Effective Customer Engagement

Effective Customer Engagement

The Challenge of Needs versus Wants

There isn’t a brand on the planet that has cracked the code of how to maintain the equilibrium of supply versus demand and keep it there indefinitely. Yes, there are times when a product is the hot purchase of the moment (sometimes for many years) but at some point there will be a change in customer needs or wants and this will translate into the fresh challenge of how to speak to them in as equally an engaging manner, and keep those sales rolling in. So how do you crack the challenge when you’re small, independent and don’t have access to substantial marketing budgets or large scale customer feedback beyond your current network?

Assess What the Customer Expects as their ROI
There are various entry levels that customers will engage with brands at and, if you think about it, a lower price point will naturally result in different expectations than a higher price point investment.

Example 1:
When you purchase a coffee what are you expecting for your investment? If you buy a McCafe drink from McDonalds here in the UK you’ll pay around £1.80 and have several options such as lattes, flat whites or cappuccinos but they don’t currently offer decaf, dairy alternatives or modifications to your order. If, however, you choose somewhere like Costa or Starbucks, you can expect to pay around £1 more for the same size drink but for this additional investment you can select the blend, the milk, extra shots, the temperature…the list goes on as it starts to become a bespoke order. Needs versus wants in this case mean that the customer will be expecting more for their money (their ROI if you like) when they invest in the higher priced drink as they know this brings the options with it that they want while the need stays the same; a hot coffee made well that tastes good.

Example 2:
If you want to buy a beautiful scarf, you’ll factor in what you’re looking for in this particular investment. Is it originality? Price? Size? Ethical production? Material selection? The list goes on and very early on you’ll decide if you want to shop high street, high end or possibly even bespoke. If you shop high street you still have lots of choice, from fast-fashion low cost to recognisable designer brands which will be made from more luxurious materials and cost considerably more. Do you want people to know who made your scarf by selecting a popular design that everyone knows belongs to that brand? If so, you want your return on investment to be a status symbol that you can wear with pride. Do you want your scarf to be from an independent brand that sparks attention because it’s different to what’s typically on the high street? Chances are that you’ll pay more for a luxury scarf from a smaller brand due to the design and production processes involved. In this case, the return on investment will be the expected longevity of this purchase in your wardrobe in return for your commitment to supporting independent design. Happy with the low cost fast-fashion option? In many cases you’ll be happy if it sees you through a couple of seasons and you won’t be too upset if it steadily makes it way out of your accessories selection as something new replaces it.

Remember the General Rule of Thumb
Low level purchases - customers are investing in themselves and purchasing an item that they have selected simply because they want it. 
High level purchases - customers are investing in you! At this price point they are expecting something way beyond a throwaway purchase and are expecting the wow factor, be it an experience to remember, a product made beautifully from start to finish or an investment piece that will remain with them for an indefinite period of time. An excellent customer experience is a must.

What would you say have been your biggest high level purchases? From cars to jewellery, designer bags to houses, we’d love to know what it is that you look for when you are the customer and it’s all about what you want when it’s a significant spend!

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