Over the past two decades, the internet has dramatically lowered the barrier to entry for new companies. In recent years, a weak economy has forced many into the world of entrepreneurship and freelance. The rate of competition is increasing while the previously explosive increase in productivity, quality and efficiency is waning.
While this seismic shift is taking place, we still have companies retaining and devising strategies to minimize customer interaction like we hit the pause button in the 90’s and nothing has changed. They view interaction with customers as an annoyance or a cost to minimize. Look no further than your inbox and all those noreply@ email address. Or consider a recent call you made navigating ten auto attendant layers while desperately hitting zero just to get a real person on the line. You can’t get service but you can wear out your keypad and finger tips.
These techniques are hurdles to customer interaction put in place in the name of efficiency and cost savings. In no uncertain terms though, companies utilizing these techniques are saying, “Dear Customer: I don’t want to talk to you.”
In the emerging economy, constrained by the realities of globalization, low barriers to entry and a high unemployment rate, companies that do not interact and engage with their customers at every possible opportunity will be beaten by their competition. Competing on the basis of price, quality and efficiency is not enough anymore. Other people are willing to do better. New companies, without the baggage of stale strategies, are relentlessly focusing on the customer experience. They’re doing this while offering competitive quality, price and efficiency because those pieces are relatively easy today.
Obsessing over the customer is hard. Avoiding them is not. Choose to do the hard work. Find out what annoys your customers and change. Study new and more aggressive or innovative competitors in your industry. Leap them. Galvanize your staff to relentlessly focus on the customer. Obsess over them. Dote on them. Interact with them.