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Every customer comes into the customer situation with differing wants.
While wants are frequently hard to identify and may occasionally be
unrealistic, all customers have the following five basic needs:
1. Service: Customers expect the service that they think is appropriate
for the level of purchase that they are making. A small, spontaneous
purchase may have a smaller service need than a larger purchase that has
been carefully planned and researched.
2. Price: The cost of everything we purchase is becoming more and
more important. People and businesses want to use their financial resources
as efficiently as possible. Many products previously considered unique
are now considered commodities. This means that while a consumer
previously had to travel to the local hamburger restaurant to purchase a
hamburger, now one can be acquired at many other locations. This makes
the component of price even more important to the customer.
3. Quality: Americans are less likely today to think of their
purchases as throwaway items. Customers want the products that they
purchase to be durable and functional until customers decide to replace
them. This requirement of quality mandates that manufacturers and
distributors produce products that live up to the customers’ expectations
of durability. Customers are much less likely to question price if they are
doing business with a company that has a reputation for producing a
high-quality product.
4. Action: Customers need action when a problem or question
arises. Many companies offer toll-free customer assistance telephone lines,
flexible return policies, and customer carryout services in response to the
need for action. Customers are human beings and like to think that they
are an important priority and that when a need or question arises someone
will be ready and waiting to help them.
5. Appreciation: Customers need to know that we appreciate their
business. Customer service providers can convey this appreciation in
many appropriate ways. Saying “thank you” to the customer through
our words and actions is a good starting point. Preferred customer
mailing lists, informational newsletters, special discounts, courtesy, and
name recognition are good beginnings to showing our customers our
appreciation. Additionally, letting them know that we are glad that they
have chosen to do business with us conveys a positive message. A fast-food
restaurant has a sign in its drive-through lane that says, “We know that
you could eat somewhere else; thank you for allowing us to serve you.”

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