Your website.

Your Facebook Page.

Your Twitter account.

Your Yelp listing.

Your Instagram account.

Your TripAdvisor listing.

Whatever it is and however many online locations a potential customer can – and should – be able to reach you, add those in here.

Changing Customer Communication & Shopping Expectations

As much as I hate to break it to you, the days of calling on the phone or stopping in your brick and mortar store to get your needs as a customer taken care of are steadily dwindling. If you as a small business owner took a step back and thought about it, you’d very likely see a downward trend of customers and potential customers contacting you by phone or coming by for an in-store visit. And you’d very likely see an upward trend of customers and potential customers asking questions and getting help by emailing, messaging, tweeting, commenting, or posting online in some way.

You might not want it to be that way, but that’s how it is.

You may not want to be uber-responsive to Facebook messages or Twitter DMs, but that’s what the changing market – and accompanying customer expectations – dictates.

The thought of checking in on nights and weekends can be a drag, but a question posed after hours on Friday is expected to be replied to before working hours kick in again on Monday.

You might want to post to Facebook telling customers and potential customers to call you in order to register their child for class because you prefer to handle business on the phone, but they’ll leave a comment, send a private message or try to locate your website (in hopes of registering online) anyway.

Or they’ll skip over you and find a different business that meets their needs and expectations.

We live in a time where a fully functioning website – complete with all the details one would need to make a buying decision plus the ability to make that buying decision online – is a standard expectation. We live in a time where the response time to a question is shorter than ever. You no longer get extra credit for having a strong website or a 24 hour response time. Now your customers expect that and nothing less.

But more importantly, if you aren’t delivering on those basic expectations, your sales will reflect that.

It pains me to hear from clients who are trying to fight the changing customer trends. That they don’t like/want/care to adapt to those changing customer shopping and buying needs.

As hard it is to hear, what I need to say is this: It’s not about you but it is about your customers. You don’t get to decide how customers want to do business with you. You absolutely need to provide them the information, and communication and buying methods they prefer or be prepared to face the consequences of your insistence to make it easy for yourself.

This may not be what you want to hear, but them’s the breaks.

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