by Renee Fellman

The bottom line: The No. 1 way to get and keep customers is to make their lives easy.

Why? We live in an increasingly complex, demanding world. In addition, time often really is money, so anything businesses can do to make their customers’ lives easier and save them time can provide a key competitive advantage.

In the United States and across the globe, we live in a constantly changing environment. Change— even desirable change — creates challenges. The daily ground-breaking, norm-shattering announcements about technological advances prompt people to spend time deciding whether the advances are desirable either for society or themselves, whether to adopt the innovations and, if so, how to use them.

Life is complex

After purchase, even the most tech-savvy are often forced to spend time waiting to talk with tech support, dealing with the bugs among the gems.

Another stress-inducer and time-taker is the current political and social upheaval in which both citizens and elected officials seem unable to see the same reality and are unwilling to consider whether others’ points of view have validity. Against this backdrop are acts of terror worldwide as well as bad acts committed daily, sometimes in the cities or neighborhoods where we live.

On the business front, many companies are struggling to fill critical positions, replace poor performers, comply with a variety of regulatory requirements and cope with new, competing products. They also worry about and try to take action to prevent potential cyber and social media attacks. Workers at all levels may wonder how to deal with difficult bosses, whether they will get their desired raises or, for that matter, keep their jobs.

On the home front, appliances may break shortly after they arrive, and it may take weeks to schedule a repair person who, when he or she arrives, may or may not be qualified to fix the problem. Need to buy something? There are so many choices among so many products with so many different bells and whistles that decision making is more time consuming than ever before. Beyond that, interpersonal interactions are occasionally worrisome or even gut-wrenching.

Make things easy

The above examples illustrate the kinds of situations that test people’s patience, sap their energy and take their time. As a result, people — in their business and personal lives — will gravitate to business offerings that make their lives easy.

No company illustrates this point better than Amazon, where it is easy to find items, easy to check prices, easy to read reviews, easy to place orders, easy to pay, easy to get quick delivery, easy to track and easy to return when necessary. Easy!

  • Getting ready to launch a new product or service? Ask yourself, will this make our customers’ lives easier? Have we done everything possible to make it easy for people to buy and use our products or services?

  • Faced with lackluster sales of a current product or service? Put yourself in your customers’ place. What would make it easier to buy and use your company’s product or service?

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