Customer Orientation

The ability and willingness to find out what the customer wants and needs and to act accordingly, taking the organization’s costs and benefits into account.

is respectful to customers, no matter how unreasonable their demands or complaints are
shows his/her willingness to come to a solution
aims for a win-win situation
recognizes opportunities to inform clients of his/her services, anticipates future needs

makes a thorough inventory of the client’s needs and wishes by asking further questions
informs clients about solutions that meet their needs
translates the client's wishes into the organization's products and services
makes sure the client is satisfied and renders extra services when necessary
listens carefully and makes sure the client feels heard and important

looks at the organization through the eyes of the client and his needs; makes improvements accordingly
is aware of the clients' interests and needs and anticipates them
demonstrates the advantages of his/her services to the client
is clear about the organization's products and services and looks for alternatives with the client when necessary
is honest about the limitations of his/her services and takes the trouble to refer the client elsewhere

is aware of the needs and problems of specific client groups
develops strategic approaches to various client groups now and in the future
builds relationships with organizations representing certain clients to hear what they have to say
comes up with new ways of how to approach clients now and in the future

Customer orientation can be easily developed if the candidate has a more than average score (7,8,9) on the drives Helpfulness, Sociability & contact and Social empathy.

What can you say about a difficult customer you encountered recently? Why was he difficult? What did you do to satisfy the customer?
Some customers have unreasonable demands. When did you last encounter such a customer? Why did you find his demands unreasonable? What did you do eventually?
Which traits are important in order to interact well with customers? To what extent do you have those traits? To what extent could you train yourself to obtain these characteristics?
Could you describe a situation in which you dealt with a customer ineffectively?
When was the last time your boss criticized the way you deal with clients? How did you earn this criticism? How did you respond?

Inform your client of your proceedings.
Promise less than you deliver (underpromise and overdeliver).
Be clear about the services you provide.
Ask customers what they expect from you and ask them afterwards whether they are satisfied with your service.
Try to exceed your customer’s expectations.

Simulate a situation in a role play in which a difficult customer files a complaint and see how the candidate reacts. Provide feedback afterwards. Does the candidate understand? Does he listen? Does he try to solve the customer’s problem? Does he indicate he will do whatever it takes to prevent the same thing from happening again? Encourage your candidate to realize that the customer makes his organization work and therefore deserves a central position in his mind.
Make sure that your candidate listens carefully to his customers. Confront him when he does not listen to you carefully and draw a parallel to customer relations.
Explain the importance of knowing the customer’s expectations and the notion that it is better to promise less and to deliver more (underpromise and overdeliver).
Ask the candidate how he could improve his service towards clients and discuss these ideas. Ask for specific and concrete improvements.
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