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.

If you like this post, please Stumble or link to it!

Flickr Creative Commons image by clairity

Comments

  1. Kelly says:

    Crystal,

    This is the best list post I have ever read. I have read one million and four list posts. :)

    Printing, enshrining, and keeping forever.

    Thanks!

    Regards,

    Kelly

  2. Maria Palma says:

    I agree with Kelly, this is definitely a keeper and I’ll definitely be sharing it with my readers. Thanks for the inspiration ;)

  3. James Hipkin says:

    Absolutely fantastic! The most succinct and thorough overview of relationship marketing I have ever read. And I’ve read a lot, Relationship Marketing is a passion for me.

  4. Sonia Simone says:

    Thanks, all! I put a lot into this one so it is lovely to see comments.

    James, you’re making me blush, which I love. Thank you!

  5. Excellent post, you had me smirking and nodding along. Thanks! I’m adding you to my RSS.

    (found you through copyblogger, btw)

  6. Yeah, this really is top shelf stuff Sonia. Number 26 is a killer and worth a post alone.

    I’m certainly going to steal about half of these ideas to make my clients think I’m more intelligent than I really am;).

    Keep the posts coming.

  7. Good Advice says:

    That’s really good advice Sonia, thanks for that.

    Thank You

  8. Naomi Niles says:

    I love this, so so true on them all. Thanks for sharing it!

  9. Thanks for this, I had to Digg it! Because of this, I changed the way I responded to a request for customer service. I realize my email was going to add to this person’s feeling of being technically challenged and foolish… my, my, how easy it is to commit these faux pas!

  10. Debbie says:

    This is a great post, thank you. I’m going to link it from my customer-focused blog.

  11. Sonia Simone says:

    Thanks all! So great to have you all here.

  12. Molly Gordon says:

    Fabulous! The customer may or may not be “right,” but the customer is always the customer – and a human being. Seeing our work through their eyes is kinder to them and to ourselves.

    Thank you!

  13. Great list. I’ll add one more: If it’s important to me, you better at least pretend it’s important to you. I’d prefer that you think it’s important, too, but even pretending to care is better than not caring.

  14. Karen Swim says:

    Printing, and laminating. This is an excellent list. Thanks for gathering all this knowledge in one list.

    Karen

  15. Giorgi says:

    More like:

    50 Things Your women Wish You Knew

  16. I’m only at #35, but I already want to print this out and post it on every bulletin board in my office. These are things we all need reminded of on a continual basis. Thanks!

  17. Outstanding post. It’s so essential to know what our customers want. You have some great ideas and information here.

    Kathleen Gage
    The Street Smarts Marketer

  18. Adam Kayce says:

    Ditto, ditto, ditto. I almost never read list posts, and hardly ever make it through the first 10 items, but I read all 50 of these.

    Definitely worth a Stumble, a fav, and a save.

  19. Janice Gentles-Jones says:

    Wow! I don’t think you missed a thing. Thanks for such a great posts. It was very insightful!

  20. Shayna says:

    What a wonderful post. I’m going to make it required reading for my staff – AND for me over and over again. Thank you!

  21. Lisa Hughes says:

    This was a great post! I was originally searching for info about reading guests in the restaurant industry. I will be using this as a focal point in our training meeting! Thank You! Contact me if you are ever in NC.

  22. Kazztor!!! says:

    En verdad es el mejor post que he leido. De mucha ayuda para entender lo que la persona al otro lado del telefono necesita.

    Yep, you have “at least” one happy Mexican reader. Thank you for this GREAT post. I will print and keep this awesome list next to my phone and read it every morning.

  23. Communication is the essential ingredient in building relationships, personally and professionally. My favs are 8, 11, 14 and 20.

    I would add:

    Eye contact: let me know you are listening to me by looking me in the eyes.

    Integrity: Fulfill your promises. Underpromise and overdeliver. Then I will trust you.

    Intimidation: Don’t try to talk over my head to impress me. Making me feel stupid is not a way to gain my trust or my business. (Relates to your #39!)

    Thanks again for sharing!

  24. Wow! It is amazing how much so many of these very much apply to psychotherapy and coaching though that was presumably at most a small part of your intended target. Number 19 is at least very often true, but would be unethical to respond to in literal way. I can’t, for instance, provide one client a lower fee based on them being more special.

    19 reminds me though of Faber and Mazlish’s advice on sibling rivalry. Even if your child asks you directly if you love her as much as her sibling, hearing that you do, or that you have plenty of love for both of them, will not satisfy. And telling her you love her more isn’t a good idea for obvious reasons. But responding to your child in a way that communicates with specificity (including examples), even if only briefly, what is special, unique and lovable about her does exactly what is needed. Seems to at least figuratively to be true with counseling and coaching clients also.

    This post is wonderful for its comprehensiveness and for its specificity. Nicely written and great concepts. I’m officially hooked.

    Michael@ Awareness * Connection@s last blog post..Awareness * Connection Now Listed on AllTop, Shooting for 9Rules

  25. Sonia Colon says:

    Great post! I couldn’t agree more. These 50 tips are right on the money.

    Thanks for sharing. I will Stumpleupon this article!

    Sonia Colons last blog post..5 steps to customer loyalty!

