A constant question, “What do customers want?” Answer: A successful result.
But what’s a successful result? A successful result is when customers get their job done with no hassles.
Let’s unpack that.
There are two parts.
GET THEIR JOB DONE
It is said that no one buys a drill, they buy a hole. What that means is that people don’t buy products and services, they buy what those products and services do for them.
People have all kinds of jobs they need done. Whether it’s cleaning up the garden, managing a leaky basement, or preparing for a job interview, we all have jobs we need done. And the help we need can be gardening tools, a sump pump for the basement, or a new shirt for our interview. We buy, or hire, all kinds of products and services to help us. Helping people to get jobs done is the whole point of business.
Thus, products and services are table stakes. They are what get your business in the game. Without them, there is no reason for customers to seek you out.
But that’s only half of successful results. The second part of our definition is…
Sounds easy enough but there are two components you must understand and both involve effort.
The first component is something called task effort. Task effort refers to anything the customer has to physically accomplish to move forward. These tasks can be anything from filling out a form to making a call to hunting for contact information on your website. Simply put, any time you tell a customer, “you are going to need to (insert task here),” you are causing them to work, that’s task effort.
Component two is known as emotional effort. Have you ever interacted with someone and it was so difficult that you felt exhausted? That’s emotional effort. When dealing with a person who is negative or grumpy or any number of other annoying behaviors, it can take a lot of effort, and that effort can take as much of a toll on you as any physical effort.
But why is effort such a big deal?
WE ARE LAZY
Humans have a natural lazy streak, and regardless of how productive and hard working you may be, we all have this. You see, our brain’s first priority is to keep us alive, and doing that requires keeping a lot of energy in reserve. You never know when you might need to run from a saber tooth tiger for instance. Anyway, due to this, we have a natural inclination to find the easiest route through things. Easy expends less energy. More energy in reserve means a better chance at survival. You get the picture.
While this energy conservation instinct is largely a primal thing, we are still greatly influenced by it. And when we couple that to the entitlement we feel when we pay for someone to help us, any effort we have to expend is even more painful. Thus, the less hassle, the less pain. The less pain, the more happiness. It is quite simple actually.
CREATING SUCCESSFUL RESULTS
So, if you want to create successful results for your customers, you must focus on three essential things.
- Effectiveness: Ensure your offerings, whether products or services or both, are exactly what customers need to do what they want to do.
- Ease: Make all of your processes, products, and places as easy to use as possible. Eliminate as much work for the customer as you can. If you can do it and make it so they don’t have to lift a finger, make it so. Make easy your hallmark.
- Enjoyability: Be sure working with you is an enjoyable thing. That means ensuring your people are friendly and mind their manners. It means seeing everything with a golden rule perspective. If you would not enjoy it, fix it.
The problem here is too many businesses have got the effective part down but fail when it comes to effort. The customer may get their job done, but the effort, whether task or emotional or both, is too high.
You have to be your customer. How much effort is required? Are there tasks? How many? Too many? Is it enjoyable? Is it, gasp, fun? Is the experience something you would not mind doing again? If you cannot honestly answer those questions positively, you will forevermore languish in mediocrity. Your business will never reach its potential.
However, if you can manage to provide what your customers need so they can accomplish what they want to accomplish in ways that are easy and enjoyable, you will grow past mediocrity into that rarefied air of excellence.
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