Top-Shelf Tip No. 14:

"The goal as a company is to have customer service that is not just the best but legendary."

Sam Walton

Customers: Blink And They're Gone

It's Monday, post-PPAI Expo. As you sip your coffee and rest your feet from walking the miles of aisles, join Promotional Consultant Today in celebrating another successful PPAI Expo. This week, we'll feature more insights from the amazing and informative education sessions presented at Expo, beginning with David Avrin, CSP, a consultant, business author and expert on the topic of customer experience. Avrin's presentation, Blink & They're Gone! Why Today's Customers Are Leaving You For Competitors And How To Win Them Back, was one of the Power Keynotes on Education Day.

The biggest source of lost revenue for your business is the prospective customer you never knew about. They clicked away without buying. They hung up the phone before you ever got a chance to talk to them. They drove by, but didn't stop, or they came in and left without being engaged. And the worst part about all of this, is that you have no idea who these people areor were.

We live in an extraordinary time. Not only has the number of marketplace options exploded in recent years, but the quality of those choices is at new level. In short, everyone is good. What? You don't agree? Wake up! Great choices are everywhere, even the choice to not buy at all. Granted, there will always be lesser players in any market, but for many consumers, "good enough" at a lower price point is a great choice. In short, we might like you, but we certainly don't need you.

The explosion of choices combined with the pervasive reach of the internet has created populations of impatient, intolerant and impulsive consumers. We (they) want what we want, when we want itand we can generally get it. Those businesses that can deliver for us, will win the business; that is, until someone else can do it better, faster, cheaper, or closer, more memorably or differently.

This is not to suggest that the concept of customer loyalty is dead, it's just much harder to earn and sustain today. That's why businesses get away with charging $10 for a basic hamburger at an amusement parkbecause we are a captive audience. There are no other choices. But in the "real world," we can choose to eat out anywhere, or stay at home and have a bowl of cereal.

Take a step back in your business and look not just at your value proposition and the customer experience you offer, but at all the choices your prospects have and where you fit in. People are not making buying decisions in a vacuum. They are not deciding whether or not to do business with you. They have a need and vast array of options to meet that need. They are looking at everyone. You have to win that battle for their time, attention and dollars. You have to be a better choice.

Think of all the things that you hate about doing business with othersand not just in your category. Why do you hang up, walk away, click away or decline to buy? Look at your customer experience at every touch point along the entire sales cycle. Are you easy to do business with? Can customers talk to a real person when they need to and are they getting the answers they want. In short, would you like doing business with you?

"Hey look! There is another prospect about to leave." Don't blink.

Source: David Avrin, CSP is a popular branding and customer experience keynote speaker, consultant and business author. He is the author of the celebrated business book, It's Not Who You Know, It's Who Knows You! (Classified Press) and his latest, Visibility Marketing (Career Press), is available worldwide.

Compiled by Cassandra Johnson



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