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What do customers want?

“People don’t want to buy a quarter-inch drill. They want a quarter-inch hole!” – Theodore Levitt

It’s a perspective change that is not very easy to make. But one that is necessary to make in today’s times. All the customer centric buzzwords, technologies and applications that the C-suite is planning to unleash on the unsuspecting customer, may still fail to move the needle on customer satisfaction or CX, customer experience, to go with the new jargon, if we overlook some basics.

The fact is, it’s not about Big Data telling you your customers’ favorite color or movie star; it’s not about marketing ready with upselling or cross selling content; it’s also not about your products or service being available on mobile 24×7.

Yes, technology support is critical to providing satisfactory customer experience across multiple channels in real-time in the connected age but it’s still only an aid and not a silver bullet.

So what is it about? What does the customer want?

Of course, the answer changes from category to category, and the expectations from the customers also change but still there are universals at play here.

To begin with, customers want ‘consistent service’. That should give you cues on fine-tuning the policies and processes. Listen to them carefully, they are not asking for delightful or superlative service or experience. Their demands are much more mundane and realistic. Get and set the expectations better so that it can be met.

The other often expressed frustration is lack of information provided and the lack of knowledge on the people side. Customers expect “Knowledgeable staff”, so it’s essential to make sure training is a key area of focus in the CX era. And spruce up the self-help section on your web and other channels.

Thirdly, and by no means the last or least is, a vast majority (83% to be precise) of customers need support through the journey, especially on digital, and a growing number of people (56%) prefer ‘livechat’ as very helpful.

Having said all that, putting a smile on the face of the customer, long after the sale is done, will continue to be biggest challenge, and positive word of mouth will still be the biggest payback.


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