29 March 2014

Judging a customer by appearance - A Disaster

A Customer is always Right.
A Customer should be respected.
A Customer is God to every business.

Premium Customer
These are some things which are taught at every business school and form the foundation to every marketing and business organization. For any marketing firm to be successful, it is necessary that they value each and every customer. No matter how much one spends on the quality of the product or even on marketing strategies, if the customer is unhappy, then the business fails to flourish. The customer is the one who can lead to the prosperity of a business by a positive word of mouth or even lead a business to collapse if his experiences with the company are a disaster. But is it just about identifying and valuing the right customer?
Consider a premium automobile dealer like a BMW, Mercedes, Honda etc. All the executives undergo a special training to be prepared to take excellent care of the prestigious customers who visit their showrooms. The executives need to have good knowledge of the cars, fluent communication skills and great etiquettes. But what if a customer wearing a shabby dhoti-kurta, talking in his native language walks in? Sometimes the appearance may be false, and the showroom executives may end up causing a bad scene. This is because even though the customer doesn't appear suitable consumer by his dressing sense, he could be a prospective customer as he could be a rich landlord or a wealthy farmer, who has the money to afford an expensive vehicle.  Thus, it is extremely critical for business professionals to understand their customers, and not to differentiate on the basis of appearance by stereotyping them.
A similar situation may happen at service centres like Vodafone, BPL or Airtel, or premium stores like Titan, Hugo Boss etc. A formally and neatly dressed customer might be given preference over another customer who doesn't bother too much about his appearance. This may cause the latter to feel neglected, and through his bad experience, he might influence a lot more customers to discontinue their services. Thus, mere appearance should not be the sole criteria for judging the customers as it may backfire for the company.
Every executive must always make sure he attends everyone at the store and make the customer feel that the customer is more knowledgeable than the executive himself in status and experience, but needs guidance and respect like every other customer like any privileged customer.
'Never judge a book by its cover'.
This famous statement holds a lot of weightage for marketing firms as judging a customer or a visitor at the store merely by his appearance should be avoided, and everyone should be treated with the same dignified, respectful way, so as to keep their noses ahead in competition.

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