This week in MMC5006 I had to define 3 user profiles, and it was interesting to take the time to understand each customer individually.
I had to think deeply (& discuss with Destiny’s owner) about the clients who fall into each category. The one most profound realization is that customers can be predictable and unpredictable at the same time. The challenge in satisfying consumers is pushing them just enough to show that you understand what they expect, and show them that you can change the process, without changing their vision of the end-result. No one wants to be “told” what they want, but if you can make strong suggestions that do not compromise their ultimate goal/image for the project, then you will build confidence with the customer. The ironic part is that once the client has faith in you, you can make changes to the installation, and they are not concerned with whether or not it was the correct decision. The customer understands that you will only make those decisions if it is in their best interest.
Customer #1: The first customer is the hands-off client, and they have little time to consider the minute details. When dealing with a client such as this, the goal is to gain trust quickly because that is how they function. The hard part is gaining his or her trust. Naturally, that makes the first contract with this client the most difficult, and most important. But rarely is it the most profitable (due to concerns about their style). History has shown that this client reaches out to the company after a personal referral because they do not have the time to scour the internet looking for the best choice. Historically, this has proven to be one of the most loyal and promoting clients. The easy part is that this client is often trendy and more flexible on taste. As long as the job is of high quality and the products used are not outdated this client is usually very satisfied.
Customer #2: This is the progressive design client. They are usually one of the most difficult regarding a recurring client. These clients are harder, but they are (generally) one-off jobs. This type of client is sure they know what they want, but will they will make changes throughout the contract. With a customer such as this, it is in your best interest to ignore your own ideas and follow the client’s ideas. Checking with them along the way, because when you follow them exactly, you can charge them for the work (they) added. If your company makes decisions for them and they don’t like it, then you have to eat the labor cost because you chose to give them something they did not want.
Customer #3: This client is usually very easy to deal with when you accept one fact. They know exactly what “style” they want, and nothing else will do. The problem with this customer is finding the products they choose. Often they will find an image in a magazine, or friends home, and together we have to locate some hard-to-find fixture, that may or may not look right in their home. Accepting that they will want to make changes is part of the contract. However, when a customer like this believes in you, they will take your word for it. Often you will see an opportunity to make necessary changes, and they are very appreciative. This customer in not only willing to pay for the job, but they are paying for the service.
In this assignment, I was required to identify 3 types of customers. It is fascinating because we all have stories but rarely do we define the similar types of clients that cause them. In this case, the three most typical clients are featured, there are one-offs such as contracted service calls for rental homes, but even though the home may be the same, there are many turnovers with the resident. Therefore, we simply have to meet the standards of the landlord, not the resident. Ultimately, you can never set pre-existing opinions about a customer because that can cause unneeded judgement. What this recognition is good for is that it allows you to identify the way you should handle any new client.