Who am I? Permit me, please, to describe myself…
I’m better educated, more individualistic and more discriminating than my predecessors. I expect a lot more than they ever did. For example, if I call you on the phone to make any type of inquiry whatsoever, I expect you to be able to give me an answer in 10 seconds.
I expect you to be easily available for me at any time. I expect you and everyone at your company to be friendly, highly competent and knowledgeable. And, I expect all of you to stand on your heads for me when necessary. I expect you to anticipate my needs even before I become aware of them. If you know how to do this, you’ll be in a better position to keep me.
I expect you to not only know what I want, but to know what I’m willing to pay for it. And, if you cannot deliver what I want, when I want it, how I want it and at the price I’m willing to pay for it, I’ll go to one of your competitors who is working hard to entice me to give my business to them. Or, I’ll find another source on the Internet.
Selling to me is more difficult than ever. That’s because I’m more cynical and skeptical than ever. I’ve become highly suspicious as to whether you are giving me a really fair price and whether you’re going to deliver what you say you’re going to deliver when you say you’re going to deliver it, and not give me some excuse when you call to disappoint me. Besides, I thought your brand proposition said “We deliver better than…”
Yes, I’m tough. I remember when your salesperson gave a presentation at my office. The woman you sent was obviously well-trained in sales presentation skills. But, when she boasted, “We have very high levels of customer satisfaction and are known for it throughout the industry,” my response was, “Who cares?! Show me your numbers for customer retention, customer loyalty and customer advocacy! If you can boast high numbers there, I’ll be impressed!”
I gave her a tough time, but she asked me all the right questions, provided all the right answers and showed me she cared about ME more than writing up the order. So, I gave her my business, but keep this in mind: she was lucky enough to have won me over, but you better remember that I’m very demanding. I demand courtesy and respect. I want to be treated like a Stradivarius violin— precious, valuable and irreplaceable.
If I’m wrong or mistaken about something, (how could I be, I’m always right, remember?) you’d be wise to simply say, “Perhaps there’s been a misunderstanding.”
By the way, if my origin is from a country other than the great USA, I expect you to be able to communicate with me and understand that, although my culture may be different than yours, my hard-earned money is still green. I want to be treated with the same degree of importance you give to others.
If I become your customer, I never want to have to worry about a thing; I have enough worries with my business already. I’m impatient, too. Fair warning, as much as you want and need me, I can be dangerous to you. If my buying experience and every interaction with you isn’t positive, I can become your strongest critic. I think of myself as your judge and jury. And remember—I can be your executioner too. If my experience with you is not positive in every aspect of the buying experience, I’ll tell everyone about it.
On the positive side, if you do well by me, I can be your ambassador; I’ll tell other buyers about you. Just remember—I want a flawless customer experience. That requires you to have what I call, a “Sales-Service Excellence Culture,” in which everyone recognizes that they, too, impact your bottom line.
Am I being too hard on you? I don’t think so. I believe I’m doing you a favor by being blunt with you. Why? Because I rule. I’m the customer!
My advice to you is to take a good, hard look at how I’ve come to you and where we are today. You captured my attention with your smart marketing and advertising strategies, your sales rep earned my trust through consultative selling and relationship building, and I purchased. Now, you need to keep me. I hope everyone in your company realizes that without me, no one gets a paycheck. They’d better think and act as your brand ambassadors and treat me exceptionally well. If they do, I’ll keep coming back to you and send other buyers to you as well.
Look at your products and services, your systems and procedures, and most importantly, every person in your place. Then, determine the answer to this pressing question: Would you buy from YOU? TPW