As a consumer, do you ever remember a time when you had so many choices? There are options for everything! Think about how many grocery stores are within a 10 mile radius of your home. How many drug stores or pharmacies are nearby? Is there a bank or credit union on every corner? Advertising messages are coming at us from every angle and the “noise” in the marketplace is deafening.
Now go from the macroscopic view of the marketplace to the microscopic view of the brands we have to choose from. The last time I needed to buy laundry detergent, there had to be dozens of choices for me, as a consumer, to consider. Laundry detergent isn’t the only product that sends the consumer into analysis paralysis! Seems every product and service on the market has its share of competition – and lots of it!
The point of this line of questioning is to get you to stop and think – as a consumer- about what it is that makes you loyal to a business or brand. What do they do that keeps you coming back for more? For most of you, the answer will be service since little else differentiates businesses in today’s marketplace. The businesses and brands that strive to keep the customer at the center of their focus will be the ones capturing the lion’s share of the business out there. Providing a service oriented approach – in other words, constantly asking yourself – “Is there anything more I can be doing to make my customers’ lives better (easier, simpler, etc.)?” – will create an environment of doing business with your customers that will make them eager to engage in their next transaction with you.
As a business leader, take the lessons you learn from each of the companies you patronize and the brands that have captured your loyalty and begin to transfer their customer retention strategies to your business. Keep in mind that it’s important to have a solid customer service plan in place that is clearly communicated to each member of your company and don’t forget to mystery shop several times a year to ensure that your plan is being followed. Your customers will be sure to let you know if you are on the right track when it comes to getting their repeat business!