The modern world dictates the rules of doing business. Sometimes they are cruel and unjust, onerous and difficult. But each company that wants to succeed in its activities should be customer-oriented. Otherwise, nothing good will come out of its activity.
What is the meaning of client-orientedness?
Client-orientedness is the ability of the company to put the client’s interests above its own. Ideally, any firm should be guided by this principle, and thus to go forward, to become better. Customer-orientated could be either a company or a specific employee. In practical terms it looks so: if you have a choice meanwhile to serve the customer or to drink coffee, the customer-oriented employee always does not choose a cup of fragrant drink.
But is everything so simple? How not to confuse client-orientedness with a simple desire to earn? How do introduce it so that it is clear that you want to benefit the client, and not just looking for his money?
The customer is always…the customer?
If we talk about orientation, it has always been. Even in ancient times, without realizing it, traders tried to bring from overseas the products that were interesting to people. Later, merchants and magnates somehow still tried to attract potential buyers. But the problem was that the market of those times was so poor that people simply had to choose from what they were given. And focus primarily on the interests of the consumer was reduced to a minimum.
The client-orientedness became something special at the beginning of the last century. Then the advertising, competitors, lots of new products and unknown until that time things appeared. And there was particular interest in finding potential customers. After all, if your company doesn’t do anything to lure and attract consumers, it will do the other one.
But this boom was not long and did not happen in all countries. New time dictated a completely different set of rules. And the Soviet Union was a remarkable example of how not to do and to become totally not customer-orientated. Today we can say for sure: if you want to know how not to do, dig into the history of the USSR. For all time of existence, the companies, factories, industries and any industry in this country was absolutely not customer-orientated.
Today most developed countries lead an explicit policy of client-orientedness. Actually, if you look widely, this is a normal feature of a market economy and a developed society. After all, adequate and respecting his money and himself man is looking for a product or service at the place where it is most comfortable for him. And he would never go to the place where the people are rude, hurting his feelings or selling outright trash.
How are the post-Soviet countries customer-oriented? Perhaps, this is a rather complex and controversial issue. Sometimes it seems that they do not exist or employees confuse this concept with others. In any case, if a businessman wants his company to prosper, he doesn’t have to make products cheaper at the expense of quality, to write unfair the label or just brazenly lie to the customers. Sometimes to become really client-oriented you just need to find your audience and customers and understand what they need. Certainly, it is possible to produce elite cheese, focusing on the managers and intellectual class, but you can sell cheap shoes in accordance with the desires of the lower strata of the population. Both in the first and in the second case, it is possible to achieve success. The only difference is that you must understand for whom you are doing that all and why you need it.
Customer-oriented employee: who is he/she?
If you are a manager of any enterprise, even the smallest, you should choose a customer-oriented staff. Sometimes, people have to learn it, but sometimes the motivation of the employee is present at once. No matter where the person works. He can be customer-oriented everywhere and a lot depends on his desire, salary, personal interests and even the character. But such a person can really be helpful to the company and bring it to a good level. It’s best if all employees are focused on the client, but unfortunately, it’s not always real.
All employees can be divided into two subgroups:
- those who fulfill all the orders and standards specified in the Statute of the company. They don’t do anything that can bring harm, strictly do all that is needed, according to “instructions”. But at that moment, when the clock shows lunch or the end of the day, they are ready to go home and completely forget about work. It is quite valuable employees and they are the majority. For example, in the customer service center employee will clearly give the answers to the questions, explain and show everything, but as much as prescribed in his job description. And exactly at 18.00, he will correctly tell you that his working hours had ended and he will gladly help you to solve all issues tomorrow. It seems to be right, but …
- Those who follow all the instructions and have a strict personal motivation on client-orientedness. Such employees can be seen immediately: they are willing to please the customer in all respects, to bend over backward to do everything right and still several times better. Here you go into the store and the worker immediately runs to you, smiling sweetly, asking about your needs and in a few seconds you already have in your hands of a pack of goods that you might like. Moreover, he is doing all that so naturally and tactfully that you are absolutely not confused. It is important not to be too intrusive, sugary and not to overreact.
