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  • Writer's pictureRobert Stevenson

Always Be Convenient

Robert Stevenson Blog - There are big profits in convenience

The day you forget you are in business for the customer is the day you start going out of business. Smart companies try to do everything they can to make things simple, easy, and convenient for their customers.

One of the companies I have worked with had a motto that set the tone for every interaction they had with their customers. E Z T D B W … which stands for Easy To Do Business With.

Today, (a Saturday) I went to make a deposit at my bank. There was a sign on the door that said they are no longer open on Saturdays and they will also be closing earlier during the week. If most people work until 5 p.m. and the bank closes at 4 p.m., that sure does make it hard to do business with this bank. If you put off your banking until Saturday, when most people are off, you can no longer do business with them. BUT, right across the street from my bank is Bank of America and Chase Bank, who are both open on Saturdays and they close at 6 p.m. during the week. It should be noted that both banks were extremely busy. I guess convenience is no longer important to my bank.

When I see companies making decisions like this, I start to wonder about their profitability, success and stability. Their competition is offering more convenience while they are cutting back. Amazon basically destroyed Sears by offering convenience. Customers want it faster, better and on their terms. I feel any time a business decision is made, CONVENIENCE FOR THE CUSTOMER needs to be paramount in the decision process.

Convenience is defined as, “the state of being able to proceed with something with little effort or difficulty.” Synonyms are benefit, comfort, ease, enjoyment, satisfaction. The state or quality of being suitable (for the customer) or opportune (for the customer) needs to be thought through, because if it isn’t … you will soon be without a customer.

I recently went to a new doctor and they sent me all the paperwork to fill out via email, verified my insurance and had my pharmacy info. My wait was minimal, and everything was seamless. Years ago, I would have spent 30 minutes in the doctor’s office just filling out the paperwork, but not anymore. All successful companies, regardless of industry, are paying attention to “convenience” for their customers.

Are you EASY TO DO BUSINESS WITH? Are you open when customers need you open? Can you cut down on the time a transaction takes? Can you shorten the paperwork? Do you have real people I can talk to, so I can explain my problem, rather than having to send you an email and hope you will contact me back? Is your return policy complicated? Are your hold times under five minutes? When I call your company, how easy is it to navigate your phone system? No matter when I call, do I get a message that I have called at a busy time, so please call back later? Understand this: Ineffective call flow can lead to frustrated customers, terrible customer service reviews and eventual loss of business.

Sometimes I wonder how some BIG companies stay in business. By the way … most of them won’t. In the next 10 years, 40% of the Fortune 500 companies will be gone. The lifespan of a Fortune 500 company 75 years ago was 50 years. Their life span today is 15 years. By 2020, the number of banks in America will shrink by 20%. There are big profits in Convenience. Remember, only one company can be the cheapest. All the others have to do something else to set them apart from their competition. One excellent place to start is with Convenience.


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