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Topic: Customer Behavior

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This question has been answered, and points have been awarded.

I Need Some Help With Customer Service Because...

Posted by Deremiah *CPE on 1096 Points
...I'm working on my second (Customer related) mini-book and I need some real serious advice about customer service. The book is targeted to help businesses to improve customer relationships. The book is written in such a way it's going to be easy to read but a valuable resource full of a wealth of ideas that helps businesses improve in this area. Thanks for any help you can offer. The three questions I needed answered yesterday are:

Q1.) How has the habits of customers changed over the last 50 years (and please feel free to elaborate.)

Q2.) Name 2 to 5 things that smart businesses are doing to improve customer relationships. (if you have more than 5 go for it)

Q3.) How can we improve branding techniques aimed at customers by corporations based on what we learn from the sports industry?

Thanks for any additional advice or ideas you feel would be helpful to me. Your Servant, Deremiah, *CPE

  • Posted on Accepted
    Go to www.danherman.com.

    down load Dan Herman's e-book "Thing-Short", and there you can find a lot of info on how customer behavior has changed
  • Posted by Deremiah *CPE on Author
    Augstra,

    As a speaker I work with corporations in the b2c market. Most of those organizations provide a tangible but in some cases an intangible product. Thanks (does that help?

    Turquiz thanks I'll check it out I've got to go and work out I will be back to check in at 9:00 central time. What do you think about Q2 & Q3? Thanks again. Is there anything I can do for you?

    Your Servant, Deremiah, *CPE
  • Posted by Deremiah *CPE on Author
    Thanks Kwinters,

    how do you all obtain the research in the banking industry? I know my bank does not send me any questionaires. Thanks again.

    Your Servant, Deremiah, *CPE
  • Posted by Nicolas on Accepted
    Hello Deremiah,

    Here are my 2 cents.

    Q1.) Customers habits changed due to larger offering (this means competition for us), i.e. choice. Remember Ford's saying about offering cars in ANY color as long as it is black? What about customized offers you now get for changing so many options on your car.

    Obviously, openness of markets and technology were the driving forces behind such wealth of choice for customers. I also feel this had a positive impact on customer perception from the point of view of organisations. And eventually led to marketing / client focused companies we now have.

    Increase of competition led to fragmented markets (with specialized / niche markets) offering very specific products and services to choose from.

    But it also led to increased pressure on companies to deliver value-added / high quality of products and services in order to outrun competition (check Jack Trout's 'Trout on Strategy' where I think he mentions that quality is no differentiating factor any longer, but a minimum to attain in order to be competitive in the current market).

    So customers have increased knowledge, more choice, more power (not always, though, check Porter's Forces Model) and they use it.

    Basically they are more conscious of what is available and of how to maximize their investments (in terms of value for money or pleasure gained from the purchase).

    Q2.) As mentioned by Kwinters I agree with:

    1- Research (customer data garnering and analysis).

    2- Building a long-term relationship with their clients (It's best to promise less and deliver more than promising more and delivering less).

    3- Part of number 2 above is also improving communication with their clients (not necessarily commercial / sales oriented communication). i.e, keep in touch with your client base on a regular basis.

    4- Build ''customer evangelism''. Following up closely on satisfied clients and turning them into evangelists for the product or service.

    Hope this helps,

    N.
  • Posted by Pepper Blue on Accepted
    HI Deremiah,


    Q1.)

    More choices, more places to buy, and most recently, middle-class consumers are seeking/demanding/expect higher quality goods/services at a lower price. What use to be a luxury item no longer is. You can go to Costco and get 2 lb. of French Brie for and a decent bottle of red each for $6.00 a piece. Previously unheard of.

    Q2.)

    1) Integrating their CRM solutions so customers see can all the way to the back-end.

    2) Providing multiple ways to get product/account information.

    3) Providing multiple help-desk options.

    4) Keeping in more frequent and constant contact through tools such as newsletters and RSS feeds.

    5) Focusing more on strengthening and deepening existing relationships.

    6) Using surveys more effectively.

    Q3.)

    One way is that the sports industry uses brand placement extensively - the Nike swoosh on a batting glove -subtle, but effective. Watch and event closely and you will see branding everywhere - from sunflower seeds to now the ballpark itself. Gone are the days of names like "Candlestick Park", unless Candlestick happens to be a MNC.

