The 2 Things Customers Really Want

First is to be treated well. Second is to get the expected result. To help explain these two things, the following scenario will help:

Yetunde wants to withdraw money over the counter from her bank account. We might consider the service to have the following stages, in order:

  • Arrival at the bank
  • Reception at the revolving security door
  • Waiting to withdraw
  • Interaction with the cashier while withdrawing
  • Cash collected
  • Departure

She had gone to the bank and withdrawn money.

Here are the two things customers really want.

1. To be treated well. Customers want to be well treated as they go through the process of getting the product or service they need. Put differently, customers want to feel valued by the organization they are patronizing.

In the scenario above, to be treated well means that: as Yetunde arrives at the bank, she should be made to feel welcomed; the security personnel at the revolving door should greet her well and treat her with respect; she should not be delayed; the cashier should show courtesy and competence while paying her; the Naira notes should not be the dirty and mutilated ones and should be well packed in a good bag convenient for her to take away.

In other words, Yetunde should have a good experience as she interacts personally with the bank, its customer-facing staff, technology and facilities.

Some aspects of customer experience include:

  • The degree of attention received
  • The responsiveness of the organization
  • The flexibility of customer-facing staff
  • Customer intimacy

2. To get the expected result. Customers want to get the result (product or service) that made them initiate product or service acquisition in the first place. In the scenario, Yetunde expected to leave the bank with the money she came to withdraw. That’s the expected result for her.

Hence the two things customers actually want are to get the expected result (product or service) and to be treated well while going through the process required for getting that result.  The customer’s perception of any or a combination of these two things will trigger a set of outcomes: emotions, judgments, and intentions.

Emotions here imply strong mental or instinctive feelings, such as pleasure or frustration, delight or disgust. For example, Yetunde may feel frustrated if she was not able to collect money or even if she did collect, she may feel displeasure if she was not well treated by the cashier.

These emotions lead to judgments. These are opinions that form as a result of customers’ feeling about what they got or how they were treated. Judgments include views about fairness, satisfaction, and perceived value. Yetunde, if displeased, can leave with the opinion (judgment) that the bank is unfair.

These judgments, good, bad or indifferent, will result in intentions, such as the intention to repurchase or not, the intention to tell friends and relative how good or bad the service was, or the intention to complain or not. These intentions may or may not result to action.

Understanding the things customers want is good but paying attention to them with a view to achieving the desired outcome is more important. And doing so will result to a set of positive outcomes like delight, opinion or perception of excellence, and intention to repurchase (loyalty).

Organizations try a lot to find out what their customers want. They do market research, commission ethnographic studies, set up focus-groups, and much more. These are all important, of course. However, if you move away from specific service or products attributes and look at things generically, you will see that customers actually need two things – to be treated well and to get the expected result.

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