All too often, you tend to come across phrases that people use and you question the meaning and why they use it. Or is this just me?
I touched on this a little in my blog Nature vs Nurture, and there’s another couple of phrases that crop up from time to time on the topic of how to treat customers:
- “Treat your customers as though they were your grandmother/mother/father*” (*delete as appropriate)
- “Treat your customers how you want to be treated”
These are great sayings, and the sentiment is absolutely right.
It’s not that they are necessarily wrong, but for me, if you dig a little deeper, at the core is a fundamental conundrum. They’re fine if your customers are exactly the same as your family member or yourself, but what if they aren’t? Human nature dictates that we’re all different – right?
If we’re all different, should we be treated the same? Or should we receive personalised service based on our own unique preferences?
Here’s a couple of stats:
- 64% of consumers stated that they want personalised offers from retail brands. [Salesforce]
- 59% of customers say that personalisation influences their shopping decision [Infosys]
- 77% of consumers have chosen, recommended, or paid more for a brand that provides a personalised service or experience [Forrester]
Customers want to be treated as individuals and, as the stats above suggests, they’re more likely to be loyal to brands that do.
So next time you hear someone say “Treat you customers…” pause for a moment and pop the killer question – “why don’t you treat them how they want to be treated?”
Excellent point, Jase. I was having a similar discussion with some colleagues the other day. The question was do you prefer self-service to the human touch? Most of us felt it depended on the situation, though there were clear differences in what people preferred.
Thanks Jeff. That’s a great point about self-service or human touch – it’s all about what the customer wants. For the record, I’m a self-service kinda guy!
I like the premise of “treat customers how they want to be treated” – rather than the way our contact centre has been set up to treat them! In practice though, that means not only having options available, but also storing customer preferences.
A simple case in point – when ordering an item click-and-collect this week, instead of the usual email or text advising me that my item was ready for collection, Wilko rang me up from the store “Hi – this is Emma – I’m just letting you know that you item is here to collect – we ‘re open from 8am and we’re looking forward to seeing you!”
I rather liked that warmth, and it was the same when I duly arrived in store. Would it work for Amazon? No. But in terms of encouraging me to buy again, and maybe pick up a few extra things in Wilko, it felt different. And that’s what ‘treating a customer’ needs to do.
Great point about options – give the customer a choice rather than ‘force’ them to fit into the organisation’s processes.