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  • Writer's pictureRobert Stevenson

Corporate Survival

Robert Stevenson Blog - Just Another Customer

The problem with most companies today is their employees see the people walking into their place of business or ordering on-line as JUST ANOTHER CUSTOMER. Companies forget how excited they were the day they had their first customer. After years of success, customers are taken for granted. Most of the people working for them weren’t around when they had their first customer. Most employees don’t really give much thought to the fact that customers pay their salaries along with paying for everything else.

Companies today must adapt, change, innovate and service according to the demands of the consumer or their very existence will be threatened by those companies who do. Here is some astonishing research found in the Harvard Business Review in an article entitled, “The Biology of Corporate Survival.”

“We investigated the longevity of more than 30,000 public firms in the United States over a 50-year span. The results are stark: businesses are disappearing faster than ever before. Public companies have a one in three chance of being delisted in the next 5 years, whether because of bankruptcy, liquidation, mergers & acquisitions, or other causes. That is six times the delisting rate of companies 40 years ago. Although we may perceive corporations as enduring institutions, they now die, on average, at a younger age than their employees. And the rise in mortality applies regardless of size, age or sector: Neither size nor experience guards against an early demise.”

This article supports the THREAT for SURVIVAL facing all companies today, large or small. In simple terms … if you do what you’ve always done, you’ll be gone.

Buying habits are changing. 96% of American shop on-line. More than 50% of millennials and Gen Xers say the most influence for them on a purchase, is social media. Most of them will read on-line reviews before ever purchasing a product or service. 70% of millennials BELIEVE those on-line reviews and millennials are now the largest buying group in America. 71% of all consumers, regardless of age, will read on-line reviews for big ticket purchases. All this is telling us, we are dealing with a highly informed customer. The old expression, people buy on emotion and justify with facts, is being reversed. People are no longer buying on emotion … until the FACTS (reviews) prove it a wise purchase. Emotion might start the process … but reviews are becoming the decision maker.

Here is a scary thought for companies out there; my wife looks at the 1-star reviews first. If too many of them are saying the same “bad” thing … she will move on to the next product unless the number of the positive reviews is so overwhelming. Customers don’t expect companies to be perfect, but they do expect them to fix it, when things go wrong. 70% of customers will do business with you again if you resolve their complaint. The playing field has now changed because customers are WARNING people about doing business with bad companies.

Companies who aren’t paying attention to what is being said about them on-line will soon be out of business. Companies need to know when they are doing things wrong. Social media can actually prove to serve as a consultant, telling you when you have a problem; and a problem identified is a blessing … if you will fix it. One other thing I would like to note: 90% of customers said they will pay more to ensure superior customer service.


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