A prime question that every business owner or executive should be asking themselves these days is, “how replaceable am I?” The answer to this question usually raises the ugly head of ego. However, the fact is that more than ever, we are all replaceable. And, we’re more easily replaceable than at any other time in history. People have tens, hundreds, if not thousands of options today at their fingertips. Discovering options are nearly instantaneous. Just do a simple, quick search on your communication device and prove it to yourself.
If someone doesn’t like your product or service, for any reason, you can and will be replaced with another option, quickly and painlessly, whether you like it or not. One cause of this can be technology. I read a report a while back that pointed out that our cellular telephone/communication system has replaced well over fifteen devices that we would have used previously. Think about it. Our current-day communication device has replaced a camera; video conferencing; GPS; digital voice recorders; digital watches; medical libraries; video players; video cameras; music players; encyclopedias; videogame consoles; calendars; weather radios; appointment books; telephone directories and much more.
You can’t get away with shoddy service and lousy customer care anymore. If you try, your entire marketplace, heck, the whole world will know about it in a few seconds. We used to believe that word of mouth was the best marketing we could have, but now digital reviews can make or break you. It’s there for everyone to see. People check on-line reviews now before they will ever step into your place of business or call you.
Understand that you are replaceable. If you don’t believe that you are, then you should prepare yourself for a shocking surprise. I was recently doing a marketing seminar in which there were about 1,000 people. As there always is, a guy in the audience who didn’t believe me when I talked about how vulnerable we all are to being replaced decided to heckle me. I apologized to the crowd, explaining that I would take a few minutes to address this gentleman’s issue. I asked him his name and what kind of business he owned. He was the owner of a heating and airconditioning business. I then verified that he did not think it would be a simple task to replace his services, and he agreed. So, I held up the microphone with one hand and held up my phone in the other. I then asked GOOGLE, “How many heating and airconditioning businesses were there within a 25-mile radius of where I now stand.” Within 2 seconds, “she” replied that there were 28. I then touched my phone screen on one of the newly discovered businesses. The phone rang, and someone answered, “Hello, this is Joe at Joes Heating and Airconditioning. How can I help you?” I then apologized and said that I had the wrong number. However, my point was made. In just a matter of a few minutes, I not only found a replacement but found 28 replacements.
That’s how easy it is.
The question is, what are you doing about it? A famous billionaire businessman once told me that he asks himself the same question every night before going to bed. He says, “Tomorrow, I could wake up broke, so what did I do today to prevent that?” We all must continuously get better at whatever it is that we do. We must always be looking for ways to serve our customers faster and more efficiently. We must always give our customers reasons NOT to leave us.
Remember that consumers today buy what they want, not what they need. Brand loyalty is at its lowest in history. So, give your consumers a reason to love you. Offer products and services that in the consumers’ minds that they can’t get anywhere else. And, if you don’t, you’ll never see them again.