Let the seller beware. Quite the opposite of what gets flinged around when customers have a bad buying experience, isn’t it? While this context is not the normal definition of caveat venditor, the point is that at any time customers (or potential customers) can—and will—walk away from a sale if the product or service doesn’t meet not only their needs and wants, but their ethics as well. And, often, technology is helping them to do just that.
It’s a fine line that needs to be balanced between being profitable, being customer-focused (or, better yet, customer-centric) and being good enough at every given moment to not provide an experience that turns a customer away from the brand faster than your Wile E Coyote tactical mindset can grasp.
MIT Sloan Management Review: The Change Leadership Sustainability Demands
“Three teenage girls are at a shopping mall looking for sunscreen. It’s an impulse purchase, and it has to be an all-natural choice. They think they’ve found what they’re looking for at one store, but on the way to the register one of the girls takes out her phone and swipes it by the barcode of the product they’ve selected. Moments later, as she’s pulling out a credit card at the register, her iPhone announces an incoming e-mail. It’s a short message informing her that the item she is about to purchase contains compounds that are linked to the decimation of coral reefs. Moreover, the plastic container is difficult to recycle. Because her phone has pinpointed her location via GPS, she also learns that another store in the mall carries a “greener” sunscreen that has neither of those two problems. The girls leave the register and make a beeline for the other store.”
Pragmatic Marketing: Think You Know How To Meet Customer Needs?
“Unfortunately, determining the real needs of a potential customer is not as simple as asking them what they want. Many people are unable to clearly articulate their most pressing and compelling product or service requirements because determining how products could or should be improved is not forefront in their mind.
To learn what your customer really needs, you must watch them and talk with them. You must be sure you understand their concerns and overall business issues. Only by thoroughly understanding the broad environment your customer lives in on a day-to-day basis, as well as their specific and detailed issues and concerns, can you apply the creative efforts necessary to design a compelling solution that will be successful.”
Harvard Business Review: Which Customer’s Voice Matters Most?
“Companies have to have the ability to listen to and serve their best customers while simultaneously finding out how to listen to and serve dissatisfied customers and customers who don’t consume anything at all.”