The company makes the staff customer-orientated. After all, if an employee sees that his work is appreciated and he gets bonuses and rewards, he will work. And he will do it properly and, most likely, it will be in the second case. And if client-orientedness just have to be in order not to lose the job or because “it’s necessary”, then, of course, we can say that the company itself does not motivate its employees.
The customer –oriented company
No single employee will not be able to do the company be prospered if it will not accept the active participation in it. Client-orientedness primarily needs to be a strategy of company management and clearly enunciated, and possibly even recorded.
The company, which is focused on consumers, should understand that in order to have profit, first, it’s necessary to invest. And it may not return soon. Good customer-focused company step by step striving for success, slowly cultivating the market and studying its potential customers. It may take years, but then the firm may indeed be rich, developed and successful.
Many of today’s companies totally forget about their customers, placing the profit at the forefront in any way. And if you produce condensed milk, and add all sorts of supplements and think only about money, then you can be successful and rich. And your products will be even bought if they’re a little cheaper than others. But you are not customer-oriented you are just the owner of the company that is making money. But if you produce good quality milk which can be given to children without any fear, you clearly and specifically indicate the composition on the package and even warn of possible preservatives, you really are a customer-oriented company. Another question is how many companies do that? And whether they are in the domestic market?
Large monopolies and corporations, companies which have long been operating on the market very often forget about the client-orientedness. They simply do not care, because they indeed understood that if you use their services for a long time you either used to, or you prefer them, or you are satisfied with the price or elementary you do not want to change anything. Often for them, it doesn’t make sense at all to focus on the customer if it is a huge company that filled the entire space with its products or services. Another question is how long will these firms keep afloat? But at the same time, do not forget the fact that to reach such heights, they have worked long and hard and perhaps in the early years of their existence they were also small firms that were focused on the customer.
Is it possible to check the client-orientedness?
In which way an ordinary person can understand how is the company or employee client-oriented? And is it possible? Yes, it can be done. For example, to determine the orientation of the employee to the consumer, there are special tests, secret inspections are conducted, specially employed customers and clients come. And many companies in such absolutely simple ways check their employees. As a rule, half of the workers successfully fails these tests, and the other part quite successfully withstands them. But any tests, tasks, and theory will never show the real state of affairs. The check of the client-orientedness of the company or individual employee can only be done in practice.
For example, in order to do everything for the customer, many companies create sites, 24×7 support services and hire special workers who are prepared to meet the customers’ needs day-and-night. The simple test is quite revealing: if you asked a question to the operator of the company or sent an email with the appeal, and it was answered clearly, quickly and they solve your problem, and even apologized, so the interests of clients are really important for them. And if your request is ignored or answered with contempt, and even worse if you are given a standard, meaningless answer, so the company does not care what happens with consumers, run from such firm away: it is not customer-orientated.
What should the Manager do?
Any adequate boss wants his company to be customer-focused. It will bring him a profit and attract customers. But how to make it so that the desires always are meeting the possibilities and it is really good not only in the mind of the leader but also in practice? To do this:
- To introduce a motivation for employees. It may be bonuses, vacation packages or any other reward.
- The Manager must serve as an example to show how employees should work and what is client-orientedness in practice.
- Good high salary is always the best motivator.
- It’s necessary to recruit staff, not only on the basis of experience and education. You can conduct a variety of tests to look for really active and motivated employees who are interested in the result.
- Choose those workers who have specialized education relevant to the work of your company. After all, it is foolish to hope that the teacher will understand what needs to be done in order to attract customers to the bank. And if the person initially chooses the profession, there is a greater chance that he likes what he does and he will do it well.
- Think about your customers not as “cash bags” or “walking profit”. Let them be for to you just the people who like you have the right to good quality goods and services.
Client-orientedness in the modern world can be one of the keys to success and prosperity. But do not confuse it with trading with the customers, insolent sweet lies or a basic desire to make money. The only company that really, in fact, is focused on the potential consumer can be successful. Only those employees who have sufficient motivation can be customer-oriented. Yes, sometimes it’s very difficult. It happens to take years to learn it. But, believe me, as soon as you understand what it is, you’ll like it and make it a feature of the company.