Knowing your customers is, as they say, the key to providing great customer service and increasing the business you do over time, so recently I have conducted a number of online surveys, the last one being sent out to over 1300 current and past customers. I wanted to know exactly what these customers were interested in after all; if they are just interested in price I can consider a specific deal tailored to the bargain hunter. Likewise if they are interested in compliance with taxes and our unblemished 11 year track record, what I like to call the Waitrose customer, then again I can offer them a second to none, transparent service to rival the very best in the business. You do, when all is said and done, get what you pay for.
In order to prompt the recipients of this questionnaire to actually complete it and click submit, a process that should take a little less the two minutes, I offered them a chance to win the latest iPad, in fact it is sat right here on my desk as we speak.
Of the 1300 recipients, only 86 responded, a statistic that should not have been as surprising as it was, I mean how often do you complete online surveys?
So, is there anything I can learn from these 86 submissions of valuable information? I gave the options for what the customer is looking for in a supplier as follows:
- Our Price
- Loyalty payments
- Track Record
- Online Services
- Knowledgeable staff
Most of the customers ticked every box, so most want the cheapest service whilst at the same time receiving the best and most compliant solution. Unfortunately it doesn’t work like that although I dare say some of my competitors may claim it does. How do you pay the salaries of the best staff, operate an adequate compliance department as well as offer the best in industry revenue streams at the same time as being the cheapest? It’s like going to a Wimpy restaurant and asking for pan fried scallops followed by twice cooked pork belly with an onion and apple velouté; they’ll say: “Erm…we don’t do that”.
So I say again, as I do so many times. Either be the best or be the cheapest, you can never be both so don’t offer both as an option, doing so can only lead to failure.