Truth be said, it’s very hard to meet customer expectations, but we can definitely work on bridging the gap between their experience and expectations. As we work harder to lessen the gap it leads automatically to a delightful experience. Similar to how a skyscraper needs a strong foundation, this requires a strong knowledge of customers and their requirements. We need to spend enough time building a strong base, rather than rushing to start building floors without a proper base.
Why is it important to know the Customer Requirements?
A customer generally expects certain key elements from a service provider which include competitive pricing, quality delivery, meeting deadlines, and innovation.
Knowing what consumers want, feel, desire, and prefer is essential for a business to survive in a market where there is fierce competition. Every customer is in search of an organization that will help to fix or solve their business problem. For any successful organization to go forward, it is very important that one should understand their requirements in depth. These requirements include not only solving the problem but also what impact the business will have on it.
In order to understand their requirements, try to identify the following,
- Are they trying to solve a problem?
- Are they trying to generate additional revenue or add new users?
- Are they trying to optimize an existing process?
- Are they trying to improve consumer satisfaction?
- Are they trying to convince management regarding a new product/solution?
- What’s the business impact?
Understand what would make the business owner successful within their organization post-launch,
It might be related to increasing the company’s revenue or profitability or it might be related to improving consumer satisfaction. The impact of client happiness extends to a business’s overall growth.
What satisfies an average customer?
Let’s understand why the client awarded the project to the company.
A customer always looks for an expert in a particular domain. Meeting and satisfying their needs is the first and foremost goal of any organization. In most cases, a company gets more projects or starts getting more projects when a client is satisfied and content with the earlier projects that have been done, or is unsatisfied with the existing vendor. In most cases, it is the former one. If they are happy with the work, there are increased chances of getting more projects.
Align the internal team with the following:
- Customer Requirement
- Their Business Goals
- Roles and responsibilities of each resource
- Deliverables with deadline
Avoid single ownership for customer operations and business/strategy
- Strategic/Business Owner – must be in regular touch with the business owner
- Operations Owner – runs day-to-day operations
- In a few cases, they might have the same resource as both Business and Operations owners, but vendors should always have two separate owners for Business and Operations to handle client interactions in a smoother way.
For every organization, it is important to create a regular feedback mechanism because of which it becomes easy for the customer and the organization to get engaged. It helps to improve the client-vendor relationship in so many ways. A proper feedback system encourages the client to share their views on the improvements and other needs of an organization.
Customers should look at a vendor as a thought leader(consultant) in a product/solution who can provide business solutions rather than being a pure implementation partner
Also need to remember that there are two types of clients:
- Those who signed the deal with Vendor
- Customers of your Client (who signed the deal)
Sometimes, the final end client isn’t prioritized by the service provider which leads to a lot of dissatisfaction. This is where a solid, data-driven strategy comes into play.
What are the two most important attributes of achieving customer delight?
- “NEVER LIE” to the customer. It’s completely fine to accept something that cannot be done rather than make false promises.
- Never have an engagement model for financial benefits alone i.e. otherwise there won’t be a long-term engagement. Engagement should exist for addressing a business problem rather than the financial needs of the vendor.
In conclusion, delighted(more than satisfied) customers not only continue working long-term but also act as brand ambassadors. The best marketing person/tool/media is the delighted customer. They’ll be content to continue the engagement and spread the word about the vendor.