Learn How to Adapt
The world of business has changed in the last few years, and we are never going back to “the good old days.” Those days are gone and companies must learn to adapt to the way things are now.
Make the Changes Now
You don’t have time to think about changing. It’s either keep up or get out of the way because someone else is going to run you over as they pass you by. Your competition is changing to meet the needs of today’s customers. Will you keep up?
Think about the companies that used products that are now considered unsafe. Whether they have been made illegal or not, the customer perception is that you shouldn’t use those chemicals. So, what do you do if that was the basis for your business? You find a new way to do business and right away before your company gets a bad name. You stop making those products immediately and move onto to something else if you want to stay in business.
It’s Do or Die
A survey commissioned by a large company discovered that out of 750 small businesses, over half had reinvented their companies in the past two years. They are doing this to stay competitive in an economy that has changed the way business is conducted. They have to change what they are doing or how they are doing it in order to make money.
Businesses may change their products or add to their services, update their technology or marketing, or even reduce the amount of profit they make to stay in business. Everyone has to change and adapt, no matter what business you are in.
Whether it’s a bakery selling baked goods to a health-conscious society or a pest-control company using safer chemicals to remove pests, every business must adapt to the changing habits of customers. You can’t think about it; you just have to do it.
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How You Can Earn Loyalty from Customers
What is good for customers is often not so good for businesses. The internet has made it possible for people to buy almost anything they want from virtually anywhere in the world. This has created customers with less loyalty than ever before. If you don’t meet their needs, they move on to someone else. You won’t get a second chance.
No longer can a business say they have customers because they are the closest in distance or the logical choice. A customer won’t buy solely because someone is “local.” We live in a global society where everything is just a click of the mouse or a tap on the screen away.
We also live in a society that gets easily distracted. Just because you provided high-quality customer service or a product that meets their needs, it doesn’t guarantee that you will see that customer again. If someone else sends them an email or flyer with a great deal or big promise, that may catch their attention and they decide to give that business a try. They have already forgotten about you and what you did for them.
So, can you create customer loyalty? Yes, but it is going to take a lot more work than it would have five or ten years ago. You have to constantly deliver daily and always ask how we can do it better and never be afraid to ask how we can do it better. It’s not enough to simply hit and run with short lived coupons or internet banter. The proof is in the pudding as they say. You must constantly be reminding them that you are still there and still able to help them out with excellent service and or product.
At the same time, you must let people see the person behind the business. They want to know that person cares about the same things they care about and will perform their business in a way that enhances their lives making it easier. Businesses must be socially responsible and have a conscience towards the lifestyles the customers advocate. A food business must care about healthy living, a construction business must utilize recycling or they risk alienating part of their customer base. Everything you do does matter.
Is loyalty from customers impossible to achieve for a business? No, but it’s going to take a lot more work than it used to. Welcome to the new economy!
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How to Be Accountable
The question is not if you should be accountable to your customers; in today’s market, you have no choice. If you are not providing exemplary service, you are already on a downhill slide with no way to turn around. People have too many choices available to them to stick with someone that does not provide what they need and not just meet, but exceed their expectations.
Accountability is more than setting up checkpoints to ensure that mistakes don’t happen. It’s more than rectifying a situation that resulted in a less than desirable outcome for the customer. It is about creating a culture of accountability in your business. That first begins with you.
People often look at accountability as a standard to which someone must be held. It isn’t a standard; it’s simply who we are. You either provide exemplary customer service or you don’t; there is no in-between. Your must lead an accountable life and then it becomes second-nature rather than something you must work at.
So, how do you translate that attitude to your company, your employees? You must first clarify your goals. This allows everyone to take ownership of the goal and their behavior.
In practice, this means taking ownership of an entire project or department instead of just the part you are responsible for. As a business owner, you can’t say “That was my employee’s fault.” The customer sees everything that happens in that company as your fault because YOU are the owner.
In the same way, your employees must take responsibility for more than just what they did. This attitude will shape how they act when someone else falls behind in their job or fails to provide top-notch service. They will step in and help that customer even if it isn’t their responsibility. That is true accountability.