There must be a REASON for customer loyalty…

There must be a REASON for customer loyalty…

Recent news stories are touting a “retail apocalypse” in progress now. Some are suggesting that brick and mortar stores are facing impending doom because customers are running elsewhere.

The problem is, the reason offered for why they assum customers are bolting for other alternatives is wrong.

My wife, for example, has complained for the past several years about one lingerie retailer filling our mailbox with catalogs — yet delivering an inferior product and experience at the mall. Why should she continue to shop there?

This past Christmas, she and I were shopping for toys for family members. At one retailer, we entered a dirty store to be met by surly employees. Why would we continue to shop there?

Customers aren’t loyal to your building or store. They only become loyal to your customer experience.

In other words, if you chose to deliver an inferior experience to a competitor — whether next door or online — you have decided to gamble on customer loyalty and word-of-mouth.

The arrogance of some businesses — who presume that because they open their doors so customers can encounter untrained employees and crappy merchandise that they deserve repeat business and a break over online stores and other available alternatives– is asinine.

WHY should a customer be loyal to your business?

You used to be able to say, “We’re nearby in their community.” That doesn’t work any more. You could say, “We have the largest selection around.” I’ll bet you can’t win that battle anymore, either.

The ONLY aspect that will drive long-term loyalty from customers is a consistent delivery of the Ultimate Customer Experience.

If you aren’t willing to invest in your business — and in your people — to achieve that goal, it’s NOT a “retail apocalypse.”

It’s that you lost the game you thought you could play the same old way and win in today’s marketplace. You failed to give your customers a compelling REASON to be loyal.

When times change…PEOPLE change!

When times change…PEOPLE change!

  • Most of you reading this probably only know about drive-ins from watching movies that were set in the 1950s or 60s.
  • Do any of you remember when customers had to visit their bank on Friday afternoons to get enough cash to make it through the weekend?
  • And most of you probably can’t imagine what life was like when there was only one television in the entire house and only a handful of channels to choose from.

Now we do not drive-in, we drive through! (And with Uber-eats and other delivery services revolutionizing the way we gain access to meals, have we reached the point where even driving through is too inconvenient?)

Today, you no longer have to stand in line at the bank so the teller could provide you with cash; you can just swipe your card through an ATM. In fact, in many cases, we no longer need to worry ourselves about having cash-on-hand at all. With technology like Apple Pay or Google Wallet, we’re able to purchase what we want without cash or even a credit card – as long as we have our smartphones! (Could ATMs be in danger of going the way of the VHS machine?)

Many homes probably have a TV in every room — and each family member has a gadget that streams movies. In fact, we’ve even grown tired of traditional TV. It’s predicted that by 2020, digital video will surpass TV with 75% of all video content transmitted via the Internet instead of regular television. (When you think about how much more we watch on YouTube or Netflix, could the days of TV dominance be coming to its end?)

You’re probably wondering what this trip down memory lane has to do with your business and your customers…

It means that along with these changing times and evolving technology, people have changed as well. 

As times change, people change.

These people are our customers, and their buying behaviors are impacted by the technological changes that have driven the speed of transactions.

Critical questions for YOU:

  • How do we improve the speed of transactions?
  • What about the delivery of our products and service?
  • How do we do all this while simultaneously enhancing and deepening the relationships we have with customers?
  • How can we repackage our personal styles to appeal to different demographic groups and generations?
  • How do we change our products and services to attract customers and potential employees across a greater demographic and generational spectrum?
  • Do we need to insert more of the “fun factor” to appeal to a generation raised on television and digital media?
  • If all our business training has evolved around economic (rather than emotional) principles, can we compete when the rules of the game change?

For many of us, we need to analyze the ways we can change the way we lead our businesses to keep up with innovation that directly affects customers’ habits.

We should be asking ourselves what we can do to keep up with the speed at which things are changing while continuing to enhance relationships with both our customers and employees.  And, we must still deliver those compelling experiences that make the most significant impact in how they respond to us.

Remember, in today’s world of change; you cannot succeed by working harder on an old plan. You must grow and evolve.

Sunday Sitdown: January 7, 2018

Sunday Sitdown: January 7, 2018

Focusing on your customer’s customer…

Posted by Scott McKain on Sunday, January 7, 2018