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ARTICLESCustomer Focus


'There is no such thing as a commodity' - Theodore Levitt, professor , Harvard Business School.

As intriguing this may seem, this is the fact. There is no such thing as a commodity. Customers do not buy a product. All they buy is the satisfaction they derive from a product.

It is said, for all the millions of products and services sold in the world, each and every customer will part with his money for only 2 basic requirements that he needs addressed.

    • Good feelings
    • Answers or solutions to problems

    If you meet these core requirements you satisfy him and satisfied customers will buy. Hence ...

    • Don't sell him a car. Sell him speed and safety, pride and pleasure
    • Don't sell him a house. Sell him comfort, contentment, security and pride of ownership.
    • Don't sell her clothes. Sell her a smart look, style, attractiveness.
    • Don't sell toys. Sell joy and happiness to the children and their parents.
    • Don't sell them things. Sell them satisfaction.

    It is important to remember that people buy emotionally and justify the purchase logically. In most cases people don't buy what they need, they buy what they want. And wants are based on good feelings and answers to problems. 

    You need a house but you want it to have a spectacular view. You need food but you want to have a Russian salad. You need transportation but you want that sports car. When a want takes priority over a need all plausible logic can be applied to possess it. Stretching budget will seem sensible. The color is just perfect. It is hand embroidered. And of course the classic one 'It was on sale'.

    Imagine 2 customers walking out of an electronic showroom. Both look proud and delighted with their purchase. Both needed to listen to music but one bought a system costing AED 18,000.00 because of its excellent power output, aesthetically designed speakers, brand name, international warranty. While, the other, who looked even more thrilled, purchased a system costing AED 2,535.00 and a DVD player taped to the carton. Given his budget and living space, his wants were more than met, for he got a DVD player free. While they purchased their respective music systems both walked out with satisfaction loaded in their trolleys.

    If satisfaction is what customers buy, don't you think companies are way off on their business concepts and practices? Today, organisations compete with one another with their product, prices and freebies, completely ignoring the customer and his basic requirements. They are so engrossed looking within, on how best to lure a customer than to reach out, understand and answer his basic requirements. They are more focused on selling rather than helping him buy. The end result maybe the same but, the way you look at it makes a world of a difference between success and failure in the long run.

    While problems are answered by a product, good feelings are addressed when they touch the customer in 2 key areas. One is in the form of the tangible such as the product, and the other is thru the intangible with exceptional service and recognition to the customer. While the first good feeling can be derived from any establishment so long as you get the product, the second good feeling is exclusive to the establishment. It is an experience that is unique to the place. It is that excellent service acting as a topping and heightening his experience. It is when satisfaction from a product moves up to delight with service. 'Something that calls for the personal touch'.

    With our 2 satisfied electronic customers, what would be their experiences had they to purchase their music systems and walk out happily into obscurity, as against getting all the attention from the salesperson and the establishment. A 'thank you and do come again' after the purchase. A smile from the cashier and request to keep the receipt safe for warranty purposes. The balance amount received as crisp notes. A friendly and efficiently managed delivery counter. An acknowledgement from the security at exit.  Service that registers in the subconscious to repeat a visit should they need another electronic gadget.

    If customers only buy satisfaction then, sprinkle some service and ensure they get delighted and lure them to come back for more.



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