Who's Leading Who? Customizing Customer Care
As an avid dog walker, I enjoy watching other people walk their dogs and have come to the conclusion that there are four types of people in the world. First, there are those who have no dog. This group is often the least distracted but loneliest out of the four groups. While I could go on about the overall causes for this, I will defer to other pet-centric writers to discuss the importance of dogs in a happy world. After all, this is not really a discussion about pets, but about successful business practices in a challenging business environment. The other three types of people will help me illustrate this point.
Of the three types of people who are actually attached to the end of their dog’s leash, there are those whose dog is trying to run ahead, straining at the leash, and being held back with great difficulty. Then there are those whose dog really doesn’t want to be out walking in the first place, and who are dragging or carrying an unwilling partner who is slowing them down considerably. And finally, there are those whose dog is a good and cooperative partner with them, walking beside them at the same pace and acting like the true companion they were designed to be. The first two dog walkers have a less than satisfying journey, straining muscles and sinews, struggling to achieve balance but continually being challenged to maintain their footing and equilibrium. Only the dog walker with the equal partner seems to really enjoy the excursion.
It struck me that all of those dogs are very much like companies and that the walkers are very much like their customers. A company that doesn’t match the walking pace of their customers will provide a very unsatisfying match for their customer. Many companies try to move their relationship along at their own pace rather than matching the gait of their customers. But a leash that binds them together with too much tension on it will always produce a relationship that leaves room for thoughts in a customer’s head that say, “I wish I had a better dog.”
The best companies will always match the pace of their customers. Every dog walker has their own preferred pace. Too aggressive or too slow, and the dog is a poor match. Companies too, when they don’t recognize the individuality of each customer, will make themselves a poor match and then wonder what happened when they are suddenly replaced. The day of customized customer care is not dead. In an era of unprecedented economic challenges, it is more critical than ever before. Pay attention to the needs of your customer and they will find you a valuable and highly satisfying service provider. It is never the dog who should be controlling the relationship if the relationship is going to provide lasting satisfaction for all parties.
Dynamic Business Concepts