eBay and Amazon first launched online shopping in 1995. For the past 23 years, retailers have been struggling against a retail Apocalypse. They have been forced to change at an unprecedented pace to try to keep up with the online shopping trend. We have seen small businesses and big box stores close their doors. All businesses, retail and service industries need to reimagine themselves, evolve to shifting consumer expectations.
Consumers are wanting products and services faster. The challenge faced is how to add the personal touch add met the need for fast efficient service while delivering quality.
“Change is good – it inspires people for betterment and fuels market growth.” (Barr, Forbes.com, 2-26-18)
One way to adapt to this change is to super-serve consumers. Here are 8 ways to super-serve consumers.
1. Be personal
Consumers want to know that a company and their employees care. They crave the personal connection with a business. Recently I reflected on a time when I had a problem with a computer and how frustrated I was when I spent an inordinate amount of time on a never-ending automated telephone loop, ending the call without ever getting a living, breathing person to talk too. On the flipside of that I recalled placing a call and after a few short options, I was able to talk to a live person, explain the problem and was able to get a solution quickly.
The key to being personal is to listen, really listen to the consumer, it is the little things like remembering their name, or remembering the story they shared about a family member or pet that makes an impact and creates devoted customers.
Today consumers both retail and service industries are seeking the personal human touch. They want to be heard.
2. Beat Deadlines
Promise on-time delivery, then deliver early.
3. Make Introductions
With no obvious benefit to you, but a clear benefit to them.
4. Be Clear
Use plain language and not industry jargon.
5. Be Authentic
We are all human and we all make mistakes and errors. Apologize for an oversight and find ways to make the correction extra-special for them.
6. Recognize Loyalty
Provide value at random times to loyal clients without any request or expectation.
7. Solve, don’t sell
If you can solve their problem, do so. If not introduce them to someone who can.
You will solve most of your business problems by spending more energy figuring out how best to understand your customers’ lives, psyches and challenges…deliver delight to their doorsteps. (jonathanfields.com, 7 simple ways to serve-solve-and-delight-customers)
Overall the businesses succeed are the ones that are super-serving their consumers and become a part of their community’s fabric by engaging in the community.
By: Cheryl Viola, Executive Director