The Customer Is King, but It’s Not What You Think

Worshipping the customers like gods in the sake of customer obsession… is misleading
Mocking La Singore backfired?
Maybe all you CAN do is put out your passion and hope the stupid customers love it?
You can be aware of the customers’ perceptions and still not feel guilty for them not liking your content
Stop convinving myself the customers’ appeal/liking are gifts/acheivements that you can feel guilty about if not achieved… or vice versa
Launching many failed businesses is OKAY… nothing to worry about

The customer is the judge… rather than the king. He can be wrong, but he will always decide what goes (his right will be the ultimate right)

In that reddit entrepreneur thread.. treating customers like you like to be treated… it’s bad

Without following the customers likings, introduce something new and interest them they say (on reddit prolly)… the fault in this

When you have this knowledge at the core, you can easily approach/understand/adapt all the other big theories in business with ease/without conflict/without confusion/without headache. I want to ask you to REVISIT every single business theory you have been taught (except ones purely related to finance) and see how the logic behind them can be understood by using customer obsession/DOMINANCE OF THE CUSTOMER’S EMOTIONS.
You can listen to Gary V, Kiyosaki or any other MOTIVATIONAL SPEAKER, read about the Law of attraction or Rich Dad and Poor Dad or even scammy fake gurus without the fear of accidentally getting brainwashed to join a cult or submit/give out your credit card information/social security number.
The main function of those motivational speakers is to amp you up… make you feel like you got to know something new. But does that mean there’s nothing of value to take from them? No. You just have to be really clever to filter it out, and understand them in a real sense.

So what should you do? THIS or THAT? What you should actually do is stop trying to find patterns in other businesses. Because there is no grand theory that fits all successful businesses (except that they all satisfy their customer’s needs in some way). There is no particular TYPE of business that you can start with guaranteed success. The truth of the matter is, every business in unique in its own right. The biggest factor is how well the offerings of the business satisfy the emotional needs of its potential customers. And as you already know, those emotional needs vary from time, region, age, sex, profession, beleifs etc.

Walking Out of an Audi Dealership

How much attention and assistance should the employees of a business place give to the customers who walk in? As much as possible, right? Wrong!

Let me explain.

An older professor at my university once told me a story about how she and her husband visited an Audi dealership to purchase a new car. They had always had Volkswagens and were looking to upgrade.

She said they entered the store and started looking around the cars, waiting for a salesperson to attend to them.

However, they had all been busy talking to the other customers there.

After being ignored for some time, the couple had stormed out, walked across the street to the Volkswagen dealership, and placed an order for the newer version of the same model they had been using.

Now, you can see very clearly how this story does not help the claim I made at the beginning of this article. In fact, it might actually convince you the opposite is true — Audi lost a sale because their salespeople didn’t give assistance to a customer who walked in their doors. An aspiring entrepreneur who reads this story would tell themselves to give attention to every single person who shows interest in their business, because unless, it could cost you valuable sales (which does sound right in your head). It’s so obvious isn’t it? Who wants to give their money to a business that ignores them?

Let’s just assume this is the correct takeaway from this story for the sake of the argument. Let’s assume you read the story, give yourself the above advise and you take it to heart too.

Now let’s imagine you run a sneaker and streetwear store.

You are determined to use this knowledge to improve the customer experience of your store. Right away you start to greet every customer that walks in. The moment a customer starts checking out a product on display, you’re right next to them, offering your assistance.

You sell some stuff that day — maybe just as many as you usually sell in a day, maybe more, maybe less. But you’re excited to follow your new customer service strategy tomorrow as well.

You go home. You have dinner and go to bed. And you start browsing your favorite social media until you fall asleep, as you do.

Since you’re an aspiring entrepreneur, you follow business-related content.

So this post pops up in your feed.

The title of the link grabs your attention. It suggests that you should do the complete opposite of what you have just started doing.

It’s a study done by HRC Retail Advisory in 2018 by polling 2,900 North American consumers.

According to them, “Ninety-five percent of consumers want to be left alone while shopping unless they need a store associate’s help. Many shoppers are moving away from the hands-on, personalized service from store associates, and instead turning to their friends and family via social media to share pictures and gather opinions before they buy, particularly in apparel.”

Of course! What were you thinking? Who wants to shop while being stared at by store employees? You need time to look around before you decide what you want to buy.

So you panic a little bit and think you have been overdoing the attention-giving thing. You feel a bit stupid too because you were not really your normal self today. You wonder how many customers must have you turned away by following them around and making them feel watched?

You conclude that you don’t need to give so much attention and assistance to customers. And you become the most relaxed and laid-back streetwear store in the neighborhood. You only attend to a customer when they ask you for assistance. They can come and hang out as long as they want. You never put any pressure on them to purchase anything. That should make more people come back right?

You practice this philosophy for a day and your store gets the following Google review the next day. You might have to zoom in to read it.

YIKES!

Let’s just assume that Daniella is not acting unreasonably entitled, because she is a “Local Guide” and has 447 reviews under her belt. And the fact that 32 people have approved this review probably mean more people have had similar experiences at your store. Clearly this is bad for your business.

So what went wrong here? Is there no winning? You are just eager to grow your business by providing a good customer experience, that’s all. Maybe you got too enthusiastic and went to two extremes? Maybe the answer is to not ignore customers completely OR follow them around — stay in the middle.

