THE BLOG
01/09/2017 07:26 pm ET

The Customer Still Matters: Lessons From 2016, Leadership For 2017

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Ask me to offer a scientist's perspective about business, and I will give you my personal opinion, which is inseparable from my professional advice: Do a better job—about everything. That is, make the online experience—including buying and returning goods—more straightforward, more reliable, more convenient and more secure. Better yet, find a way to ensure that your inventory actually exists; that what I see on the screen of my smartphone or laptop is, in fact, on the shelves of your warehouse. In so many words, stop disappointing this customer—and start helping all customers.

According to this study about branding and consulting:

"When customers experience success, more than likely operations run flawlessly. Customer loyalty takes hold. To make the customer experience seamless, customer success teams form the glue behind the scenes. They must be empowered with the flexibility to immediately adapt and respond for your customers to notice."

That finding may seem self-explanatory—indeed, it is (or should be) obvious to even the casual reader—but that does not mean enough companies know or respect that fact. For the risk of not having a solution that meets the needs of businesses and buyers, of satisfying the demands of service providers and those who demand—and have a right to receive—excellent service, is a loss of far more than a single sale. It is a loss of integrity, and loss of customer loyalty.

This report from the United Kingdom seconds the above sentiment:

"Customers today are not only interested in the product they are being offered but all the additional elements of service that they receive from the greeting they receive when they enter a retail outlet, to the refund and help that they receive when they have a complaint about a faulty product that they have paid for."

Enter David Potts, Founder and CEO of SalesWarp, an engineer with an interest in engineering a solution to the challenges that bedevil companies and consumers alike. He says:

"Businesses have various—and conflicting—systems, for their brick-and-mortar stores, their e-commerce sites and their mobile platforms, which do not communicate with one another. Without a real-time solution to review inventory, one that also empowers companies to enjoy double-digit growth because of this technology, companies cannot succeed and customers will, unfortunately, suffer the consequences of these failures. We must not allow that scenario to happen."

I offer a hearty amen to that call to action, because I think businesses need to infuse their customer service with more science. In other words, there is too much ambiguity—and far too much of a sense of the arbitrary—regarding shopping online.

Give companies the means to alert themselves to potential sales—give them a solution to their broken approach to management and service—so they will follow the counsel of Mr. Potts.

Give me—give all of us—a better year than the one just prior.

Give us what we want.

Give us what we need.

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