Take me for example, I recently turned 44. I consider myself fairly normal for my age, some may challenge that assumption, but we’ll save that for another article.
I have cable television, high speed internet at home and work, own a lap top, use a smart phone, listen to a MP3 player and I have a WII which I watch movies via Netflix. I grew up with fast food, cable TV, the dawn of the personal computer and cell phones. I have become accustom to and expect choices. I demand ease of use and instant gratification. I am unconcerned with the time constraints of those who provide me goods and services because I haven’t known a world without a 7/11 or Taco Bell open 24-hours to meet my late night cravings.
If you believe I am used to having choices now, imagine what my 12-year-old daughter, Sophia, will be like in 2022 (not that far off). She has access to all the things I’ve grown up with and more. She uses an I-touch and snaps pictures of anything that catches her eye. If she isn’t pleased with the result then she manipulates the image to one which she likes. This is how she produced the image of a beautifully detailed blue strawberry against a shimmering white back drop from the picture she took of a red strawberry laying on a black marble counter top.
Still not convinced? Consider the conversation my 10-year-old son, Michael, and I had the other day while riding in the car. I was wondering aloud about some obscure question I was pondering. Michael looked at me with a dead serious expression and said, “Why don’t you just ask the G-man?” I looked back and said, “You mean, God?” He replied, “No, Google! I am sure they have the answer.”
The only constant is change. To be a relevant viable option to customers in our world of today and tomorrow is to constantly challenge the way we deliver our goods and services. We must be increasingly personal, convenient and available. I know I want it my way. I am more confident my kids – and our customers – want it their way, too.
What are you doing to keep pace with customers? How easy is it to do business with you and your teams? What constraints can be lifted to give customers more choices? If we aren’t answering these questions, then our competitors will because customers expect it.