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Give Customers What They Want

4th April 2019

By Mo Yusuff

Years ago during a seminar a speaker explained in a sentence what he felt marketing and customer service really means.

He said:

“Marketing and customer service is giving people what they want rather than what you want them to have.”

It amazes me how many companies don’t get this.

Here’s an example of a company that would rather lose business than listen to its customers.

Couple of years ago, one of our customers asked for a fairly small quantity of cotton pouches with a gold zip; she also wanted three different sizes. After a few hours of hunting I found a supplier who has stock.

Now although they weren’t the exact sizes she wanted a couple were close enough and so I contacted the supplier and asked them to send out samples directly to our customer. Now although we don’t charge our customers for samples, most of our suppliers charge us, which we’re always happy to pay (my view is if you’re not prepared to spend a bit of time, effort and money helping your customers, they’re likely to become ex-customers).

Anyway, after calling them up and asking for samples I sent them an email request with the delivery address of our customer.

A few minutes later an email popped into my inbox and amongst other stuff it said it said:

“Thank you for the email.

For payment you can pay bank transfer for which all the account and sort code of the company are mentioned on the invoice document which we have attached.

Alternatively you can pay by card by calling us for the details.”

Cool, I thought, I’ll call them and pay them and everyone’s happy.

Wrong.

Long story short, they wouldn’t accept a card payment because the samples weren’t being delivered to our address.

When I asked why, the slightly naïve girl on the other end of the phone said something that blew me away:

“The system won’t let us.”

I replied with:

“So your system runs your company for you, does it?”

“Er, yeah.” Was the reply.

Anyway here’s my point.

Listen to your customers and make life easy for them. Give them what they want rather than what you want them to have.

P.S. Needless to say, I didn’t follow the instructions of their system and pay online (how nuts is that? Their system allows you to buy online and have them delivered elsewhere but mere human beings? No way).

And with a little bit more time and effort I managed to find a factory that can make the pouches is the exact sizes our customer wants and with small minimum quantities.

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