Monday, March 10, 2014

The Age of the Customer

One of my favorite quotes in Jim Blasingame’s new book, The Age of the Customer, comes from Blasingame’s Law of Business Love, which reads, “It’s okay to fall in love with what you do, but it’s not okay to fall in love with how you do it”.

This IS the age of the customer and businesses cannot rest on the “normal”, or “what’s always worked”.  You have to start looking at what the customer wants and even knowing what they want before they do.

Cases in point:
Restaurants – posting daily menus and specials online.
Tire stores – creating a customer contact system to remind them when tires need to be checked, rotated and balanced.
Wholesale suppliers – figure out how to get more customers IN the door to get closer to the end user instead of just dropping merchandise off at their door.

One of my favorite quotes in the book . . . okay, I have more than one . . . is, “Remember, face-to-face is the original social media”.  You can, and should, demonstrate values and provide added resources online.  Build a community.  But face-to-face customer networking is still a very powerful tool.  Relationship building starts immediately.  Depending on the situation or business, when it comes to relationships, it may be lasting or even just long enough for that one interaction.

Jim shows us how customer relationships have been shifting and changing and we need to start thinking of our customers as partners.  The power has shifted from the seller to the customer.  He sets us up for continued change and success well into the future.  If you think you have a handle on customer expectations, you really need to read this book to set your ideas straight.

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