50 Things Your Customers Wish You Knew

50 things your customers wish you knew

Some items on this list might seem cynical, but they’re not. The fact is, it doesn’t matter what kind of customers you have. I don’t care if your customers are kidney donors or Zen masters or million-dollar contributors to your nonprofit organization. Each one of us has some less-than-loveable characteristics that tend to come to the forefront when we’re in the role of customer.

If you knew, really knew, these 50 things about your customers, and acted accordingly, you’d gain their trust and even their love. After all, who doesn’t want to be loved despite all our flaws and embarrassing insecurities? The better you understand both the noble and not-so-noble secrets in your customers’ consciousness, the better you can serve them.

Here are 50 things your customers wish you knew: about them, about how they see you, and about your relationship.

  1. I don’t need you to be perfect, but I do need to know I can rely on you.
  2. Telling me what you don’t know makes me trust you.
  3. It means a lot when you take the time to thank me for my business or a referral.
  4. You don’t need to do all that much to be a superhero. Just do exactly what you say you will do.
  5. A friendly voice on the other side of the phone means more than you can imagine.
  6. Your employees treat me about as well as you treat them.
  7. I don’t mind spending the money, as long as I feel I’m getting real value.
  8. My life is really stressful. If you can reduce that stress, you become immensely valuable to me.
  9. I want to tell you what would make this relationship better for me. Why don’t you ever ask me?
  10. I don’t understand a lot of the messages you send me. Can you make them clearer?
  11. My life is very complicated. If you make it easy for me to just buy a simple all-in-one package that I can use without learning anything, I’ll take it and be grateful. (I’ll even pay a premium for it.)
  12. I want to trust you, but it’s hard for me to trust anyone.
  13. Once you’ve won my trust and loyalty, the truth is you can screw up once in awhile and I will forgive you. If I don’t think you’re taking me for granted, that is.
  14. When I refer my friends and you give them exceptional service, that makes me look and feel smart. I love that.
  15. I spend an awful lot of time being scared to death.
  16. The wealthier I get, the more I like free stuff.
  17. A lot of the time, I secretly feel like a lost little kid. I don’t admit it, but I want to be taken care of.
  18. I’m lousy at admitting I was wrong, but I respect you when you do it.
  19. I like to get little goodies no one else is getting.
  20. I don’t understand how to use your Web site, but I can’t admit that because it would make me feel dumb.
  21. There’s no worse feeling than feeling like I was suckered into trusting you. If I’m screaming at you or one of your employees, that feeling is probably behind it somewhere.
  22. Our relationship isn’t equal and it never will be.
  23. I get crazy jealous if I think you love another customer more than you love me.
  24. I don’t have any interest in your excuses. In fact, I usually don’t notice them at all, and if I do, they annoy me.
  25. I find myself endlessly fascinating.
  26. I hate salespeople, but I really like to buy things.
  27. I only like to communicate over the phone/Web/mail and I hate when you try to make me communicate with you over the mail/phone/Web.
  28. I want to buy your product, but I need you to help me justify it to myself.
  29. There’s something in my life I’m afraid of losing. If you can make me feel like you’ve protected it for me, my gratitude will be intense and eternal.
  30. I’ll give you anything you ask if you can help me not feel silly.
  31. I want you to do the hard work for me. Even better if I can get all the credit.
  32. I’d rather do it the convoluted hard way than learn something new.
  33. I’d love to know something about your product that I could use to brag at a dinner party.
  34. I have the attention span of a goldfish. Go too long without contacting me and I’ll simply forget you exist.
  35. Money is no object when it comes to my obsessions.
  36. What you think you’re good at is not what you’re good at. Ask me, and I’ll tell you what you do better than anyone else.
  37. I like it when I feel like you’re talking just to me.
  38. It infuriates me when you answer the phone while I’m talking with you face-to-face.
  39. Embarrassment scares me more than death.
  40. I’m lazier than I would ever admit.
  41. I’m more selfish than I would ever admit.
  42. I’m more vain than I would ever admit.
  43. I’m more insecure than I would ever admit.
  44. Despite all that, I secretly think I’m a better person than most people. Help me believe that and we’ll be fast friends.
  45. I believe I deserve much more than I’m getting.
  46. I want to tell you everything you need to know in order to sell to me, but I’m lazy. Make it easy enough and I will. (Especially if you flatter me a little.)
  47. I don’t know what I want most of the time. You need to figure it out for me.
  48. I mostly daydream about making life better for myself, but I’ll take action to keep from losing what’s mine.
  49. I believe that most of what’s wrong in my life is someone else’s fault. Let me keep that cozy illusion and I’ll believe anything you say.
  50. It really is all about me.

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Flickr Creative Commons image by clairity

Comments

  1. One of the best posts I have ever read. I have a mobile pet grooming service in L.A., Ca. Everything was on point, but the one that had me laughing the hardest was #23. Yes, clients get jealous if they think you like another customer better. Now that I have read the list, I can point out to some of my staff(who always complain that I just have “a way” with people that they don’t) how to do better customer service.

  2. The saddest part? Customers do say all these things to business-owners, but the owners just don’t listen. Good news? Those feigning deafness to reap profits will, eventually, assuming capitalism works, lose their customer to smarter, kinder, more thoughtful competitors.

