In addition to a waning economy there is also a shift occurring that is requiring businesses to be as technologically savvy as possible. One example is what is happening to major newspapers. Recently I heard that 14 newspapers across the company are shutting their doors or turning to digital media outlets only. Another business sector being hit is video rental stores. The large chains like Blockbuster are certainly being hit by Netflix, which is taking over the once brick-and-mortar market. But what is happening to the small independent chains? Some of these business owners are prepared to do whatever it takes to maintain their niche market.
For example, an article on CNN noted that one such store owner moved his shop to a more artsy district to be in closer proximity to the right customers. But what do you do if the customers aren’t even leaving their homes (due to such things as gas prices or inclement weather), as one store owner points out? It may go back to the issue of customer satisfaction _and _loyalty (see our White paper).
Research has shown that it isn’t enough to have customers who are satisfied they also need to be loyal, which may require having very satisfied customers, as research shows they are much more likely to remain loyal. So we want very satisfied and loyal customers, but still, how do we accomplish this if we don’t want to jump on the tech bandwagon and our customers aren’t leaving the house? It might involve some creativity. Businesses need to reach out. Getting involved in local neighborhood events to keep the company name actively in the public view or holding focus groups with current customers to see what gets them to leave the house are a couple of options.
It also may be hard to admit that people are leaving the house; they’re just not coming to your store. Recognizing the problem will allow business owners to think proactively about a solution, which harkens back to the creativity aspect.For example, maybe you need to change your store hours to better accommodate when people are out. Smaller business may need to think creatively about how to use technology while simultaneously focusing on the fundamentalknowing your customers and giving them what they want.