FEW SAY IT – BUT DEEP DOWN MANY ACT ON IT
Why do you think there are more bullet points and shorter paragraphs in online communication? Why do you think it is that trash TV like A Current Affair and Today Tonight have shortened their average story length from 6 minutes to three minutes?
I would argue that it is because we are less patient and focused than we ever were. Research suggest that we make assessments about people we meet in around 30 seconds and then use the rest of our time rationalising that assessment.
In 2015 consumers are increasingly impatient about:
- The speed of service – and waiting.
- Barriers to purchase – including getting served.
- Lack of availability – with a brand not in stock.
They will change brands at the drop of the hat and may well be lost for ever.
Why is it that we are so reluctant as consumers to give a brand the benefit of the doubt when it makes a mistake? Why is it that we are more inclined to complain about a problem than we ever were?
I would argue that it is because we are less tolerant and forgiving than we ever were. Warren Buffet noted that ‘it takes 20 years to build a reputation and 5 minutes to destroy it’.
In 2015 consumers are increasingly intolerant of:
- Product failures – wanting what they paid for every time.
- Delivery failures – expecting less than 3 days with online.
- Misinformation – just ask VW
So, why are consumers less patient and more intolerant?
I would argue that there are many reasons including:
- A shortage of time.
- A plethora of options.
- Diminished trust
I would also argue however that the why does not matter all that much. What matters is:
- That it is what it is, and we recognise that.
- How we as business people are going to respond.
I would argue that the best responses might include:
- Understanding and managing expectations.
- Delivering to expectations as a priority.
- Establishing relationships built on trust.
It is essential not to assume an understanding of consumer needs, wants and expectations but rather to establish those needs, wants and expectations as precisely as possible, and where ever possible be seen have enough interest to do so. Social media based research is a great tool in this regard.
Once expectations are understood they must be addressed. Once again, I make the point that the focus of marketing resources needs to be increasingly on the front end of the marketing process – making sure the product meets or exceeds expectations. Customer feedback research can help to track this.
Trust makes for a good business relationship. Trust is very difficult to build up and very easy to destroy. Trust is very powerful in that where it exists consumers will be more patient and a lot more tolerant – even of big mistakes. A key here is to be transparent and forthright – admitting and addressing mistakes as soon as they are made.
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