Is loyalty important to you? Is loyalty necessary in business? Does loyalty make you feel safe? Is loyalty the definition of success in your business? What happened to loyalty?
Most business owners want customers to pick them, to only buy from them, to only talk about their business in a positive way to others, and then send those they tell, and those new customers have to do the same thing. It’s a pipe dream of course, but in a perfect world, your customers would stay yours, they would shop no where else but with you’re business. It’s also not realistic. Let’s be honest, you go where you get the best deal, not because you felt it was the right thing to do, like shopping locally instead of out of country. There’s some moral thing happening there, but people are people, they mostly think about themselves, what they want, not what the business owner wants, and eventually needs.
If we’re speaking truth, and nothing but the truth, business owners do one thing, some do it well, and most don’t, they gear everything to getting as much of your money as possible on that visit. Why? Because they know you’re not loyal, you probably won’t be back! You, the frugal shopper you are, are looking for the best deal, not a relationship. But what if you built a relationship with that business owner, and you kept coming back, what do you think would happen? The problem isn’t the relationship, it’s the time you would have to invest to bring it to a place where you felt like you were getting more than you paid for.
As I look out 5 years from now, what does loyalty look like, will it exist? There is such abundance today, a plethora of places to get what you’re looking to buy, I would be hard pressed to say loyalty will be in the equation. Having said that, something old is going to happen, we will go back to our old habits, we tend to get lazy eventually don’t we. We tend to go back to the places we bought from before, places we think we trust, and we never have to leave the house! That’s what it used to be like for bricks & mortar business, you had to go to them, there was no online choice. Today, just a click of the mouse gets the result you’re looking for, without the physical effort.
So, will there be loyalty for the future of business? Sure. But it will be because we dealt with that business online before, not because we looked long and hard for another better deal. Digital does two things, it gives you a false sense of security, and you don’t have to deal with a particular business if you don’t want to. The security only comes from a positive experience with an online business, nothing went wrong, so you place your trust there be it right or wrong, that’s what we tend to do. And as far as looking, searching for a better deal, you might…but we are lazy, and we’ll default to where we dealt with before.
That’s if we’re being truly honest with ourselves, you know, speaking truth. Loyalty in the future won’t be as earned like it used to be, and that relationship will be shallow, it will based on whether something went wrong or not. It will become about availability, on a moments notice, when you need or want a specific thing, not because you won’t buy somewhere else because you have a loyalty to a person or business.
Business owners who preach and truly believe that extreme, over the top customer service is the way to a customers loyalty button. This I know is true, I have customers, clients….no, friends, that have been with me over 7 years. They stay because they know, I’m going to be there, I’m looking after them….everything just works. So it’s possible, it takes tons and tons of work, are you ready for that kind of investment business owners? Just saying.
I am writing to share and to invite you, invite you to celebrate with me on this date, March 4th, 2001 – it was on this date, I suffered a heart attack, and I am still here ten years later to tell the story. I admit to being a little sensitive today (misty) only because there is still so much to do, and I am still around to do what needs to be done. But most of all, I have you in my life, and that trumps everything else.
So I want you to celebrate with me via digital means, a digital party so to speak, to celebrate that God is not done with me here on this earth, praise the Lord.
Many Blessings, I love you, and I thank you for considering this party on this day.
Business is being reshaped online, it has to, the very way of survival is change, it is however, doing a poor job of translating it to traditional business forms. What I call the OLD Business Model still needs to be looked after, but it also needs to be transformed and reshaped to adopt the online mentality if it’s to survive. No longer can we use the phrase, ” we’ve always done it this way”, if someone says it, they should be fired on the spot. It sounds harsh but, if that person has influence, the future of that business is and will be in jeopardy if they stay with that thinking.
Toll Booths are the mechanism for getting paid, online & off, it’s the way of the business world. These toll booths are being reshaped, they are becoming more & more invisible to the consumer. This seamless trend will continue to the point we may not know when we’ve actually paid for anything! The strategic alliances, the partnerships, and the stand-alones must make paying for goods & services effortless in order to make the experience positive. Not unlike the Apple example, iTunes has made buying music almost painless but not completely. You still have to download an application and you still have to have a valid account with a healthy balance in it before you can feel the benefit. Plus, it’s a closed system, you don’t get to touch it, feel it or make changes to it. Still, this toll booth is better than no start to the future of toll booths, and probably one of the best examples to date.
My son recently purchased eye glasses online, it was a great experience, and he saved money to boot! It was a simple three step process, choose your contacts & or designer frames, enter your prescription & customize your order, and then see the savings delivered to your door. It took him less than a week to get his new glasses, he put them on and they were perfect. The company is called Clearly Contacts, a Canadian company that is making it easy to buy glass & contacts, and they accept PayPal as a means of payment! In the future, we will have our eyes tested online so we don’t have to drive to the optometrist to get the prescription.
Soon there will be a secured cookie mechanism, a cert if you will, it will eliminate the actual payment click of the mouse step, it will be similar to the RFID chip. It will be a Secured Digital RFID Cookie that will handle the payment process for you. Of course, you will have to approve it, but as web browsers die, other technologies of viewing websites will make this process even easier.
The current build of toll booth is still too cumbersome, a link to PayPal or another means of making payment needs to be hidden from plain site, making the experience better. The current method makes you feel like you have been violated, or you’ve left the house unlocked, I need to feel things are well looked after, I don’t need to see it. The experience is everything for the user, much like Attention is to the seller. Attention is the new currency for anyone or any business selling products and services online. The problem is, getting that attention is going to get harder and harder, and it’s also going to be extremely difficult to keep that attention. One way of helping the cause, make paying for your products & services as easy as possible. Don’t ask users to fill out a LONG form, requesting name, address, phone numbers and so on, that will be the death of you. Find ways to make the toll booth invisible, and above all, an experience they can’t stop talking about in a positive way.
Where you put the toll booth matters, the experience users have using your site & toll booth will be the difference maker. The future of toll booths? Simple, hide them, embed them, make them work seamlessly online and you will have a winner. Better yet, you’ll get attention, and that means good things for you and your business.