Last month, I participated in a SWOT analysis for a small company. The objective was to design a strategic plan that will see the firm compete effectively in a market dominated by giants.
One thing that caught my attention was that many customers chose the small company’s products and not those of bigger competitors with remarkable brand and market visibility sustained by colourful advertising.
Nearly all customers we surveyed mentioned speedy delivery and personalised service as the key things that inspire them to seek their services repeatedly.
We are living in a fast-paced world where modern customers are obsessed with speed. It is what some call a “microwave generation.”
Various studies reveal that big firms are losing out market share to small competitors and individuals who can deliver instant or overnight services even before giants start the bureaucracy of processing the orders.
This is a unique business proposition that is giving even multinationals with deep pockets a run for their money.
The age of idolising brands is fading fast. Customer loyalty is on the decline. Customers are getting exposed to great services from various vendors, which they use to benchmark.
If they dial Uber and a cab arrives in three minutes or an online vendor in China replies to a query in three seconds, they expect the same level of efficiency from any other vendor; failure to which they become restless and hard to satisfy. They are always open to anything new and better.
Many companies view discounts, freebies and loyalty cards as a great way of creating customer loyalty. However, several studies reveal something totally different. Freebies, loyalty points, and discounts are a waste of money when used as a way of creating customer loyalty.
With access to information and increased quality, more than 50 per cent of shoppers compare prices and look for better deals rather than being at home with a particular brand.
This presents small firms with the greatest opportunity to enter into the market or expand their business. Customers are up for grabs if you give them what they need.
Among the things that customers need are speedy delivery, personalised service and appreciation. They need to be treated as individuals not numbers, something most big firms cannot do with precision.
Shakespeare termed technology potent medicine: curative when well applied but poison when misused.
While big companies envision use of automated customer service and online marketing and ordering as an effective way of cutting costs, nothing can replace human contact and personal interaction.
It is small things that most entities overlook that make customers loyal. They include convenience, appreciation, after sale service and follow up as well as being genuinely interested and concerned about what they are doing or going through.
Use technology to help you interact and serve customers in a personalised manner.