This might be a regular word in the IT industry offering products and solutions. The definition states “made or done to order for a particular customer.” Today, custom-made is cut across the industry fitting to customer specifics.
Just imagine a customer walking into a restaurant and reading through the menu, and calls on the waiter to order something that’s not part of the menu. The Customer doesn’t take NO for an answer if you are really keen on customer service. If it is not listed on the menu, then better cook it – that’s the sense of service in the industry. This is just an analogy that can be applied to any vertical or horizontal.
There is no ‘one size fits for all’ – all these might sound cliches, but the spotlight is back on the customer beaming more brightly than ever before. The customer is king. True, if not for the customer, what will happen to business eco-system? Who drives business? If not for the patronage of the customer, who pays the bills – and that includes salaries.
“We got to think more along the lines of doing something exclusively for the customer.”
The distinct factor and differentiator in an industry dominated by the best in business is your ability to make the customer feel special. Right from sundry stuff to sophisticated schooling, think more along the lines of doing something different that is exciting and exactly meets the customer's requirement.
Interestingly, training too have seen the swing when institutions go out of the way to offer tailor-made training, which is unique and inimitable to the customer in the picture.
The engagement has gone one-notch above. Now customers brief a scenario to exact a solution. It’s like turning a use case into an application – which may sound like an exaggeration. Not anymore.
In a recent inquiry, a customer came out with a specific need that was not part of our offering. In fact, they pinned the scope so neatly that the subject sought was close to 'cherry picking' and bundled as one course, and refusal to entertain their inquiry will make them shift and shop elsewhere. So, what do we do? Either make them understand, which they wont or find some middle ground where both of our objectives are met.
“You must be willing to go as far as you can”
Today, the choice for a customer has grown manifold. If you aren’t ready, move aside, and the next one in line will be inquired. So to a bag a business order, that connects directly or loosely, it’s both important and imperative to make most of the opportunity and drive hard for a closure. It will be foolhardy to dismiss with a ‘sorry, we don’t have that in our catalog”. The missed opportunity could cost us dear. From experience, its always the missed opportunity prove to be the worst casualties. Unless it's completely beyond your strength, you must be willing to go as far as you can. Chances aren’t easy to come by these days with competition throttling and scuttling at the first instant possible. Customer service is evolving. The service provided will be the game changer and excellence will result in the clincher.
One of our customers had an interesting anecdote. He was visiting a gift shop to buy something in particular. The shop owner heard his order, and declared his helplessness as “not available’ and turned his attention to the news on television. The customer moved on to the next door, which too was a gift shop, and that owner too didn’t have the article, but instead of flatly refusing with a ‘No’, he was interested to offer the customer with alternatives of ‘maybe you would like this or try that one.” The spirit of engagement impressed the customer, and even more impressive were the choices presented that the customer never thought of, and in the end, he purchased one and promised to come back. While leaving the shop, he looked at the previous shop and noticed the distinct difference in entrepreneurship. One was willing to go way go way beyond, while the other just sat and did nothing much. The customer left a thank you note to the shopkeeper saying “that looks like it’s just made for me”.
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