves you don’t have to be The Ritz-Carlton to provide great service recovery.
- How To Deal with Bad Customer Service – Warning: this is not what you would expect…
- Dear Chobani: I Love You – Forget about companies ignoring Tweets – Chobani makes this customer part of its marketing team.
- How to Really Listen to Your Customers – “Flexibility in business begins with listening–really listening–to your customers so you can match their desires with your capabilities…”
- Learning By Doing – A great post, more about general experience than customer experience, but the techniques still apply…
- What Is Customer Loyalty? Part 1 – Awhile back, we took a stab at defining customer loyalty. In this series, Dr. Bob Hayes takes a more measured, academic approach to the question.
- Is Your Customer Loyal To You or Your Price? – An excellent look at why businesses should ask themselves this question.
- Publix Takes Top Spot On Temkin Customer Service List – A little love for Central Florida here. Our local grocery chain’s slogan, “Where Shopping is a Pleasure” is now official.
- The 31 Excuses Leaders Use To Avoid Understanding Their Customers (And How To Get Rid Of Them) - Interesting look at the excuses executives use to avoid confronting the increased power of consumers in today’s marketplace.
- 6 Customer Service Tips I Learned From ‘Tommy Boy’ – While watching Chris Farley mutilate a dinner roll is hilarious, there are some good customer service tips tucked into this post. Enjoy!
- 2013’s New Need-to-Know Online Customer Service Statistics – New statistics on what customers want and need from social customer service.
Someone Was Listening
Sometimes the most popular post from the previous month; sometimes just the one I liked best.
This month has been the most challenging yet to make a choice for this section, and that is a good thing! We had a number of posts that generated a strong reaction this month, and it was gratifying to see. In the end, I recommend Are You Renting Customers Space In Your Head, which deals with the subject of letting negative customers impact outlook and performance. This post seemed to touch a nerve, but atypically much of the action was on social media and not in the comment section. Check it out!