What Your Customers Really Want

By Susan PaytonSmall BusinessAllBusiness.com

I’m writing this post from the customer service lobby of a MINI dealership in my city. No, I don’t own a MINI. I own an Acura. But the Wi-Fi at the dealership (next door) that’s working on my vehicle isn’t working. And so they sent me here.

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It’s a little thing. After all, I’m still using free Wi-Fi while waiting for my car. But simply having to walk across the parking lot and settling into another lounge area is enough to get me thinking: how hard did my dealership work to get its Wi-Fi fixed?

For that matter, how much does the average business really work to make sure customers are happy and don’t walk away irritated?

What Your Customers Really Want

If you’re looking for a Golden Ticket in this section, I hate to disappoint you. I don’t know what your customers want. That’s your job. But I’m guessing it’s simpler than you’d think. After all, I’m not looking for a free pedicure while I wait for my car. I just want a comfortable area where I can work while I wait. Oh yea and: working Wi-If.

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If you don’t know what your customers want, start talking to them. Start reading your Yelp reviews. Start paying attention to what they’re talking about on social media. It’s your responsibility to pay attention to your customers and to make sure you respond in meaningful ways.

Why You Need to Care

If you’re whining to yourself that it takes more time than you’ve got to put more attention on customer service, think how much energy you put into finding new customers. I’m willing to bet that it’ll take less effort for you to make your existing customers gush over you and keep coming back for more.

Customer Happiness Role Models

There’s a reason Zappos is mentioned again and again in blog posts about customer satisfaction. They do it right, and they don’t focus so hard on the bottom line that they can’t bend the rules to exceed customers’ expectations.

And Dell understands that its customers don’t want to sit on hold and be transferred 10 times to get a simple question answered. I’ve blogged plenty about Dell’s social media customer service, which many brands have since modeled their own efforts after.

These are inspiring examples of how brands can make customers happy, but find your own path. It might be making every 20th customer’s order free, or calling to see if the order met a customer’s expectations. You can bet it involves spending more time and energy paying attention and finding unique ways to make a difference, one customer at a time.

Susan Payton is the President of Egg Marketing & Communications, an Internet marketing firm specializing in marketing communications, copywriting and blog posts. She’s also the founder of How to Create a Press Release, a free resource for business owners. She’s written three books: DIY Press Releases: Your Guide to Becoming Your Own PR Consultant101 Entrepreneur Tips and Internet Marketing Strategies for Entrepreneurs, and has blogged for several sites, including The Marketing Eggspert Blog, as well asCorpNetSmall Business TrendsChamber of Commerce, and BizLaunch. Follow her on Twitter @eggmarketing.