Back in 1995 there was a rallying cry that, “The Internet changes everything!” It took a while for that slogan to become reality, but we certainly see the impact today. And one thing the Internet definitely changed was the way we do business. For one thing, some studies indicate that 65 percent of all purchases now start with an online search.
But shifts in the way business is done aren’t just about technology. What technology has done is to put customers in the driver’s seat. And customers are telling businesses how they want to be treated—and how they don’t. And one of the things customers don’t want is for businesses to use new technologies to shove old (sales) messages down their throats. You see, it really doesn’t help you to use things like blogs, Twitter, Facebook, or Yelp! If you’re still using them the way you used space ads, radio, TV, and direct mail. Regardless of how you interact with your customers, here’s what customers want.
Honesty. Don’t make promises you can’t keep. Not everybody is your customer. If what you offer doesn’t really fit their need, don’t tell them it will—and help them find what really works. They may recommend a friend to you who needs exactly what you offer.
Promptness. Not every business/industry operates with the same sense of urgency. But respond to your customers in an appropriately quick manner. It shows that you value their time and consider them important.
Help. “It’s all about the customer” shouldn’t be your slogan—it should be the way you do business. Your job (and your success) depends on helping customers achieve their goals. You’re there to serve them—not the other way around.
Expertise. Sometimes what you know is more valuable than what your product is (and sometimes it is your product). You need to stay ahead of the curve on new developments in your industry—and you need to share your knowledge in a helpful way. You don’t have to give away proprietary knowledge, but you can share basic information that will help your customers make wise decisions.
Results. Your customers don’t want to be “busy” doing things. They want results. You’re products and services need to deliver measureable results.
Do these things sound a little non-technical and old-fashioned? These are the things that we’ve focused on at TMR Direct for 40 years—and now we bring the latest technologies to bear on them. We try to treat our customers the way they want and deserve to be treated.
Are you technology focused or customer focused? How are you treating your customers?