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April 2011


The Only Two Things People Ever Buy

We all have customers, and our need to serve them effectively is growing with each passing day.   To do this, we must recognize "the only two things people ever buy."  Good feelings and solutions to problems, per customer service expert and author Michael LeBoeuf, Ph.D.

We must begin to translate our goods and services into the good feelings and solutions to problems that they represent to our customers.  If you can't accurately quantify these, then ask your best customers - they know why they purchase your wares, and they will tell you (if you ask).

Want to develop better customer service methods?  Try these strategies.

Key Strategies

1. How much do you know about your customers?

Remember, knowing something about your customer is just as important as knowing everything about your product.  You must learn what your customer really wants.  Not just what style or color, but why that style, what is it about that color which means something personal to the individual customer.  You must learn why those good feelings are important to them personally, and what those solutions to problems will do for them.

2. Study Your Competitors

After you have learned why your present customers are buying from you now, then you must ask your prospective customers what "good feelings and solutions to problems" their present suppliers are providing.  Then ask your present customers what feelings and solutions are most attractive in your competitors' offerings.

3. Conduct An Honest Survey

You need to determine how you are doing at serving your customers.  It is not enough to ask them in person - most of them like you too much to tell you bad news.  Conduct an honest, paper-and-pencil, anonymous survey.  

Remember to offer an incentive to respond, give them a reason to help you (gift certificates, movie tickets, small tokens of appreciation, discounts on purchases, etc.).  Yes, I am suggesting that you buy their answers (how else did you think you were going to get them?).

Then implement honest, well communicated programs to correct the problems identified in the survey results.

4. The Final Test

Are you guaranteeing these good feelings and solutions to problems will still exist after the customer gets home?  Are your staff members empowered to make decisions in the customer's favor without going through seven layers of management approval?  Implement a no-hassle, no-questions-asked return policy.



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