In What Customers Really Want, McKain argues that the experience of the customer is the most important aspect of a business transaction. Regardless of what type of business you are involved with, McKain believes that a good experience trumps everything else. He follows that up with several other areas in which a business’ fail to meet customer expectations.
The one major shortfall of this work is in this: McKain underestimates the power of commodity pricing. He argues that you cannot compete with Walmart and that you should not even try. In fact, he argues that it is the Walmart experience that brings people back. The price is what drives Walmart’s business, not the experience. If I had enough money, I would never shop at Walmart. Walmart tends to be dirty and the employees are rude. Why do I go back? I can’t afford to shop at the nicer stores. McKain seems a bit oblivious to this fact.
Now, is price the final motivator for me in a purchase? No, quality is the most important factor. I want to get the best value for my dollar and I think that most people agree. Walmart manages to balance price and quality in the right proportions for most people.
Still, I want to recommend that you read this book. McKain details some excellent insights regardless of this blind spot. Many business’ claim capitalism and then act like a dictatorship. The business tells the customer what the customer wants. Business’ do this by not listening to customer comments, by the choices they make in which products they stock and don’t stock, and by rewarding certain behaviors. How about running your business under capitalistic philosophies? Ask the consumer what he wants and give that to them…. Let’s face it: the customer knows what they want. If we don’t waste time of trying to convince the customer to buy something that they do not want, we can spend the money on making what they do want even better.
If you are in business anywhere, this is a profitable book. Even if all this book does is jog your memory or inspire a line of thinking, then it was worth reading. Unlike some business books, this is an easy read and every chapter is profitable.