  26. Sonia Simone says:

    Fascinating stuff, Michael. I can see this as being esp. tricky in a counseling situation, or any situation where a formal code of ethics guides the relationship, as opposed to a more “don’t be evil” ethos.

    My least favorite phrase is “it’s just business.” People don’t leave their fears, hopes, anxieties, hot buttons at the door just because money changes hands.

    Thanks for the Stumble, Sonia!

  27. Agreed. I think “It’s just business” says an awful lot about how the person saying it regards their relationships in the context of business…not very highly. Unless you’re Tony Soprano. Different spin on that phrase in that case.

    Michael@ Awareness * Connections last blog post..Awareness * Connection Now Listed on AllTop, Shooting for 9Rules

  28. LOVE this post. These are all points I wish sales people and service providers understood about me.
    #35 is my fave “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.)”
    #47 is my second fave “I don’t know what I want most of the time. You need to figure it out for me.”
    If service providers got just these 2 points… they’d have more clients, more work and more referrals than they can handle.
    Now that you’ve tackled the “what”… we need to know the “how!”

    Cristina Favreaus last blog post..How Compelling is Your 30-second Intro?

  29. Sonia,
    I love this post. It’s a great way to get ‘over there’ in my readers/customers’ minds. And, I love your writing voice – fresh, sassy, and smart.
    I’ve been enjoying your Copyblogger posts and now have become a fan of your own site. Thanks for your insightful and excellent work.
    Cynthia

  30. Linda says:

    Definateley one of the most powerful and insightful reads, I have to pass this along to all my sales people and business associates. So happy I found this article.

    Another new fan,
    Linda

  31. Daniel Edlen says:

    I can’t write all those down by hand and stick them all over my wall! My wife’ll have a shit-fit! ;)

    Great post. Very cool that people’re still commenting on it. Just great.

    Peace.

  32. Torley says:

    I would luv to learn the process from which you compiled this, Sonia! Did it come in pieces you later listed neatly, or did you sit down and begin writing them out? Please do share!

    Fantastic, fantastic. Unique and usefun (useful + fun). :D

    Torleys last blog post..Seawolf dragon avatars have fantastic documentation

  33. I love Lynn’s suggestion about looking the customer in the eye. I recently had a person working in customer service who refused to look at me! Needless to say, I have told as many people as I could that customer service is an oxymoron at that particular Kroger.

  34. Truly remarkable post, Sonia. I’ve just posted it to my Translator Power blog with the following words: “Once you’ve read and internalized it, you won’t need any more marketing lessons or books, including my own ‘The Insider Guide to the Strategic Marketing of Translation Services’” :-)

    Amadou M. Salls last blog post..“50 Things Your Customers Wish You Knew”

  35. Found the ebook version of this in the Online Business School bonuses. Simply brilliant!

    Hunter Nuttalls last blog post..Why Jobs Don’t Need Core Hours

  36. Sonia Simone says:

    Thanks Hunter! Glad to have ya here!

  37. Steve Nickse says:

    Jeez – that is a good arrangement of insightfull thoughts. Every item could be expounded upon. I’ll be back.
    -Steve

    Steve Nickses last blog post..My Home Office now has a Path

  38. Sonia,

    This is my first tme coming to your site. I found you when I was reading your Four Old-School Reasons Why You Can Thrive in this Recession post on Copyblogger.

    I’m printing this post out as every single one of these really hit home. I run boot camps for women in Hutto, Texas and really want to take my communication with my clients to the next level.

    Thank you for this post.

    Donovan “DFitnessguy” Owens

  39. Jon says:

    Sonia, this is so good, so insightful I may have to tape it on the wall next to me. Damn, now there’s another blog I need to read (yours). How am I going to ever get anything done!

    Best,

    Jon

    Jons last blog post..Avoiding Bizarro World

  40. Sonia Simone says:

    Laughing. Thanks Jon! Don’t ask me how to get anything done, I find it a total miracle when I can cross anything off my list. :)

  41. David says:

    Excellent — and the list includes some items that few men would have thought of, or, if they had, that they would have dismissed (Me vulnerable? No way, man!)

  42. jim says:

    Not at all cynical. On the mark and well done.

  43. Ryl says:

    Wow, that is so spot on. Thanks for the reminder!

  44. This is just fantastic!

    You, friend, are a mind reader… in all the gory details. What amazing reminders of the things going on in everyone’s mind- especially our clients.

    @Ribeezie sent me to your site, and I’m glad I came!

  45. Janet Engel says:

    Great post and oh so true…I blogged on this very topic today and linked to your article..appreciate the reminders on this. These are “no-brainers” but often forgotten.
    http://janetengel.livejournal.com/26371.html

  46. I have been in sales for over 20 years and I love it when I read articles like yours and really learn something.

    Thanks

  47. Eugen Oprea says:

    Great list Sonia.

    It made me think at lots of things I should do for customers.

    Thank you for sharing this to us.
    .-= Eugen Oprea´s last blog ..Frank Lloyd Wright =-.

  48. tiensshop says:

    Printing, enshrining, and keeping forever. Remarkable post, thanks for the post and those fantastic ideas.

  49. Spot on and so true! They sound like needy, insecure children:) Those clients do need to be nurtured and coddled!

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