Imagine going to a hamburger fast food restaurant with only one option. Why only one? The restaurant thinks everyone is the same (i.e., customer homogeneity). It makes life easy for the staff and the customer.
For the customer, there is no confusion because there is just one choice: a hamburger and cola. As for the restaurant itself, there is only a need to buy a handful of ingredients, and the cooking is simple: just one style of burger and the drink.
The interaction is limited: the staff takes your order, gives you the meal, and you leave. The whole process becomes automated and robotic. That’s because you don’t get to talk with one another.
The concept sounds good: it’s straightforward and uncomplicated.
Yet, one glaring issue with the above scenario is that people aren’t all the same.
Needs and wants – the differentiating factor
Everyone is the same at a basic level when it comes to needs. Using the example in the introduction, customers go to the hamburger restaurant because they are hungry. A shared need fits in with the concept of customer homogeneity: all the customers want a meal.
However, the wants are where homogeneity breaks down. One customer may want extra cheese in their burger; another wants coffee instead of cola; another wants extra pickles and a different sauce.
Now there is a problem with the restaurant as it never considered catering to the personal desires of its customers. It told everyone that people just wanted a simple burger of a pattie, a slice of cheese, tomatoes, pickles, and some mustard.
Interacting with customers
Businesses that think they know better than their customers don’t stay around long. It limits the interaction with the customer. Telling customers what they need and want rather than asking them is bad business. How long do you think our hamburger restaurant will remain open?
Breaking down the walls of customer homogeneity
In reality, many businesses are like hamburger restaurants. They only offer a single product—for example, Norton’s with its antivirus software or a photographer that focuses solely on wedding photography.
Your product or service meets the need of your market. It was designed for that, yet it’s not a one-size-fits-all approach.
To ensure that you provide your client with what they want requires communicating with them:
- Ask them what they love about you.
- Find out what frustrates them regarding your product or service.
- Are you truly listening to what they want?
- How willing are you to customize your product or service?
- Do your customers suggest innovative changes that you never considered?
With the initial contact, does the support staff treat the customer as a clone of the previous customer? Is the phone script all the same no matter where along the sales funnel your customer is? How do you identify the unique wants of the customer?
Segmenting your clients
When you identify the wants of your clients, you can start to divide them up into segments. Using the hamburger restaurant example, again, you have customers that want a cheeseburger and juice; others want a vegan burger and water; another group wants extra pickles and a large order of fries.
You only get this information by asking your customers what they want. Then you can split them into groups.
Segmenting your client base into groups does lead somewhat to customer homogeneity. That’s because you have divided your clients into common collections of wants and needs.
Homogeneity, which leads to higher customer satisfaction
Now that you have split your customers into groups, you can react quickly to a particular customer. That’s because you now have knowledge that allows you to meet their unique desire.
You can segregate the information so that support is based on a group’s homogeneity. For example, someone familiar with your product may want technical assistance, whereas a new customer wants to know about additional features.
This kind of information is obtained through your customer interaction. That begins with the initial contact with the customer, continues throughout the sales journey, and extends to post-sales support. Don’t be scared to get input from your customers.
Delivering the right support
Customer satisfaction comes as a direct result of the support you provide. Offer the wrong support, and your customers will let you know. Customer homogeneity allows you to offer the proper support to the right customer.
This support comes via:
- Staff training
- A well-designed sales manual
- Relevant information across all your support channels
When interacting with your customers, your staff needs to be empathic and compassionate. With these abilities, the team is better equipped to identify what support the customer needs and offer the appropriate advice.
Through proper training, your support team can quickly determine which homogeneous group the customer belongs to.
In regards to customer satisfaction, your client has their query resolved promptly.
Each section of your sales manual can be dedicated to delivering the necessary support for specific points in the sales funnel. It’s the reference guide that allows your team to provide outstanding service.
Your sales manual shouldn’t be a static document. Constantly update it so that your support remains relevant.
Your Customer Relationship Management needs to have the ability to segment your customers. Also, it has to be able to be updated in real-time. That will allow users to get a snapshot of the customer’s sales journey (and whether to move them into a different group).
Additionally, your CRM has to allow for detailed note-taking by your support staff. That gives others a comprehensive understanding of any unresolved problems needing follow-up.
FAQs on your site can that allow be subdivided into areas of support:
- More details about your product for customers considering your product/service.
- Simple how-to guides designed for clients who have just come on board.
- Detailed user guides cater to individuals who love to get under the hood.
- Information about add-ons/additional features that enhance your clients’ experience.
Just like your sales manual, your FAQs should be one digital asset that is regularly revised and updated.
Gone are the days when a customer only had one way to contact a business – the telephone. Although this is still a valid means of customer service (there is a personal touch with phone calls), omnichannel support allows customers to get help 24/7.
However, customers are fussy and don’t want generic answers. They have problems that they consider unique and want specific support.
As mentioned, FAQs are one way of providing detailed self-help that allows customers to find the solutions themself.
Other channels can be:
- Social media
- Online forums
- E-mail support
- Peer support groups
Whatever channel(s) you use, ensure that your clients receive relevant information based on their current needs.
Understanding customer homogeneity leads to satisfaction
At a fundamental level, we all have similar needs. That can make it easier for companies to market their product to us or deliver services. However, what we want from the product and service is where homogeneity starts to disintegrate.
One customer wants X while another customer wants Y. If a product/service merely meets a general need without catering to individual wants, customers will be unhappy.
Using wants to categorize your customers allows you to cater to specific desires. You can group customers into those who want X, those who what Y, and those who ask for Z.
Through this, customers are placed into specific homogeneous groups with unique demands according to the group.
Now, you can tweak the support instead of offering generic support to all your customers. What you offer to those in group X differs from those in groups Y and Z. Your customers are receiving the assistance they need. They are happy and satisfied!
All because you have understood that people aren’t all the same.