Sam Walton, the founder of Wal-mart once said, "There is only one boss. The customer. And he can fire everybody in the company from the chairman on down, simply by spending his money somewhere else." But does that mean that we can take the risk of treating every customer alike? There are indeed customers that will force you to go the extra mile, and if the shoe doesn't fit, you must change the foot aka service strategy, at times.
My experience in the service industry is rather brief, and here's how I see the type of consumers you will get in the Indian service industry today :-
The pampered ones
Well, we all know these well-taken-care-of kids who have parents that get them anything they want, but they still complain. When these kids turn into first-hand customers, they will expect to be pampered by the services you are offering to them. While serving them, go the extra mile and pay attention to every last detail, whether or not they have specifically mentioned it, else you might lose them forever.
PROS: - Help in setting up higher customer service standards
CONS: - Little over-expenditure on average ticket size
Social media activist
Yes, we are talking about influencers, or people, who lead a parallel life on the internet. Be it microblogging, social bookmarking, or online journals, these people believe in leaving a digital carbon print for every significant or mundane experience in their life. If you serve them right, you might get substantial, more importantly, free marketing from them. But as double-edged swords go, even a tad lax in service and their 140 characters will attract attention that you will most likely regret.
PROS: - Highly influential, word of mouth, free marketing
CONS: - Negative opinionated marketing
The loyalists are the habitual ones. It doesn’t matter what you call them, but they constitute your main user base. They are habituated to your process and services, which allows you a little window for errors, but with caution. They may forgive a few errors, but once they break out of their habit and go to your competitor, they are not coming back.
PROS:- They keep the revenue registers ticking
CONS:- May lead to complacency
Calling them discount mongers is mainstream and slightly harsh, but there is a segment that only craves services at 'discounted rates'. They want to use your services and they actually do, but only if there is a discount available. To get an idea about the size of this segment, just see how many websites have built their business around selling discount coupons.
PROS: - You get newly excited customers
CONS: - Large acquisition cost for a certain segment of users
Yes, they are for real! Make a slight mistake and they will be posting negative reviews on every social media they use. Unlike online influencers, these customers do it only to get free service and some compensation from you. You may try to satisfy them with your services, but they will lookout for loopholes to drive home their extortionist agenda. Some even involve their family members and friends who are active on social media, and might have not even used your services, but sing the same tune to facilitate the claim of their friend.
PROS: - Increased awareness about system loopholes
CONS: - You may lose review-savvy customers
These are customers who actually help you in shaping your services for the betterment of everyone. What’s better than someone suggesting you about the things you need to improve from a customer point of view, and that too, without charging a penny? They give you multiple chances by providing genuine feedback about service-related lapses. In return, they only expect an overall improvement in services. Do what you need to but never lose a customer of this type.
PROS: - Help you in improving service standards
CONS: - Serious customers do not take a NO very graciously
So listen to your customers and respond to them, as who can be a better advisor for your services than the ones who actually avail them?
So, if you understand the tech jargon then do add a customer type and preference column to your user table OR ask some developer to lay down the plan for that.
(Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of YourStory)
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- customer care
- free marketing
- brand loyalty
- highly influential customer
- improving service standards
- good customer service