March 22, 2013

The Candy that Causes Business Decay

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Written by: Ross Quintana
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Business Decay

Maintaining smart business choices is like maintaining good teeth. The problem is that there is a constant erosion and decay in your customer list. The decisions we make in business everyday that impact our customers can either maintain or erode our customer base. With all the focus on business and marketing tactics to get new clients, many businesses have simply given up on trying to retain the clients they worked hard to get. I get it, with so much noise in the marketing world, it is easy to think that concepts like customer loyalty and branding are either not worth shooting for or a short term strategy had through marketing tactics. Here are 4 things that are creating customer cavities in your business.

1 – The Feature Drip – companies like Apple are putting customers on a slow feature drip by limiting the new features released. Samsung called BS on the latest feature set of the iPhone 5 with one of the best eye poking ads I have seen in a while. The same was happening in the auto industry until recently when the economy forced auto makers to put out products that were compelling. The years of adding a new cup holder to the minivan are over, people expect more. The young companies and number 2’s are putting pressure on the market leaders to release more innovation and for many companies the innovation well is drying up.

2 – Service was slain by technology – As things move faster and production and technology grows it is easy to get caught up in the efficiency of it all. Remember it isn’t just transactions to the customer. They have an emotional attachment to their money and so should you. Imagine two robots having sex. That is a transaction. Customer service is romance. Sales tools and automation have sucked the life out of customer service. It is time to remember that humans have the money and the shift away from service makes service more valuable.

3 – Minimum thinking – Just as service has gone away, so have the extras. Yes, no mint on the pillow, no free cup of coffee or fancy wrapping. I used to get a pen for touching up my furniture if it got scratched, now most of the parts aren’t even marked (Sauder). Saving on ink costs, and giving the customer only what they ordered is what will create opportunities for the extra effort from some companies. You can cut costs and actually add value if you are smart so it’s OK to be cheap as long as your customers don’t feel it and you find ways to add customer value in the process of streamlining. Exceed expectations.

4 – Crowd Blending – In a world of high competition you simply can’t blend. Every aspect of your business should standout or none of your business will standout. If you aren’t screaming you aren’t being heard. If you don’t know what people can expect in your industry, you aren’t even close. Shop your competition and then be different. As Seth Godin talks about in his brilliant book Purple Cow, you are either remarkable or forgettable. And stop using marketing to prop up your average products. If you build a great product or service it will naturally create your competitive advantage. Remember, people create relationships not cash registers or computers.

Erosion, your clients are leaving and you are hoping they will forget why and come back for another one time purchase in the future. You are relying on short term tactics like candy that is eroding your business teeth. You may not feel it today, but you continual bad business habits will bring trouble down the line. If you don’t brush your business daily with a good dose of long term thinking, your clients will leave you like a mouth filled with gums and you’ll wonder if your business can survive on mashed potatoes. Think details, think customers, and think long term.

About the Author

Ross Quintana

Founder of SocialMagnets, I am passionate about social media, influence, innovation, strategy, and marketing. I love to help people learn and understand the digital world. I stretch people’s thinking and share my analysis of information, tools, and strategies in social media. Let’s connect


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