“Customer is King” is an age-old business mantra accentuating the importance of customers (and would-be customers) in every business. Traditionally, this rule usually entails a company’s promise to provide good customer services to… well, the customers. But with the current evolution on work and business settings coupled with technological advancement, ‘customer is king’ means more than just good customer service.
For today’s businesses, ‘Customer is King’ means…1. You have to give them the best. Customers will still want the same thing—the best value for their money. This is what you have to give them. Even before you think of treating them well when they go to your place to purchase your product or avail your services, you should always keep the customers in mind when developing products or offering services. Ask yourself always, what will my king (the customer) need or want?
2. You should know their power. The major premise of the mantra still holds true, you should never offend your customers because it will mean serious loss for your business. In fact, it is truer in today’s economy where customers hold tremendous power thanks to social media. In the past, what makes customer king is their ability to boycott your products and services and influence others to do the same through word-of-mouth. Today, social media upgrades that power. Ill words about your company, your product or services may spread faster to more people through the World Wide Web.
3. You don’t tell them what to do. A king does not want to be told what to do. It is he who demands, not the other way around. This is exactly how customers are. Marketers should realize that the “buy this”, “get this” or “Like this” could only go so far. Customers would not buy your products just because you ask them to. In fact, some studies show that aggressive marketing may actually turn customers off. If you think of your customers as king, you should realize that just like kings, they tend to listen and trust the opinions of their advisers, the wise men of the palace. Therefore, should identify who these advisers are for your customers. Who influences their purchasing decisions? Your answer should be the target of your marketing strategy.
4. You make things easy for them. People would want to save time, money and energy as much as possible. That is why; as a marketer, you have to make sure you’re accessible to your customers. You should be where your customers are because saving them the hassle and the bustle will make them more likely to patronize you. Moreover, if you’re doing an online campaign for them, the rule is to make sure the mechanics is simple. The easier it is for them to participate, the better. Because just like kings, customers want their lives easier.
5. You let them call the shots. This is not to say that you let them handle your business. Of course, that’s wrong. What I mean to say with this instead is that sometimes, you could let your customers dictate what they want or how they want it. I’m talking about letting your customers participate in product development. In one of the chapters of his Anatomy of Buzz Revisited, Emmanuel Rosen cited the case of Mindstorms of Lego to showcase how companies may benefit from cocreating products with consumers. Starbucks also did something like this with their create your own starbucks campaign. As what Rosen pointed out, the ‘I did that’ effect of seeing the products of their inputs builds a sense of engagement, empowerment and advocacy among consumers.
Whatever industry you are in, whatever business you are into, your customers and would-be customers will always be one of your most valuable stakeholders. How well you treat them will always have an impact on your business. So one simple piece of advice I could give businesses these days is to never treat your relationship with your customers as transactional but a long term relationship that needs to be sustained.