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November 2019
7 Min
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Your customers want to overpay

Artem Petrusenko

Client Service Manager. Process improvements, KPI’s management, customer serice enhancement

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Nowadays сonsumers are harder to find, attract and please like ever before. In complex and competitive environment manufacturers and retailers need to make every effort to create a quality product and service. 

We have conducted marketing research in eight European countries to determine whether the standards meet customer expectations. Scheduling company has conducted research of more than 1,000 respondents who own cars that are refueled at least once a week. We surveyed them basing on their customer journey and their experience with the most popular gas stations in Europe – the TOP 11 over the past 3 months.

We have identified the main reasons why car owners choose this or that fuel station. Among them, the most popular were the following:

  • High-quality fuel;
  • Convenient location;
  • Price;
  • Service.

Marketing researches of the last years show that for many companies improvement of service quality becomes a more effective tool for increasing sales and profit volume than marketing, promotion or advertising.

  As a result of our survey, 56% of respondents are willing to pay more by 10% for excellent service.

Requirements for the service are based on the needs of a client.  There is a great variety of qualifications of clients’ needs, but in most cases, they are reduced to rational (functional) and emotional. In order to satisfy the first type of needs, a person needs to buy a product or receive a service to provide himself with a necessary tool for life. Functional needs are key indicators of motivation. If a person needs to go to another city, he or she will be the first to fill up in front of the road and thus, satisfy his or her functional need.

If the motivation to buy a product is not a functional need, but an opportunity to express oneself, it is about the emotional needs of the client. The emotional needs of the client now come first, if a consumer is guided by emotional experience when buying a product or service. It is no longer enough for a consumer just to fill up. In order to turn a trip into a positive emotional experience, it is necessary to have a pleasant smell in the salon, to play music/ radio and to have a chance to take a break and drink some coffee. All these details make the trip more exciting and the consumer – happier.

In order to correctly determine the needs of your customers, it is necessary to:

  • Find all possible ways to connect with customers;
  • Identify approaches to consumer impact;
  • Use methods to increase loyalty.

What can fuel station owners do to improve their interaction with their customers? Make the quality of your service as noticeable as possible. The quality of service should be distinctive.

As far as quality service is an effective sales tool, it provides a sustainable competitive advantage. It is often the only competitive advantage that an industry company has, where many companies offer essentially the same products or services.

How can one stand out among such similar gas stations?

  • Exclusivity – a product, created specifically for a certain segment (a driver of a certain make of car/ passenger/ child).
  • Narrowly specialized segment (few customers pay a lot) – an expensive product that can satisfy the needs of a small but solvent audience.
  • Wow-effect. It is directed on anticipation of expectation and increase of loyalty of clients. If you were the first to surprise a client with a unique offer with the correct introduction, your client experience will be remembered and can create a positive reputation. 

There is a stable tendency: if your client is satisfied with the services he expected to receive – just you and him will know about it. But if you don’t meet his expectations, the whole internet will know about it. A dissatisfied customer will definitely report your mistake to other people. No matter who actually was guilty, it will be exactly your reputation to be spoiled.

Customers love the variety of services and additional features. To differ from your competitors, you need special points that will be fundamentally different from others and will be useful for your customers.

Before working on the points, deeply and professionally analyze the situation in your company. Marketing research will help you to do this. So you will save money and competently form the perception of the brand in the consumers’ eyes.

The main requirements when choosing a gas station are the convenience of location, price/quality ratio of gasoline, cleanliness, and quality of service.

Of course, we do understand that the quality of fuel is important. This is a natural fact, because, first of all, when building a customer-oriented company, the quality of the product should not cause any doubts. But to date, this is not a WOW-effect. The further away, the more related services and quality of service create additional conditions that influence the choice of drivers. 

Additional attributes at gas stations arrangements are:

  • Clean and spacious bathroom;
  • The opportunity to leave a car in the parking lot under surveillance;
  • Wi-Fi/ opportunity to charge the phone.

The location has become a determining factor for drivers in our case. The quality of service, including additional services, rounds out the top three main factors influencing the choice of filling station. This indicator clearly demonstrates the tendency of the last years to the owners of gas station chains: the service developed at a high level attracts a much larger number of customers, and is a competitive advantage. 

The WOW-effect is still with the service!

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