In the past, many consumers took a “money is no object” approach to shopping because, if they did not have cash readily available, they had several pieces of plastic in their wallet that allowed them to spend (often beyond their means). This was possible because financial institutions were doling out these instruments of commerce in a very haphazard manner to virtually all who looked like they could potentially repay what they spent. Unfortunately, that practice proved to be highly flawed. As a result, the financial institutions that let credit practices run rampant fell like proverbial dominos and took along the world’s economy with them. In the aftermath of this economic carnage, many consumers have had a reality check and have learned that prudence is an important element of commerce. Plainly speaking, consumer behavior has changed and many customers now realize that “if they do not have the money, they should not spend it!”
To counter the economic recession, consumers did a turn-around with many of them cutting out non-essentials. They also began to reassess the need for certain brand name products and services that were not essential to health and well-being. In addition many people made a conscious decision to switch to more generic products that met their needs but had a much smaller retail price.
The impact of such shifts in behavior on service is that customer service representatives and their organizations have been inspired to step back and examine their approach to meeting customer needs, wants and expectations. They are also strengthening their service practices, employee knowledge and skill levels and revamping their policies and procedures.
For ideas and strategies on how to identify and address consumer behavior, get a copy of Customer Service Skills for Success and Please Every Customer: Delivering Stellar Customer Service Across Cultures