CUSTOMER SERVICE

The 4 Key Customer Needs That Must Be Addressed

It's hard to meet every need of today's demanding customer, but you certainly can't miss one of these four if you are building a successful business.
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In today's market, providing a good product or service is rarely enough to gain a customer for life. I often hear executives tell me it's their customer service that makes them different or better than their competitors.  Of course their competitors usually make the same claim.  So how do you quantify exemplary customer service? It's about creating a sense of complete satisfaction beyond expectations.

Entrepreneur and marketing expert Craig Morantz recently detailed a great explanation in his blog Gotomarketguy.com.  He clearly identifies four key needs felt by every customer that must be resolved if you are going to create complete satisfaction. Figure out how to meet each of these four needs, and customer hearts will be yours. Then you really can claim to deliver exemplary customer service. Here is Morantz's wisdom:

The Need For Attention

Morantz points out that customers need to feel they are the center of your attention. When customers are spending money they believe they are providing value.  They want to know that you recognize their value and expect you to act accordingly. The slightest sign you are ignoring them and they will lose faith quickly.  Don't make them chase you. Make them feel they are the most important transaction in your day. Ask yourself "How can I let this buyer know I am focused on them in a welcoming (not intimidating) way?" Morantz suggests you look them in the eye and tell them they have 100 percent of your attention.

The Need For Affection

Morantz believes customers need to feel loved. They want to believe they are worth more to you then their money. " Each person wants to see that you understand what it takes to make them feel safe and happy, and that you genuinely want to help. Maybe that's a steady supply of bottled water, or maybe it is spending the extra 30 minutes breaking down the differences between option A and option B. No matter the gesture, they want you to show them they matter as people. Ask yourself, "What will show this person I respect them and care for their comfort?

The Need For Appreciation

Morantz evangelizes about the customer's need to feel acknowledgment. He points out that the heart lights up when it feels appreciation because of the release of dopamine into the nervous system. It doesn't matter if your customer was resolved, suspicious, low maintenance, or indifferent; once they give you the gift of patronage, everyone likes to be thanked. This is where great follow up comes into play. No need to gush, but send a sincere signal. Morantz suggests that appreciation can come in the form of an email, a tweet, a handwritten note, a phone call or a gift. Make it personal. Ask yourself, "What will show this person I appreciate their time, attention and consideration?"

The Need For Acceptance

Embracing who the customer is and accepting them for who they are is the final and possibly most important need of the customer's heart according to Morantz. It's easy to accept the easy customer. But as Morantz aptly points out, you will always deal with angry, bitter, frightened and emotional customers. Acceptance is not judging them, it's embracing where they are at and focusing on the challenge or opportunity. Once you have identified the buyer personality before you, it will be easy to show acceptance. Are they hungry for knowledge? Show them you are eager to provide it. Are they nervous and untrusting? Share your own fear of being taken for a ride. Ask yourself, "What will show this person that I am willing to meet them where they are?"  Make the emotional connection and you'll be bonded for life. You can show Morantz appreciation for the insights at @morerants.

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Last updated: May 6, 2014

KEVIN DAUM | Columnist

An Inc. 500 entrepreneur with a more than $1 billion sales and marketing track record, Kevin Daum is the best-selling author of Video Marketing for Dummies and the executive producer of Amilya! on 77WABC New York. Sign up here and never miss out on Kevin's thoughts and humor.

The opinions expressed here by Inc.com columnists are their own, not those of Inc.com.



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