    Great post. :D )
    .-= Glenn Friesen´s last blog ..WordPress; Curiosity; Google, Kansas =-.

    • Maxim says:

      Great, Sonia, my next email to a customer prospect will contain 50 items.

      Glenn, re ‘kinder’ — now 100 years into car sales, the treatment may still beg for better. Could it be the 51st thing that some customers choose to be abused?.. Could it be a viable sales strategy to drop abusive customers?

  3. Mark Henson says:

    Great post. Can I repost it on my blog and enewsletter? Will definitely link to it, but would love to publish the whole thing!
    .-= Mark Henson´s last blog ..Is Your Job a TGIF or a GIFT? =-.

  4. Tim Sanchez says:

    Love this post Naomi. I keep coming back to it as a reminder.
    .-= Tim Sanchez´s last blog ..Put On Your Sunday Best =-.

  5. Absolutely great! I am going to print a copy and keep coming back to refer or add my own experiences.
    Thanks.

  6. Nancy says:

    spot on post. you are right 50 times.

  7. Will Pena says:

    What is mind boggling is that customers sometimes feel all of these things at once. Its like being married – I have to figure out exactly what my spouse is needing and wanting, at every moment – or I will be in a lot of trouble.

    I haven’t yet mastered the spouse thing- but my secret weapon makes her feel like I have. My secret weapon? Just ask. It works well with customers too.

  8. Excellent post, I am going to convert it on pdf and save it on my desktop .
    Career Outlook´s last [type] ..Operations Manager Jobs

  9. Thanks for putting together this great list. Interesting read. We’ll try our best to keep them all in mind!

  10. Eddie Gear says:

    Too much for me. May be I will get here later for another read.

  11. Anita says:

    Love this post, Sonia! You’ve hit the proverbial nail on the head.

  12. Michael says:

    Really like this post because all of us forget at times to put ourselves in ‘their’ shoes. The other key is to remember to ask them from time to time, ‘what’s important for you here? how can we do better?’
    Thanks for this.
    cheers
    Michael
    Michael´s last [type] ..Marketing Tip for LinkedIn- part 1

  13. You have remarkable insight into the human condition. And more importantly, you are able to share those insights. Keep up the good work!
    Joseph C. McDaniel´s last [type] ..My Favorite Educational Bankruptcy Video- Zombie Debt Collectors! Da-da-da-daaaaaaaa!

  14. Anne Egros says:

    Great ! I needed this list to become more than just “good enough” and make my clients feel special
    Thank you
    Anne
    Anne Egros´s last [type] ..Where Do You Belong An Expat Story

  15. Sonia, you have been a favorite blogger of mine and an inspiration. I’ve been a 3rd Triber for 4 or 5 months. Thanks for that. Could I please repost your “50 Things” to The Lawrence Report. Every person who meets the public needs to read it and follow it.
    Steve Lawrence´s last [type] ..American Honda Reports September Sales Increase

  16. Amy King says:

    Sonia, you could not be more correct. As a customer, these are exactly my thoughts. As a business owner, I work hard to serve my clients the way I want to be served (but seldom am anymore). Thanks.
    Amy King´s last [type] ..Anxiety — a Brain Drain

  17. “A lot of the time, I secretly feel like a lost little kid. I don’t admit it, but I want to be taken care of.” Very True

  18. Kathy says:

    Wow, one of the best blog posts I have read in recent memory. It has been printed and I will go over this with a fine tooth comb many times figuring out ways to apply this to my business.

  19. Not only did I just read this list 2x – perhaps 3 on some items, but I applied it to 2 projects I’ve been working on – where I’ve suspected that something wasn’t fully connecting with my ideal customer. Putting products and services in a framework like this is absolutely crucial to keep you thinking as your customer. At some point during the second read through, I think I actually became my customer and could clearly see why I wasn’t buying from myself. Huh.

  20. What a fantastic list! Everything you mentioned is on point. I especially like how you wrote it in the first person through the eyes of the customer – it really creates a sense of compassion. While I love every point you made, I especially like #9: “I want to tell you what would make this relationship better for me. Why don’t you ever ask me?” Keen 2-way communication is so important in a good business relationship!

  21. Adam says:

    Great list, I shared it with everyone at the office (staff mailing lists are great). Its important to treat customers the same way you would want/expect to be treated.

  22. Kirk Heiner says:

    That was a delicious cookie. I will definitely come back for some cake. Seriously, this was brilliant, insightful and I loved the voice of the customer in the article. Great job!

  23. Jeremy Brown says:

    Echoing what Glenn said, it amazes me how often businesses don’t listen when their customers are telling them something. Maybe it’s arrogance, but whatever it is we are seeing a shift towards greater customer service.

    I for one, am very pleased by this shift. We can all thanks social media for it.

    The businesses that fail to see this shift will be the one’s that will be kicking themselves in the ass wishing they actually paid attention.

  24. Tui says:

    What an interesting read! I’ve often wondered from a customer’s perspective how they think, what they feel when dealing with you. Myself as a customer, I have certain expectations and standards. I would like to walk away with a smiling face and give them repeat business. So with these standards in mind from a consumer or sale level, I would set an example of what to do or not to do ;) Stepping into their shoes for a change! Cheers.

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