Meeting your customers' expectations
In many ways, developments in electronic commerce are setting the standards for the rest of the business world to follow. Nowhere is this truer than in the area of customer relations.
Doing business online has a number of advantages for customers and clients:
- A personalised environment over which they have a high degree of control
- Easy access to detailed product/service information
- The space to 'browse' at their leisure, free from the intrusions of predatory sales staff
- Extended choice and the ability to personalise products and services
- Fast and efficient transactions
- Increasingly sophisticated after sales support services
As customers and clients grow used to these benefits, they are coming to expect them across the board - even in more conventional business settings such as the shop and the office. Today's customers and clients demand more recognition, more choice, and more control over the purchasing process.
Customer driven strategies
Businesses that want to survive in the new millennium must develop customer driven rather than product or service driven strategies:
- Products and services must be designed to meet the specific needs of the customer/client
- Impersonal, mass marketing must give way to 'permission marketing,' in which the prospect has a say in what information he or she receives
- Traditional, predatory sales techniques must be replaced by 'consultative selling,' in which the customer is treated more as a partner than as prey
These trends are set to continue throughout what has been dubbed the 'Customer century'. Businesses will ignore them at their peril.