thinking like a customer

thinking like a customer

Pretending to be Customer-Centered

By on February 22, 2012

My vacation last week allowed me the opportunity to compare two organizations with almost identical products, services and pricing. Yet one came across to its customers as completely product-centered while the other was very customer-centered. How were they different?

The product-centered organization entirely cared about selling. Sure, they were courteous and attempted to find common ground with their customers—favorite cities, sports teams, other interests. It was one-dimensional, however. The customer was strictly a “necessary evil” that had to be processed according to their internal procedures, and then forgotten after the sale.

The customer-centered group cared about the customer’s success. As a result, they asked lots of questions in order to be certain they had identified each customer’s needs. Because of that up-front work, they could customize their service offering to deliver the best value. The culture of this organization was obviously focused on the relationship with every customer much more than single transactions. Ironically, the second group earned the sale to my family because they demonstrated much better overall value.Seesaw_lrg

The paradox is that companies who focus on the sales process are less successful overall than those who put customer needs first. Would the first group that I mentioned have told you they were customer-centered? Of course, they would. But, you can’t call your organization customer-centric if you see-saw back and forth between product-centered and occasionally adding a little customer-friendliness. Being customer-centered is intentional.

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One Response to “Pretending to be Customer-Centered”

  1. Love this article Bill. It gives some great examples of how to be intentional customer centric.
    1. Ask questions to discover how you can server your customers better
    2. Provide value only after you understand what that means to your customers
    3. Look at the customer relationship as a long term one not a single transaction
    4. You can really feel when someone is caring about the outcome for you rather than trying to make the sale.
    Look forward to having you on my podcast soon!

    Dan

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