It’s one of the words we hear every day. We say this company has excellent customer service. That organization has a terrible customer orientation. So it may be a good idea to see what it is and what does it mean?
Let me explain this by using an example. If a car factory does its duty correctly, it means:
1- Deliver us a healthy car
2- Deliver the car with the exact color and model we want
3- Deliver the car in time
4- And there is no need for us to seek for it.
In some countries, they say the company has proper customer orientation. But the only thing they did was the things they had promised. Nothing more!
If we can use customer care instead of customer orientation (taking care of the customers and keeping them), there will be a new definition for it:
Fulfilling customer’s indeterminate needs
Fulfilling indeterminate needs has a particular meaning. Clear needs mean the needs that the company has to service the car or any other product they have but indeterminate needs mean the needs that are not our concern, such as:
1- Meeting customer’s side needs
2- Respecting human personality
3- Facilitating the process of activities
4- And so on.
For example, if you have an insurance office and your customer asks you where to find the repair shop, you have to do your best to help him find it. This way you can fulfill his general need.
One of the main principles of customer orientation is the first impression. It’s essential to know how to communicate with your customer for the first time. (see this article: how to talk to the customers?)
Most people see the first impression as a key to continue the conversation and relationship.
So be careful:
1- How you approach a customer?
2- How you say your greetings?
3- How are your clothes?
4- How well your vitrine is?
5- How you make eye contact with the customer?
6- Are you smiling?
These items are the least of communicating with the costumer and very essential in customer service.
An extraordinary experience in a plane
One of the reasons that made me write this article was an exciting event that happened on a plane. The crew was perfect, and they smiled all the time and took care of all the passengers in the same way. They honored me with their behavior when they saw me and made me experience a perfect flight because I use planes a lot due to my career and I haven’t seen much of this attitude.
The customer is not always right in modern customer service!
We all heard this phrase, but I have to say I don’t believe it. We have talked about this before in “is the customer always right?“, But if I want to explain a brief version of it: the customer is not always right. Sometimes the customer desire is unjust and absurd, but we must satisfy him, and instead of rejecting his request, we accept it while we don’t feel comfortable at the same time.
Customer care and dealing with unsatisfied customers
What matters in dealing with unhappy customers as we talked about it, is that most of our rivals can’t make their unsatisfied customers happy so If we can do it we will see its perfect result.
Common mistakes in customer service
One of our mistakes is that we expect anyone who enters our shop or contact us to buy something. The customers have the right to decide whether they want to purchase something here or somewhere else.
For example, sometimes we see a board or a paper on the wall of the stores that says: if you don’t intend to buy something, stop wandering around.
Imagine you enter a shop and face this writing. Would you want to check the products and buy something?
I suggest you consider this statement instead of that:
Even if you don’t intend to buy anything, we’d be glad if you take a look at our store!
These two sentences are very different and believe me, this way there is no way someone enters your store and leave without buying anything.
You have to note that this statement is not suitable for all businesses. Sometimes we have to decide what creative way we can do to persuade customers, and it depends on what business we have and what will attract customers to our brand and products.
Customer care doesn’t mean anything if there is no quality!
If your product and service don’t have a good quality or you don’t try to make it better, there is no need to be concerned about customer care; otherwise, it will only mean flattery.
The importance of customer service
Karen Leland sees the employee’s apathy the most critical factor for customers’ dissatisfaction in her book “customer service for dummies.”
Customer service principles
1- No one has to buy from us. We have to respect the buyers. No matter what.
2- Our first duty is to be a counselor and then a seller.
3- Attracting customers is more comfortable than keeping them and keeping customers is easier than satisfying them.
4- We have to be an optimist about the customers as much as we can. We don’t have to judge them.
5- Sellers shouldn’t treat the customers differently. They are all the same.
6- We have to keep our promises, so we need to avoid promising, or if we do, we have to keep that promise.
7- A customer is a human first, so he/she has all the rights that a human has.
Customer care in a difficult situation
One day I had to catch a flight to another city because I had a presentation there. When we were so close to that town, the pilot announced that he doesn’t have a good vision and it’s best if we go back to the capital.
Suddenly all the passengers got nervous, angry and stressed. Some of them had to travel like me because they had a job to do and they became so mad that started shouting at the flight attendants and said: you could have told us then, not now that we are so close to our destination.
One flight attendant said: it’s not our responsibility. The weather got bad, and it’s not our fault.
The pilot and other flight attendants said somethings too. It was real chaos, but the most interesting thing was that one of the flight attendants started talking to that angry passenger and explained why the pilot is really doing this.
Sometimes, we become mad because no one brings us a logical reason.
The flight attendant said: I understand your concern and I am deeply sorry, but the truth is that four years ago, the same flight to this town dealt with the same issue but the pilot tried so hard to get the passengers to the city that it crashed, and 80 people died. This time we won’t risk it because we care about your life more than anything else.
Then he pointed out to the other flight attendant to give the passenger water. He was very gentle, kind and polite. The passengers accepted this fact then and even apologized for shouting and making chaos.
This story has three lessons:
1- Be polite and kind when you answer to the criticism.
2- Apologize even if it’s not your fault. Apologies can end the discussion and debate.
3- Explain the reasons for the negative or positive event to your customers.
What will happen if we are not customer oriented?
I have to say that nothing will happen, but it has long-term consequences. You gradually lose your customers, and your rivals who take customer orientation seriously can attract more customers.
Selling and marketing research shows that people go shopping for its joy mostly and there is no joy if there is no customer service. It means you can never make your customer happy if you are not polite, kind and good-tempered. So if you are not a customer oriented, you’ll lose your customers one by one. And whoever buys from you, would be her/his last time.
A key technique to customer orientation
It’s your artistic creativity that attracts customers. You have to know customers’ needs and desires, and you need to know what makes them happy.
For example, imagine someone telling this to his customers instead of threatening and prohibition:
Please, touch the products, it’ okay.
Now it’s up to you how to treat your customers:
Your rush doesn’t concern me.
This is a statement a stationary store wrote on a piece of paper, and he doesn’t care that students have tests, school and so on and they need to hurry in buying these stuff.
Some suicidal actions in customer orientation
– Breaking promises in delivery date
– Lying about the quality of the product
– Treat caring for the customers only when we are sure they want to buy from us.