At the heart of every business is the customer. Success can be as simple as whether a company can earn more customers and keep the existing ones.

Below are some stats to remind us how important customers are: (source)

  • Acquiring a customer is five to six times more costly than keeping a customer.
  • Happy customers tell at least four others about a positive buying experience. 
  • Unhappy customers tell as many as 12 others about a bad experience.
  • Only one out of 25 dissatisfied customers will complain directly to you.
  • The average company loses 10% of its customers annually.
  • Customer profitability rate tends to grow over the life of a retained customer.

With only one in 25 customers complaining, it's incredibly important to listen carefully when a customer reaches out, and make the feedback process simple and painless. And given that the internet has armed today's consumer with information and the ability to spread opinions like wild-fire, companies need to prioritize providing exceptional customer service. 

So what do modern customers really want? Insights from Kelly Mooney's book The Ten Demandments: Rules to Live By in the Age of the Demanding Customer shed some light on the topic. 

Here are The Ten Demandments:

1. Earn my trust through respect, integrity, advocacy and quality. Lose the fine print, prove you're on my side - even if that means suggesting a competitor.

2. Inspire me through immersive experiences, motivating messages and related philanthropy. Stand for something meaningful that touches me on an emotional level.

3. Exceed my expectations with uncommon courtesies and surprising services. If you want to capture the hearts and minds of your customers you must exceed their expectations.

4. Stay with me with follow through and meaningful follow-up. Make our relationship stand the test of time.

5. Put me in charge of deciding how, when and where I shop, how I pay, how my personal information is collected, stored, and used and what kind of information I'll receive.

6. Guide me with expert advice, education and information. Boost my confidence, point me in the right direction, filter the noise and anticipate my needs.

7. Give me 24/7 access, from anywhere, at anytime. Companies that care enough to supply their customers with ever present support, service and access do more than simply build goodwill and strengthen relationships — they prove they're in the trenches with their customers and are always ready to help, no matter the time or place.

8. Get to know me — listen, learn and study me, the real consumer, not just data. Climb out of the data mines and interact with your customers the old fashioned way: by listening to them, learning from them, and understanding them — not as demographics but as individuals.

9. Reward me with points programs, special privileges or other worthwhile extras. Make your customers feel exceptionally valued even after they walk out of the door with a full shopping bag.

10. Make it easy with simplicity, speed and usefulness. Give me fewer steps. Think how Pizza Hut remembers your last order when you call and knows where you live without asking for your address or directions.