By the DynaSis Team
If you studied psychology in high school or college, you probably encountered Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs―those elements that take humans from basic survival to self-actualization. Did you know there is a customer hierarchy of needs, as well? The terms for these needs change from one model to the next, but they all say basically the same thing.
At the most basic level, customers want accuracy and availability. They want things to work and they want to be able to obtain them. Above that, they want companies to meet their desires―provide ease of use; wide color selection; extended operating hours―whatever they desire in the product or service that isn’t absolutely necessary for them to use it. At this level, customers become loyal, and most companies are content if they achieve this “pinnacle.”
The cold reality, however, is that meeting customer desires and gaining loyalty do not place you at the pinnacle. That spot is reserved for meeting customers’ unexpressed needs―actually advising them of things they might want and making them available for them. It involves having a two-way dialog and showing that you are looking out for them.
At this level, companies gain evangelism―customers that tell everyone how wonderful a company is. Most firms never come close to achieving this level, because they are caught up in trying to reach or stay at the loyalty level. They waste the opportunity to become truly great and extraordinarily successful.
So, how do you get your customers to the level of evangelism? You must already have great products or services, of course. Your employees should love your company and what it represents, and they should be dedicated to providing passionate, caring service. To make that leap from this foundation isn’t effortless, but today’s technology is making it a lot easier than one might think.
What do you do with the data available to you? This includes, not only what your customers order, but what they ask about when they call; what they say about you to their friends on social media; even what they say about your competitors. All of this data is available to you, either through your own internal records or through social media analysis. You just have to harvest and analyze it to get a pretty good idea of what your customer might like you to offer them, next. (It’s also a good idea to participate in their conversations and let them know you are listening.)
Best of all, there are ready-made data gathering and analysis solutions that can do a lot of the work for you, even going as far as monitoring conversations about you and your customers across the entire spectrum of social media, so you can jump in and participate. They can even tell you who your key influencers are―the folks that persuade others to either like or dislike your products or services. (If you are old-school and this sounds like an invasion of privacy, consider this: it’s perfectly legal and your competitors are probably already doing it.
These solutions aren’t DynaSis’ specialty, although we can point you in the direction of someone who offers them. Because we care about your success, we just wanted you to know they are there. We also wanted to remind you that, before you decide to implement any solution that gathers and stores customer data and preferences, you should order a security analysis and ensure you have robust defensive mechanisms in place.
All the customer engagement and gratification in the world won’t build your business if a criminal steals those lovely pools of data that you collect, analyze and store. If you suffer a data breach like those of PF Chang’s or Target, your customers will become evangelists, but they’ll be telling everyone to run the other direction. If you’d like to request a technology assessment to see where you are, now―or discuss any aspect of technology and how it impacts your business―we invite you to fill out our inquiry form or give us a call at (770) 569-4600.