‘Customer is King’: What it means in Today’s Market

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“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.

9 comments on “‘Customer is King’: What it means in Today’s Market

  1. Well said, Maine! 😉

    I think the mantra you mentioned falls under the same age-old business mantra that “the customer is always right.” 🙂 I guess that businesses exist primarily because of the customers, so no matter how you turn the business world upside down, what the customers want will always be something that matters. Actually, it is to the corporations/businesses advantage that social media is widely used by almost everyone, that every action by the customer can be easily detected and can trigger the proper reaction on the part of the businesses. 🙂 From the time when people can only accept what was presented to them, to this social media propelled age where we can actually dictate what we want – social media has turned the world upside down.

    Thank you social media for giving us a voice and an upper hand on this. 🙂

  2. Hahaha, well, it’s ok, Pat. A lot of people make the same mistake. I’m somewhat used to it, now. 😉

    But I think this little incident should remind us to be more cautious of things like this. Especially when we’re dealing with customers (since we’re at the topic). What if I’m a customer of your company? I might get offended with you for calling me the wrong name, especially if I have been a loyal customer to you. And given the power I now possess through social media like you just said, it could really spell trouble for you.

    Just take this recent blog entry by Brogan for example http://www.chrisbrogan.com/customer-is-a-dirty-word/, of course he talked about Amazon’s mistake (of referring to customers as mere customers) in a very academic manner, but things may be different if it’s a more personal blog. I’m sure you get the point, 😀

    • That was a nice blog you shared, Mae. 🙂

      I understand Brogan for saying that “customer is a dirty word” because it may be the case for some. We should understand that with social media, organizations (Amazon.com, as such) tend to generalize – thus addressing all their users/loyalists as “customers.”

      Maybe for some it does not matter, but yes, I agree that in the very small world of the internet, where you just view and write things, the choice of words become important. We should really be more careful online as one click can cost us valued clients. It certainly is different online because you cannot see the person you are transacting with in flesh.

      Besides, we already know that an organization should always make their “customers” feel valued offline and more so online. 🙂

      Cheers, Mae! 😉

    • Thank you for your interest in my post. Feel free to read through the other posts I have, or if you may, check out what my colleagues wrote too. 🙂

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