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Marketing and selling in tough economic conditions:

FAQ’S in customer service and care

Prasanna Perera Marketing and Management Consultant, Chartered Marketeer, CIM U.K.

Customer service and care is acknowledged as the bedrock of effective marketing. Over the years, I have been asked several questions about providing effective service and care to customers. I will endeavour to answer some of these questions in this brief article.

* Are customer kings or gods?

Neither in my view. They are Queens! Why? Across many product and service categories, women are the decision-makers.

* What is the difference between a customer and a consumer?


Caring for a customer demonstrates a long-term commitment towards the customer.

A customer is a person or organization that transacts business with a given organization. The customer may or may not be the end user.

A consumer is the end-user of a product or service. Whilst a consumer in general is a person, in certain instances organizations too are end-users. (consumers)

* Who is a client?

The term client is generally used in B2B (Business-to-Business) marketing. A client is a regular customer that demonstrates a certain level of loyalty to the marketeer.

* Is Customer Care different to Customer Service?

Yes most definitely. Caring for a customer demonstrates a long-term commitment towards the customer. Customer service is providing the desired service to customers in service encounters.

However, you need to provide excellent customer service, in order to care for customers.

* Who are internal customers?

Internal customers are employees/staff of a given organization. You need to practise internal customer care before external customer care. The logic is simple - Take good care of your employees and they in turn will take good care of your customers.

* In general, what do customers require?

This will vary based on products and services and customer characteristics. In general, most customers require good quality products, good service standards, convenience, value for money, choice/variety, availability and courteous service staff.

* What is customer delight?

Delighting customers is exceeding the customers expectations. You should not always exceed customer expectations, because then the expectations will be higher and it also costs resources. Be very selective when exceeding customer expectations.

In what instances should you delight customers?

In a situation where you have dissatisfied the customer and by delighting the customer thereafter, you can recover the situation. Secondly, in a situation where the customer is in real strife or difficulty. In this instance by delighting the customer, you can make a long-term friend.

What is meant by moments-of-truth or customer touch-points?

These are interaction points between an organization and their customers. These interactions could be physical or remote. In the case of physical, it is face-to-face. Remote encounters are on the phone, e-mail, website etc., All these customer touch-points should be handled professionally, in order to provide excellent service to customers.

*What is unique about Sri Lankan customers/consumers?

Whilst Sri Lankan consumers demonstrate certain traits of global consumers, they do have certain specific characteristics.

For example, willingness to try out new products and services, offer or sale prone, willing to imitate others, value-for-money conscious and looking for convenience in almost everything. They are also influenced by family and friends to a very great extent.

“So we start with customers, figure out what they want and figure out how to get it to them.” (Jeff Bezos, Founder of Amazon)

“People are the key. They make exceptional service possible.” (Charles Fung, Giordano)

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