Last week I ordered a salad and smoothie from the local drive-thru cafe and salad shop. I paid online for custom-order lunches. They sent me an immediate email acknowledging my order and letting me know that another email would soon arrive as to when my order would be ready. That came about one minute later and gave me a “ready time” that was seven minutes away. That was enough time to jump in my car, drive about half a mile, and pick up my meals. I was back home in three minutes.
It’s time to vote this week. In my state, I already voted. We are an all-mail in state voting system; in other words – no standing in lines, no driving to polling places, no traffic, no issues with picking up kids, no forgetting, no excuses. More importantly, it’s easy and fast.
On the other hand, three organizations I care about and am actively involved in all make me write a check for annual or monthly dues. In every case (unless they are keeping it a best kept secret – but then again I asked), each organization has no method for paying with a credit card online.
I see this same malady among many small businesses who are trying hard to compete with larger brethren. They don’t accept credit cards or have minimums; they make people stand in long lines; they give broad time frames for service; and they offer little to no real-time communications.
The problem is they are placing the burden on the customer or client. In a world where simplicity and convenience is king; and where speed to market or to pay is everything (see Amazon payment to home in two days or less); the adamant attitude of making the client guess, wait, or work harder is the quickest way to organizational demise. Small business actually has the advantage of nimbleness and speed, yet time after time I see many remain in the mode of dictating to customers and clients. If a small business selling salads and smoothies can do it, so can you.
If you aren’t concerned about being relevant, then continue to be hard to do business with. If you want to take advantage of your nimbleness and personal touch, use inexpensive and easy to access tools and resources to make your clients happy to do business with you.
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