Keeping pace with changing expectations
Recently, I decided to make long-awaited revisions to my book “Red Hot Customer Service”, which I wrote several years ago. Once the proofreading and revision process began, it was clear that more than an update was needed; it needed a new title and new content. After all, how could a book about overcoming challenges in business today be written without including COVID-19? In the end, I chose “Red Hot Customer Experience; Challenges Your Business Will Face in the Next Normal.”
This exercise got me thinking… is there a universal “new normal?” I believe that it is up to us as individuals to decide what the “next normal” looks like. The same goes for entrepreneurs; they will have to adapt accordingly to cater to the customer who is in the flooring market and take it from there. If you don’t set your own path, it will likely be dictated by the stronger competitors in your market.
So, what’s the best way to ensure you adapt to the needs of today’s shopper? I asked a close friend and business partner, Paul Dominie, president of sales and marketing at Bella Flooring Group, for his opinion on this. He shared: “One of the many things that remains in any industry is the importance of listening to the needs of our customers. A customer’s concerns are rarely the same; they are forever changing. As technology and new products continue to evolve, we need to spend extra time listening to our customers and acting in a way that suits their needs.”
It’s time to get to know your customers better, inside and out, and be there for them throughout the buying journey. During the day you can answer their questions, but what if you are closed? Don’t we expect 24-hour service? This is the double-edged sword we call technology. In some industries, technology has shifted leverage from the seller and put it in the hands of the consumer. Technology has taught consumers to expect a flawless, hassle-free experience with every transaction.
One thing that remains consistent is that the customer experience remains at the forefront of their purchasing decisions. Remember this: you are not alone; your competition feels the same pressure. But instead of giving in to that pressure, use this time as an opportunity to get closer to the customer by better understanding their needs, wants and expectations.
The practice of yoga – which figuratively presents an extension of surrender – offers another way of looking at it. For example, while performing the Savasana pose, the practitioner is asked to lie on her back, place her weight on the floor and allow the body to relax. All the while you are being asked to maintain your consciousness. If you choose to step back and withdraw from the experience, you are giving up. Essentially, letting go of control and relaxing gives you more strength, while a lack of awareness equals giving up.
So, what’s the bottom line in all of this? Instead of worrying about what you’re giving up to the customer, consider what you might get in return. Remember that few journeys are ever complete without some kind of positive change.
If you’re looking for more tips to improve the customer experience, find me on @TISE Live on the main stage, Wednesday, February 2, 2022, 1:00 PM – 1:30 PM Hope to see you there!
Lisbeth Calandrino has been promoting shopping strategies for 20 years. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org to have her speak at your company or to schedule a consultation
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