At least brick and mortar, is probably a complex amalgam of factors, among them the long-shifting sands of those sales being subsumed by the convenience of online purchasing.


Three recent — and distinct — retail experiences I had were so poor that they illuminated how very many opportunities for customer adherence and retention are being lost every day.

I could share the examples, one at a national brand furniture store, another at a national home improvement store, and still another at a pet supply company, but suffice it to say that in each case, there was a lack of customer service.  Meaning, there was a severe apathy, complacence, and in one instance, annoyance — if not hostility — rather than a willingness to help.  In one situation, I wanted to speak with the manager to share positive feedback about a young associate, and when I asked, three different employees didn’t know who the manager was or if they were in the store, and I was directed to filling out a form online.

So, what does this mean for you?

It means good news.

Because when the bar is low, any contrast is that much more visible.

And powerful.

In other words, you have the opportunity to truly stand out as an organization.

(Anyone been through a Chick-fil-A  – anywhere – where you weren’t delightfully surprised at just how efficient and pleasant everyone was who you came in contact with?)

So how to stand out in today’s business climate?  I’d recommend enhancing the following three capabilities:

  • Responsiveness with speed. Replying quickly to any inquiry or problem distinguishes you from your competition.  We have grown accustomed to speed.  Who doesn’t love making a purchase from Amazon at the last minute and having it arrive the very next day?  Not to mention returning items with ease?  Respond to your customers.  Quickly.
  • Relevance.  Do you know what truly matters to your customers?  Have you asked them lately?  From Kitchen Aid’s vast array of mixer colors, to telehealth’s convenience and choice, business demands that we know our customers and change with them.  Or, in the case of Apple, create something that our customers didn’t even know they wanted.
  • True service orientation. Pleasantness, a desire to be of help, and if necessary, find a solution.  Your people on the front lines will be happier (and therefore more engaged and engaging with your customers) if they have some autonomy and ownership to fix problems.  Zappos knew this from the jump.

Customer acquisition is costly.  One way to mitigate that it is to ensure that your customer service and retention are exemplary.

For more on working with me directly, you can reach me here.

This still remains one of my most popular and accessible coaching offerings.  Clients say it helps them become more strategic and get out of the weeds, is light on their calendars, and provides helpful access to me in case of last minute, urgent matters.