What Makes Customers Tick?

By October 30, 2018 March 19th, 2019 Evolve Insights

As it appeared in the Daily Nation on October 30th 2018
Dr. Lucy Kiruthu

What makes a clock tick? The battery – not quite. If you put a new battery into a faulty clock, it will not tick. One can find out what makes a clock tick by looking at it from the inside out and understanding how it operates. What about customers, what makes them tick? What inspires them to behave the way they behave? What motivates them to keep coming back to us, or refer others or to never return? Do businesses have the ability to make their customers tick?

One of my regular saying is that “customer are people first”. To understand what it means to tick and what makes customers tick we first need to understand what makes people tick. By “tick”, I mean what causes someone to behave in a certain way. As people, we are all so different and we behave in numerous diverse ways. What motivates me to behave in a certain way might not motivate the person next door. Our behaviours are influenced by many factors including our personality. What motivates us or drives behaviour is deep-rooted in our emotional state and it is not always logical. The same applies to customers; something deep down us pushes our behaviours as customers. In addition to getting value for our money, something else makes us tick. I believe that as customers, we are motivated by our own self-interest; we like to feel wanted, recognized and appreciated to mention just but a few.

Study after study shows that customers who are emotionally connected to a brand from the inside out express higher levels of satisfaction and loyalty. It is no wonder that the most successful brands aim to create an emotional connection with their customers. Such brands know how to connect with their customers and thus positively influence their behaviour. Unfortunately, many business owners and leaders do not seem to understand the value of connecting with their customers. As a result, they make no effort to connect. Smart companies aiming for repeat purchases should make every effort to connect with their customers. Collecting data helps companies understand what their customers value. We can use this data to better connect with our customers and keep them coming back for more.

When was the last time you collected data from customers or from the frontline staff? How many in retail play back a video and gain insights on why a customer behaved the way they did? In their interactions with businesses, there are basics that customers generally consider important. Having conducted a number of customers’ insights studies, I have identified a number of basics that make customers tick. These are accessibility, value for money, effectiveness of the communication as well as reliability. In particular, the product or service should have the ability to meet the perceived customers’ needs in a seamless and painless way.

If we wish to make customers tick, we must engage more with them and make customer focus our strategic priority. First, seek to understand their pains and values, then, give them viable solutions to alleviate specific pains and meet expectations. Customers’ expectations are shifting in the blink of an eye. This requires regular customer insights. We must therefore listen more keenly to what our customers are saying and determine what motivates their behaviour. When we understand our customers, we get to know what makes them tick and plan better!

Dr. Lucy Kiruthu is a Management Consultant and Trainer. Connect via twitter @KiruthuLucy