Customer empowerment is moving so fast nowadays that many of us are running to just catch up. Yet if we don’t or can’t, it is a sure thing that someone else will.
Blame the Internet for this rise in customer expectations. But don’t close your eyes to the fact that your customers have grown to expect your products or services in the form of…
‘WHAT I want, WHEN I want, and WHERE I want.’
Especially for those of us producing forms of media for consumption, from books to movies to music to games and more, our customers expect delivery in the form of bits over the Internet upon demand, usable on a multitude of devices, and sometimes stored in the cloud at no additional cost.
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For those producing physical products (atoms, not bits), Amazon and a few others have set the bar of expectation that already includes one-hour delivery at a cost and for certain items in many urban areas. At the very least, two-day delivery has become the minimum expectation to virtually anywhere.
If you provide services rather than products (neither bits nor atoms), consider offering discounted rates for remote phone or video appointments if applicable, for open appointment times if not possible, and for early booking of time if neither works.
As to selection (WHAT I want), do not be surprised to see your customers moving you to find ways to use 3D printing and other mass customization tools to create unique products without inventory cost to you—and certainly moving you to consider “additive manufacturing” (3-D printing) as a new norm for some or many of your products. Be ready: remote 3-D printers may soon make “WHERE I want” common for some products produced locally on demand.
If you are not considering these demands and your responses already, surely someone else is. Be an adaptive business leader. Create strategies to lead in areas where new technologies can give you a competitive edge.