The research did say consumers want to be left alone while shopping unless they need a store associate’s help. So you pay attention to people from afar and jump in to assist them only when they look like they need help — basically what you had always been doing.

——————————–

If a salesperson at the Audi dealership came to assist the couple, they would have definitely bought a car from them.

So, the moral of the story is pay more attention to customers and try to assist each one of them? Well, you would certainly be inclined to think that.

However, that would be extremely misleading advise.

INTENDED EMOTIONAL REVELATIONS: There’s no grand theory that spells out the standard amount of attention to give to customers in a store. There are theories that suggest you should give as much as possible, and ones that say you should let them be. All those theories come from a place of trying to not offend the customer. Sure, we mustn’t offend our customers — it would be bad for business, but if we make it our main goal, we are going to lose sight of what’s more important. Making sales! In order to make sales…

And when you start from there and work backwards…

What type of emotion are you looking to generate in the mind of your customers?

Maybe you want them to feel like they are getting a quick bargain (to get people to make one-time impulsive purchases). Or maybe you want to make them feel like they are free to browse your store for a really long time looking at products before making up their minds. And they can always come back whenever they have time to kill. That’s the kind of feeling some stores depend on to generate sales.

Are you selling a feeling of convenience? Or are you selling a feeling of exclusiveness/prestige?

Although I say attention, what I actually mean is active attention… which can be paraphrased as “assistance”. Therefore, the words attention and assistance will be used interchangeably for the purpose of this article.

Passive attention, where customers are observed without their constant awareness of it (like security cameras, movement tracking for analytics etc) are not discussed in this lesson.

The combined set of emotions that generate sales for your business cannot be summed up in a word or two… it’s very complex. The same type of business can benefit from different emotions in different neighborhoods, times, price points etc. So there is no one-size-fits-all for every store.

Although you can’t always get it right, you can still identify the core emotions that make people spend money at your business place the most. By the way, the emotions that motivate purchase behavior can change from customer to customer as well. So you might observe slight changes between different customer segments as well. Some people like to receive more assistance than others. And when you’re trying to figure that out, the optimal amount of attention you need to give to each customer will reveal itself to you. It’s part of an emotional package that is unique to each store.

Bear in mind, this feeling can change over time.

There’s a reason why you don’t hear stories about someone walking out of a DOLLAR STORE (unlike a car dealership) after being ignored.

How much attention should the employees of a business give to customers who walk in to its stores? As much as possible? Sounds about right, but don’t people hate being followed around and being watched all the time?

Surely that doesn’t mean ignoring them completely is the . Maybe there’s a sweet spot — the right amount of attention that makes people want to shop at your store the most. But how do you know for sure how much that is?

By the end of this lesson you will have the knowledge needed to decide exactly how much attention you should give to your customers visit your store.

It seems to be a never ending puzzle that nobody has answers for. This says give as much as possible, this says to leave them alone.

The answer is in a different approach.

You can find many complaints on the internet about people visiting shops and being ignored by the workers there. Maybe you too have had such unpleasant experiences.

These incidents certainly seem like loss of valuable sales to the business. And when customers talk about such experiences on the internet, more people get negative impressions about the business, which can damage its reputation.

Surely there’s a valuable business lesson to be learned here.

One might think the lesson is that you need to pay attention to your customers and assist them as much as possible (and it does sound right), but surprisingly, that is really not the case. In fact, such advise would be very much misleading.

Why do some shoppers feel like they are being ignored in some stores? How bad is it for a business when that happens?

Have you ever visited a store and felt ignored by the staff there? How did that make you feel? Did you end up spending your money there? And more importantly, did you ever return to that store?

Shoppers being ignored by the employees of a business place can make them seriously angry.

So what can we learn from this? Pay attention to your customers and assist them as much as possible? Well, not exactly. It’s more complicated than that.

It seems that most business owners don’t have a clear idea about how much assistance they should give to customers who visit their stores.


Buying a Brand New Audi

If you have never done it yourself, you must have at least heard stories about people walking out of car dealerships out of anger/annoyance. While it might happen for different reasons like salesmen trying to give you a bad deal, being rude, trying to trick you etc, this lesson is going to be about people walking out because they were being ignored.

If you search the terms “ignored at car dealership” and “ignored at car Walmart” separately (without the quotation marks), the first one will bring you many stories of people

The insecurity that needs to be validated right away (that they are not worthy/are peasants/invalid/poor/no status)
Sounds like missed opportunities from the sales people’s perspective

Off-topic about people going to dealerships dressed like they’re poor
Makes sense not to entertain them from the POV of the sales people? How about if it’s going to be on YouTube? How do you maintain the VIP experience while still entertaining everyone who walks in? How does it depend on the type of business? Loyalty/priority programs? Worth the trouble? Just how many people have boycotted an entire brand/dealership based on one experience? A lot? Whose loss is it really?

Notice how the first paragraphs of this lesson makes absolutely no sense regarding places where you WANT to be ignored. But it paints a picture of stuck up employees who think they’re too good to assist you and makes you think you’re not worthy.

Notice how I avoided taking stores where the owner doesn’t usually leave the cashier to assist the customers (gas station grocery store deli) when taking examples. For those types of stores, following customers around trying to get in their face is an obvious no-no, generally. However, for local shops in close-knit communities, the owner will greet you when you come in and come to your assistance if you call for him. In that context, they’re not playing the typical roles of business owner and customer. They’re basically just friends. The distance is absent.