People are typically more vocal about what they don’t want than what they do want. Your business needs to be sensitive to what customers are trying to communicate when they state their preferences.
Make a Choice
Imagine you had to choose one of the following:
- Being forced to do something you hate
- Not being able to do something you love
Which would you prefer?
Odds are you’d elect to not do something you love. Sure you’d be disappointed, but at least you would avoid doing that one thing you despise.
Listening to Customers
Your customers will express their likes and dislikes to you in various ways. They speak with their actions, buying habits, or product selection. They may even tell you “I like this” or “I don’t want that.”
Are you listening?
You should listen very carefully. Why? Because people are more adamant about what they don’t want.
If you turn around and deliver something they told you they didn’t want, they are prone to be very unhappy about it.
This summer we hired a contractor to deliver a logo for us. During the process we explicitly told them that we didn’t want or like certain items. Imagine our surprise when they returned with logos that incorporated the very things we didn’t want!
When Not to Listen
There is, however, a flip side to handling customer preferences. You have to temper your customer’s desires with your expertise. Often times your customers may be saying one thing, but they don’t really know what they want. You, as the expert, will need to explain why the best solution may contradict their preferences.
The key to using your expertise is to do so before you deliver the product to the customer. You need to share your rationale and logic up-front so that the customer agrees with what the final product will or will not include.
You’ll need to tread carefully with customer’s preferences. If you mess up, they will surely dislike you and be all the more likely to share that bad experience with their friends and family.