    Now corporations are doing this more and more with product and brand sponsorhip and placement on T.V. shows and movies, for example, giving away a Saturn Vue on Survivor, or offering cold Budweiser and Domino's pizza as reward challenges.

    I hope that helps.
  • Posted by Deremiah *CPE on Author
    Thanks every body,

    you're helping me to see it a little differently and that's great.

    Kwinters, Nicolas, Pepper Blue how do you all on an individual level interact with your customers on a daily basis to secure that "warm and fuzzy" I like the way you treat me as a customer feeling?

    Do you think a very good part of what we are seeing in superior customer relations makes people respond emotionally? and why?

    Thanks so much. Your Servant, Deremiah, *CPE
  • Posted by Deremiah *CPE on Author
    Nicolas,

    What do you have to say about Q3? Do you see some other ways...maybe differently than Pepper Blue who shared some interesting observations on sports branding and how it might influence corporations to do a better job of branding? Thanks for your wonderful input and sharing some great ideas with me to help me become a better customer servant!

    Your Servant, Deremiah, *CPE
  • Posted by Nicolas on Accepted
    Deremiah,

    I ommitted Q3 on purpose - should have mentioned that - since I do not have enough expertise in that area.

    As for your previous question:

    "how do you all on an individual level interact with your customers on a daily basis to secure that "warm and fuzzy" I like the way you treat me as a customer feeling?"

    I believe in building a long-term relationship based on trust and professional services with our clients. Always keeping a contact (even / especially if no sales are in view!) and helping out volontarily the client when we find out / believe he might be facing a problem.

    Remember that story I heard / read about a CEO who took some time everyday to call up some clients. He would simply inquire about their satisfaction or lack of it and in that case promise to handle the issue himself. This sure made the client feel important and it surely increased the positive image the client had about the company.

    Hope this helps,

    N.
  • Posted by Deremiah *CPE on Author
    Jim Deveau/Catalyst,

    Thanks for contributing your valuable commentary on this question. Your input about "misleading the customer" really caught my eye. Jim what do you think are some of the other ways that corporations having good intentions mislead the customer? You've got me curious.

    And how do you give that immediate feeling of importance when you first meet a customer and how do you manage to maintain that throughout the life of a project? I ask this Jim because a lot of companies I've had a chance to observe lack the ability to hang in there with a client...you know I mean for the long haul? I'm sure this has contributed greatly to customer fall-out. It also seems like a lot of organizations will not listen closely to what their customers are saying. Thanks again for your time.

    Your Servant, Deremiah, *CPE
  • Posted by Deremiah *CPE on Author
    Nicolas,

    Thanks for everything especially the story. That says it all. Nothing beats the personal touch and holding on to that is an important part of the customer service experience. Isn't that part of what we're trying to create anyway "An Experience" that the customer joyfully remembers. You've been a real trooper Nicolas. Thanks!

    Your Servant, Deremiah, *CPE
  • Posted by Deremiah *CPE on Author
    Kevin,

    This is very helpful and also may lend an interesting insight to why small is good but on the flip side if larger companies can apply that small town feel they can get the same results. Again the customer is King! Thanks.

    Does anybody out there work with a large business but their applying the small town touch that Kwinters is using?

    Your Servant, Deremiah, *CPE "Keep it coming"
  • Posted by Deremiah *CPE on Author
    Kevin,

    I sincerely agree with you and I think your observation has touched on something very key in great customer service relationships.

    There is a difference between doing your job and serving the real interest of the customer. One falls in love with the customer the other falls in love with the customers money. When my wife and I were consultants with Mary Kay the first thing we learned from the top Pink Cadillac driving consultants was that you never approach a customer with dollar signs in your eyes. From those who care about the person we find a more geniune heart felt concern for wanting to meet the customers needs and a deep desire to want to show empathy towards the customer struggles with the company.

    The real customer servant makes repairs in the breech and restores the wounded customer back to the company with a stronger conviction in the customer that the company really cares. Thanks KingWinters you're right on!

