The customer is making a comeback – slow though it may be. And when he (or she) returns, you’re going to notice a change. A big change. FAIR WARNING: How you prepare for the new customer will determine your long-term success.
REALITY: While your customers were away, online has officially taken over. It’s the new showroom and comparison shopper. You can chat, or phone in a heartbeat. You can see every option and some you never knew existed. It’s fast, it’s accurate, and anyone can choose anything, any time of the day or night.
Yes, the Internet has been there for a few years, but it has taken a firm hold as a trillion dollar option for consumers and customers every place in the world. Your world.
It’s a different world now. We are not going to “recover,” per-se. We’re going to revive and revise. And you can be in it, or watch it pass you by.
Here are some examples of “different” on the business side. Car dealerships, stock brokerages, insurance companies, banks, homebuilders, commercial real estate agents, residential real estate agents, and mortgage lenders have all revised and restructured their business – and that’s the short list.
And the customer is different too. Way different.
Let me give you the details of what the new customer (both business and consumer) looks like: (NOTE: I’m using “he” but I also mean “she.”)
* He’s going to decide somewhat slower. He’s been hesitating for more than a year.
* He’s angry about the value of his home, and the value of his investments.
* He will not be doing business the same way it’s been done before.
* He will not be banking the same way he banked before.
* He will not be advertising the same way he advertised before.
* He will not be buying a car the same way he did before.
* He will not be buying a home the same way he did before.
* He will not be investing the same way he did before.
* He’s online. Checking out your website – and your competitor’s website.
* He’s socializing. Telling everyone what’s happening in his world and the world.
* He’s Tweeting, Facebooking, and Linked-In-ing. Social media is still a firestorm.
* He’s blogging about his experiences with you, for the world to read.
* He’s YouTubing about his experiences with you for the world to watch – by the millions (any questions United Airlines?).
* He’s Googling, not yellow-paging.
* He’s texting. A lot.
* He’s using his mobile device to do damn near everything.
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