Want to Win Customers? Think Like a Consumer

Winning Companies Think Like Their Customers

We all are consumers. We all have expectations of quality and service.

When I talk to our customers, I do so with that experience and mindset. If we don’t deliver – we lose. Maybe not immediately, but eventually. It’s as simple as that.

I just lived through a great example of this. Every morning I use our blender. One of the parts broke, and the manufacturer made it quite difficult and cumbersome to get a replacement.

Ironically – and frustratingly – I received a questionnaire about the service before I received my new part, which landed three towns away and came weeks after I bought a new blender from a different manufacturer.

Not only was the maker non-responsive, but the process was not transparent.

They did not think like a customer, and because of that, they lost one. I will not buy from that company again.

2018 Corporate Responsibility Report: How we help customers achieve sustainability goals.

Emotion Behind Decisions

When you are talking to customers, you need to think like one.

That might sound easy… but is it something you practice? 

I’m sure the maker of that blender had good intentions in sending me a survey about my experience, except they didn’t realize the problem wasn’t solved. That’s an enormous disconnect made more prominent by the lack of connected systems that would tell the company I was not in a place to do a survey – yet.

Let me take you in the completely opposite direction. My wife’s activity tracker wasn’t working. She sent an email to the company and got an immediate response with several options (including getting a new tracker), and then another email following up on the experience and offering additional support.

We would buy from the company again.

These two completely different experiences proved to me what differentiates a company:

  • Support and how easy it is to get a resolution to a problem
  • Service beyond the obvious obligation
  • Understanding what customers require (and translating how technology helps them achieve outcomes)

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Digital Transformation Provides Seamless Experience

Addressing the issue with the fitness tracker was a seamless experience – from identifying the problem to identifying resolutions. The maker understood what consumers wanted to do with their product. Any interruption in that experience was too great.

Technology helps us provide a fast, clear solution, so why would we ever want to a customer to experience anything less?

Public Opinion Matters

Like many shoppers, before I purchased my replacement blender, I went online and dug deep into public opinion. What did other users think?

Those comments mattered and influenced my buying decision.  A consumer not currently buying from you will be more likely to look at you if others are speaking positively about you.

Most of us are risk-averse consumers, whether that is buying an activity tracker, a blender or an automation system.

I was meeting with customers in Brazil who were quite outspoken (a trait I appreciate as I want all the information I can get).

The theme of their comments: I want to work with your company because you respond. If there in an issue, you make it right. Our support, they said, made a difference.

I thought about those comments, about what I’ve learned over many years. The support this customer valued is not an initiative or a fiscal year priority; it’s part of our company’s culture.

You can have great products (the blender) but if you lack support, people will move on. And they won’t come back.

Making the Connection

In our company, we know that higher employee engagement scores directly correlate to increased customer satisfaction. Engaged employees create loyal customers.

We have made “customer” a core focus. We talk about customer experience at every level.  Our strategy is to bring The Connected Enterprise to life. The ways we do that all include customer – understanding their opportunities and simplifying their experience.

Our ability to do those things relies on our ability to create and sustain a company culture where everyone can do their best work, operating in a transparent environment that produces tangible results.

It’s not easy, but it is simple.

Thomas Donato
Posted May 6, 2019 By Thomas Donato, Senior Vice President, Global Sales and Marketing, Rockwell Automation
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