    Your Servant, Deremiah, *CPE
  • Posted by Deremiah *CPE on Author
    Frances,

    I'm so glad you joined us today to share. Your input helps to continue the dialogue in a way that expands the panoramic view a little more so that we can get a broader perspective. Thanks Frances. And I agree that being geniune is crucial and avoiding anything that says fake is what great customer relationships are about. I won't ask you to answer the other questions because you're just keeping it real but I would like to ask you this. How do companies avoid coming across fake when their goal is really to be more geniune? Thanks.

    (((Stay Tuned)))...I will be back around 5:00 pm central. (sorry) I've got about 11 boys who I mentor that I promised I would take swimming today and I want to provide great customer service by over delivering. Thanks everyone and "Keep it coming". There is so much more everyone needs to share that I believe will make all of our businesses just take off! Who knows this might help me began to focus on the ideas for my Third mini-book "Serving Your Way To Success". Thanks everybody.

    Your Servant, Deremiah, *CPE
  • Posted by Deremiah *CPE on Author
    Cal,

    I like how you start out and I'll be back in a couple to read your details. I'm sure it's going to be great.

    (((Stay Tuned))) When I get back is there anything needs help with where they feel I can better serve them? I'm sure if you think hard enough you can. Read my profile and then think how I might help you.

    Your Servant, Deremiah, *CPE
  • Posted by jcmedinave on Accepted
    Customer changes:

    1. They have more alternatives, so they increase their power.

    2. They can quickly compare the different alternatives, so they choose the better (low cost, high benefits).

    3. The brand loyalty is reducing more and more, so it is difficult to maintain the customers.

    4. They are buying more and more experiences, instead of Products.

    5. They are more disposals to changes and innovations.

    What to do?

    1. Develop the Customer Relations and involved their emotions.

    2. Be in continuing touch, and visualize the customer changes.

    3. Develop the 4 R's in the business: Customer Relations, Customer Referrals, Service Reposition, Customer Retention.

    4. Develop the business proposition advantages.

    5. Focus on the customer experience.

    6. Be in continuing changing, and flexible, awareness, training, innovative, disposal.

    7. Hire the people who likes to serve and be in continuing evolution.

    8. Train and develop the emotional intelligence, the creativity, and the strategy.

    Some thoughts,

    Juan Carlos
  • Posted by Deremiah *CPE on Author
    (((We made it back)))

    And I'm still alive. Imagine chaperoning 11 boys of Puerto-Rican, Mexican, White and Black American background at a swimming pool and this can be rough. Now throw about 98 girls in the mix and you've got a mind blowing experience. I know you'll enjoy this and it does have a little to do with customer relationships. Were at the pool, boys have changed and are about to get in the pool when one of the boys ask me for a pen. I'm thinking were about to go swimming what does he need a pen for? and he says to take down a few girls phone numbers. The nerve of the male ego.

    Well Cal, got your message and I thought great input, great ideas and you're broadening the picture, offering deeper insight when you remind us that customers live in a world of "External Stimulation" that comes from the entertaining world of:

    Tv sets
    Video Games

    Here's a couple of more to add to the list...

    Movies (the new temples of America)
    Video Players (as if watching the movies just is not enough boredom sets in and you make your own home videos)
    Computers (like "Calgon, Take me away")
    CD Players
    Video Players

    and the list goes on (Please help me add to the list of external stimulating entertaining gizmos- add it here or send me an email...See my profile please)

    Good input Cal (Great input from Beckwith's book)

    Cal
    Sure Cal your my customer and as long as you're dealing with this question I'm going to give you an answer. I think Beckwith is right on point. "Peace of Mind" is one of the greatest selling points that you and I can focus on as we deal with customers. And "Comfort" helps to stimulate the great feeling we get from putting fears at rest and bringing on the emotional "Peace of Mind" state of being we all inwardly seek. Even your answers to my question are bringing comfort. Reaffirming for our internal customers of KHE and our external clients of KHE our need to be comforted.

    Everyones answers are putting to rest the unknown internal questions we all have been asking ourselves without real resolution because sometimes we just can't find all the answers while searching our own psyches. As Benjamin Franklin believed we are social beings who need to be reaffirmed. We need clubs and groups to associate with. That's the comfort that Harley riders get when they buy a Harley. Great bit of insight you shared Cal.

