Playing Chicken with your Customers

The customer is king, the power is with the people, average joe and jane are in control. You see it everywhere, described in a number of ways, with the same underlying message. Today’s consumer has a number of choices and if you want them to buy from you – you had better get with the program – the program that works for your customers that is. 

In addition to being a business strategist and coach I am also a consumer and as such enter into retail mania on foot or on-line on occasion. I am amazed how difficult merchants make it for you and me to buy and/or do business with them. Consider the following:

Case # 1: My partner and I are at a big box store for a specific purpose when it occurs to us we need an additional item. The hunt begins. We wander aisle after aisle – walking more miles than pre-historic man on an average day in his hunt for food (note neuroscientists support this was 12 miles per day – ok I’m exaggerating a bit but you get my point). After finding no intelligent life aka customer service person, my partner says, “I’ll just order it online, it will be easier”.  Now think about this, we are in the store, we already have an item in hand to purchase and are going through the hassle of check out or self service check out (don’t get my started on that one) and leave without additional item(s) because it is too hard to find.  

Case # 2: I go online to make a payment as I want to a) reduce my carbon footprint and b) save time. I’m all about practicing what I preach and ay caramba I find myself clicking, reading, viewing and for all of my efforts can’t find the “submit payment” button for the life of me. Now to be fair, I am not the most tech savvy gal on the planet however I do spend an inordinate amount of time on and off-line using various applications. If I can’t figure it out I’m guessing Joe Q Public is having a similar experience. Oh and did I mention this vendor is promoting paperless? Note to self, you may want to have a user-friendly site if you expect people to actually use the site. 

So what’s my point to all of this? Whether you have bricks and mortar or an on-line presence or both; whether you are B2C (business-to-consumer) or B2B (business-to-business), I beg of you, please make it easy for your customer to buy. There is a ton of competition out there, why not look inside and make a few simple improvements  to your customer experience to keep them coming back, buying more and feeling good about doing business with you.

Shelley McQuade

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Tags: Customer Service, Digital, Ecommerce, Retail

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