The ‘Need for Speed’ in Business

A great product or service and exceptional team players need to be supported by robust processes, procedures and innovation.  This is especially important because today’s customers incessantly seek sparkly, newer and faster solutions. Whether they are consumers of FMCG or corporate purchases, customers are interested in ‘new’ things.  Admittedly it may be out of curiosity or entertainment at times, as much as for specific need.  In business, ‘new purchases’ are usually sort to retain or achieve competitive advantage.

Like in the movie ‘Need for Speed’ many businesses are motivated by money (wouldn’t $6 million be tempting for most?), and their own honor or pride.  But we need to be motivated by what customers are looking for. Customers continuous search is increasing both pressure and opportunities for businesses.  Quicker adoption of new offerings and continual market scanning is necessary.  Nobody wants to be left behind because of ignorance.  Because of this, two objectives must remain relevant – speed and trust.

Speed of innovation, speed of implementation, speed of launch and speed of market share acquisition!  Even when all these have been achieved, it is not as important as the ability to continually repeat the process, and quickly!  With the ‘need for speed’ in mind, is it apparent more investment should go into ‘knowing your customer’?  Continually serving the same segment (rather than more traditionally, the same product or service), would seem to embrace the current consumption patterns.  Knowing who your targets’ opinion leaders are and engaging with them and customers, should remain a top priority.  Especially, as the Internet is empowering much more public conversation.  Without loyal customers, ‘speed’ is slower and ultimately more expensive.

Closely entwined with speed is trust.  Creating a platform of trust and strengthening the connection with customers is important.  Trust needs to increase at each stage of the decision process.  The post-purchase experience will be a key factor in whether or not the same brand is chosen next time the item superseded.  The Internet is a fabulous way for loyal customers to deliberately share their excitement for their existing purchases as well as new products/services yet to be release.  An attractive benefit of trust that has been well maintained!

It is possible for customers to vent frustration and disappointment just as publicly.  A well timed (speedy) online comment is important.  Easier to put out a sparkler than a forest fire!  A written apology and an offer for a replacement – delivered free of charge – by an empathetic employee, may well recruit more than just one loyal customer.  Especially when the conversation is continued in the same medium as it was started by the customer.  For the first time the Internet allows brands to monitor and access these.  Brands are able to publicly and positively interact with complaints uniquely.  All online comments (good and bad) are valuable and need to be collected.  Once analyzed feedback can reveal specifically where innovation will yield the highest return on investment.  Superior value can be delivered in ways customers are actually looking for.  This impacts their trust and brand loyalty which indicates their acceptance to trial new innovations.

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