After reading my review of First, Break all the Rules, Glenn commented that I should take note of the book’s list of customer expectations. That suggestion yielded a handful of gems for working with and developing customer advocates.
Advocates are customers who are aggressively loyal. They will not only withstand temptations to defect, they will actively sing your praises.
How do you build these super Return Customers? By sequentially achieving four key levels of customer service and meeting customer expectations.
Customer Expectation #1: Accuracy
At the lowest level, customers expect accuracy.
You expect to get what you ordered without errors or missed shipments. You want your credit card bill to correctly list all your purchases and payments.
Your customers must get what they paid for and are expecting. Deliver on what you promise. Accuracy is an assumed standard in doing business. When present, accuracy is taken for granted. Its absence swiftly leads to customer dissatisfaction.
Customer Expectation #2: Availability
Any company that makes itself more accessible will obviously increase the number of customers who are willing to give it a try.
You can leverage the power of convenience to reach more potential customers. When the barriers to entry are lower, you’ve got a better shot of earning first-time customers.
Availability is important but should not stand by itself or be relied on as a single benefit to the customer. Since availability is easy to mimic, your rivals can reduce this “competitive advantage to a commodity.”
Customer Expectation #3: Partnership
[Customers] want you to listen to them, to be responsive to them, to make them feel they are on the same side of the fence as you.
Partnerships can be built only when you:
- Identify customer needs.
- Understand and can identify customer behavior.
- Solicit and act upon customer feedback.
Customer Expectation #4: Advice
Customers feel the closest bond to organizations that have helped them learn.
Think of the free seminars, telecasts, tutorials, workshops, and classes you see advertised everyday. Remember your alma mater where you earned that degree?
These are all instances where you have learned or can learn something. As a result, you are much more likely to reciprocate the favor. You’ve probably donated to an alumni-sponsored scholarship or even bought that paint you learned to use at a Home Depot workshop.
Building Blocks of Customer Expectations
Each of these levels builds on the others and will eventually lead to some very happy and loyal customers. Make sure you’re meeting the basic customer expectations and then work on developing those partnerships and advice relationships with customers. Cultivating quality customer relationships will drive repeat business and allow your company to continue its growth.