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UNDERSTANDING CUSTOMER NEEDS FOR EXCELLENT CUSTOMER SERVICE

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UNDERSTANDING CUSTOMER NEEDS FOR EXCELLENT CUSTOMER SERVICE

In today’s dynamic marketplace, where competition is fierce and options abound, providing excellent customer service is not just a bonus—it’s a necessity for businesses aiming to thrive. At the heart of exceptional customer service lies a deep understanding of customers’ needs. However, before we delve into the main topic, it is essential we know who a customer is. “A customer is an individual with unique preferences, desires, and expectations, seeking solutions to their problems or fulfilling their desires through the products or services offered by a company”.

Have you ever asked yourself why customers are referred to as ‘kings’ in business? More often than not, customers are the reason for the sustainability of any business. They hold the power because they bring money to the business and businesses need money to survive. That is why they determine the success or failure of a business. Oftentimes, customers come with expectations that need to be met and I leverage a simple analogy involving a student and a teacher to gain deeper insights. Think of it this way: when a teacher stands in front of a class, it might seem like they’re the one in charge, right? But actually, it is the students who hold the real power. This is because without students showing up to learn, the teacher’s knowledge doesn’t go anywhere. It’s like having a map and no one to follow it. The students, by being there and wanting to learn, are the ones who make the teaching and learning process work. They’re the king because without them, the teacher wouldn’t have anyone to teach and thus won’t be remunerated. Satisfying customers isn’t just about making a sale—it’s about building lasting relationships and fostering brand loyalty.

How do we build this lasting relationship and foster brand loyalty? This is simply by knowing what customers really want. Customers want to be respected, appreciated for their patronage; they want to be treated fairly without being manipulated in any way. They love to be abreast of every stage of transaction; they seek quality products or services that efficiently fulfill their needs, and lastly, they expect seamless experiences that add value and convenience to their lives throughout their journey with you. 

After understanding the foundational importance of customers in the marketplace, let’s talk about something called ‘customer expectations and touchpoints. Basically, this means that customers expect certain things from a business, like getting help quickly when they have a question, having their needs met like we have mentioned earlier as well as utilizing your product and getting optimum satisfaction from it. Every time a customer interacts with a business, whether it’s on a website, through phone calls, via emails, or even face-to-face, it is called a touchpoint. These interactions are really important because they can either make a customer a loyal customer or upset them.

For instance, imagine you send a message to a company’s Facebook page because you have a question about something you bought. You expect them to reply quickly and be really helpful, right? If they don’t respond as fast as you expected or if they respond but are not able to assist you in solving your challenge, you might feel disappointed and think twice about patronizing them another time. But if they reply right away and fix the problem for you, you would probably feel happy and trust them more. It’s all about how they treat you and how they make you feel.

In today’s super competitive world, where there are tons of options out there, knowing what customers want isn’t just a way to stand out—it’s a way to stay in the game. Businesses that take the time to figure out what customers like and don’t like have a big advantage. They can make their products or services better to keep customers happy and coming back for more. When customers are satisfied with a company’s product or services, they will recommend your business to their friends and partners.

In conclusion, being excellent at customer service starts with knowing exactly what customers want. It’s like having a secret weapon for success in business. When businesses understand how important customers are and pay attention to what they want, they can build strong relationships that go beyond just buying and selling. In today’s world where everything revolves around making customers happy, businesses that focus on understanding and meeting customers’ needs are the ones that would thrive.

Ikechukwu Kalu / About Author

Ikechukwu Kalu / About Author

CEO / Lead Consultant at Customer Passion Point Limited (CPPL), adjunct Lecturer at PAU, Resource Person at LBS, and Mentor, with decent experience spanning manufacturing, telecoms, and banking

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