    Now what do you think? Is Beckwith on to something and why do you think he is?

    Thanks Cal with such a great answer... Is there anything I can do for you? Seriously. How can I help you expand your business? How can I refer one more customer to you from my customer base that might be interested in what you do? How can we work together on a Project that might help us both know the comfort of great customer service? How can we pursue the belief that Benjamin Franklin believed in about the Junta?

    Your Servant, Deremiah, *CPE
  • Posted by Deremiah *CPE on Author
    Excellent list Juan!

    You sound like you have a lot of experience looking at the customers point of view. I expecially enjoyed this one below.

    Juan< 4. They are buying more and more experiences, instead of Products.

    What do you mean by that and Why do you feel this way?

    Juan why are experiences so important that customers are choosing that as a focus over isolating their purchasing decisions exclusively around the product? Is this like the chicken and the egg concept where we struggle with "which came first"?

    I would love to hear you share your thoughts on this. Would you please offer us the pleasure of hearing you passionately share a few thoughts about some of the answers you list?

    Surely you've have got to have some pretty interesting insights just looking at your background and even the country you come out of which is different than America. And how can I serve you better my friend? What can I do for you today?

    Your Servant, Deremiah, *CPE
  • Posted by Deremiah *CPE on Author
    Hey Cal,

    shoot me an email tell me exactly what a concept research and design specialist is and explain it to me like I'm a six year old. I'm sure once I know better what you do I will have at least one to up to three cilents who would quite possibly use your area of speciality. I know your plate is full right now but later on is creeping up on you.

    cal> Do you have the time? I 'googled' you a bit on the net. You seem like a busy guy!

    Deremiah> So did Benjamin Franklin! but that's part of the persona of creating a *GB "Great Brand". When people think that you're really busy you gain *EBR "Elite Brand Recognition" this puts you in the category of a "rare commidity" and so people are prepared to pay more to get you on their team :-)

    Cal you shouldn't have googled me. I told Google I'm trying to keep my profile low keyed. I'm a "Free Agent" *Customer Passion Evangelist now and I don't want people to think I'm too busy to work on hundreds of projects at the same time while working on theirs. So Cal send me the email at my profile and let's talk like we're long lost brothers who were seperated at birth. After you send me an email I'll give you my phone number and we can Rapp. I'll make you proud you did. Now promise me you want tell anybody I'm on Google...Okay, "It's a secret".

    Cal the Junta was a modern day network group founded by Franklin to create ties with serious business connections. It's the same thing author of Think and Grow Rich, Napolean Hill called a "Mastermind" group. Now mind you the mastermind group is just a bunch of bruthers and sistahs like you and me, Jett, Jbtron, Pepper Blue, Frances, Val and Michelle including all the other KHE members who like meeting at a certain spot rapping about our challenges and what were learning but at the same time sharing business contacts while making a living.

    Finally if your research and my background have something in common I want to let you know right now I'm truly interested so please send me an email with some general details and Keep it to the point because I know your're busy. Well it's been a great time and "Hey has anybody seen Jett with a full blown beard holding some crazye looking signs. If you see him please tell him to shave. Thanks so much.

    Your Servant, Deremiah, *CPE
  • Posted by Deremiah *CPE on Author
    Cal,

    What I see is that it fits into the external stimulation category real well but not the entertaining gizmos. look forward to your response and the value everyone is bringing to the table. Remember "keep it coming" till I head to Disney World on Saturday.

    Your Servant, Deremiah, *CPE
  • Posted by Deremiah *CPE on Author
    Thanks for contributing to my thought life helping me get to the proper resources, ideas and experiences of real life in the most convenient fashion. Your ideas will help me to go to the next level in my career as I strive to create some of the most compelling, "out of the box" and customer servant ideas shared from a customer advocate position. Thanks for stimulating me and causing me to see some of the most important customer service concepts. This is very relevant information for my follow up book on Customer Service.You guys are the greatest. Now I'm going to Disney World where I will explore some of the methods that make Disney customers smile, laugh and most of all come back again and again. Is there anything else I can do for any of you?

    Your Servant, Deremiah, *CPE

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