The thing is this: everyone’s overwhelmed with material vying for their attention. Think about this for a moment through the lens of your phone, let alone your computer:
- Text messages
- Netflix (new shows added!)
- YouTube (people upload 500 new hours of content per minute)
- Facebook/Instagram/Whatsapp/Messenger (oh - all the same company)
- Phone calls? (Hahahaha)
- Do you still get newspapers or magazines?
I could keep going, but you get the point. That’s you and your customer.
There are now “teaser” ads for ads. The 2020 Super Bowl advertising season showed a record number of 16-second spots teasing longer ads during the actual event. (Which you didn’t even have to watch because YouTube AdBlitz let you see it all before the game.)
This Changes Communication and Business Immensely
Here’s how: “Now” is the new “new.” We need communication now. And often. And then even more.
The gap between stimulus and response must shorten, and we now require more contact more often to feel better connected to the companies we use to serve our needs.
Let me explain.
The old days: your customer places an order. You tell them upon ordering that the product will arrive in two weeks.
The new way: the customer orders. You give them a tracking number. The package will arrive the next business day. You message them two or three more times anyway.
Customers (B2B or B2C) want their products now. They want communication even now-er. And more of it. And brief. And simple. And fast. And now.
I Know What You’re Thinking
My customers don’t need that. I know you’re thinking this. Or maybe you’re thinking “Oh, but not in my industry.” You’d be silly to think that way.
Doctors in the U.S. could never have anticipated that their businesses would come under attack from the speedy and simple delivery of services such as the CVS Minute Clinic and similar products.
Restaurants never anticipated being forced to use a variety of delivery app technologies to compete with what used to bring them revenue: their dining room.
Taxis figured “when we get there” was as appealing as “your driver is 3 minutes away” of ride share apps.
And B2B companies are thinking, “Oh, well it’s different for me.” No, it really isn’t. Ask a customer if they want their products delivered slower and with less communication. I dare you.
People need to hear from you now. And often. And again.
You see what I did there.
Look back at the writing in this piece. Did you notice something about it? The paragraphs are brief and easily scannable. The sentences are small. Some aren’t even sentences. It’s very easy to read this on your phone.
Here’s your recipe for communicating now:
- Review the customer experience that’s in place currently, especially with an eye on communication and interaction. Where are the places where you stay silent right now.
- Decide on adding a few more interaction points. “Your HVAC system is at the loading dock” and so on. You don’t even have to automate these at first. Just make it a practice of order fulfillment.
- Can you say it faster? Review all interactions with customers for ways to make the message useful but briefer. What would a customer most need at any given point in the journey?
- Build in exception/error handling. When something goes wrong, you still have to use “now” communications methods, but the resolution might take longer. What can you do to keep up the interaction but not upset the customer?
- Explain more but still keep it brief. What ways can you equip the customer to feel part of the experience loop? Something as seemingly dumb as “your contract documents will be reviewed today by 4 pm” might keep the phone from ringing.
- Follow up. Most every business in the world fails here. Once the product/service is in hand, you go radio silent except to try and sell. Follow up. Get everything you want? Need anything? You might even make some add-on sales this way.
Review what I just gave you. Nothing there is especially difficult. None of it requires much in the way of intense technological purchase. Ask yourself whether your customers, who live in the now age, would feel better knowing more and knowing it faster.
I suspect you’ll want to implement this.
Chris Brogan is an author, keynote speaker and business advisor who helps companies update organizational interfaces to better support modern humans. The age of factory-sized interactions is over. We all come one to a pack. And it’s time to accept that we are all a little bit dented. Chris advises leadership teams to empower team members by sharing actionable insights on talent development. He also works with marketing and communications teams to more effectively reach people who want to be seen and understood before they buy what a company sells.
Bank of America, N.A. engages with Chris Brogan to provide materials for informational purposes only, and is not responsible for, and does not guarantee or endorse any of the third-party products or services mentioned. All third-party logos and company names mentioned herein are the property of their respective owners and are used under license from Chris Brogan. Consult your financial, legal and accounting advisors, as neither Bank of America, its affiliates, nor their employees provide legal, accounting and tax advice.
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