One of the biggest faux pas a business can commit in the 21st century is to be behind the times. The moment your company gives off an air of not quite being up to date; its finger just slightly off the pulse, can be the beginning of the end. Modern consumers are ruthless. They are also offered a variety of options at every turn, so if they sense you’re not keeping up, then they’re more than happy to decamp elsewhere.
There are a few signs that can make customers nervous about just how future-proof your business is. They might only seem small to you – innocuous, bordering on the point of being irrelevant – but they can be interpreted in worrying ways by your customers. To ensure you’re keeping pace with the cut and thrust of the modern business world, you need to be absolutely certain to avoid the following catastrophes that can signal doom…
1) IT Failures
Yes, computers are difficult, temperamental machines that will occasionally pitch a fit that will have the entire office screaming at them. Sometimes, things will go wrong – that’s inevitable. Most companies utilize so much tech these days, it’s a wonder we don’t lose more productivity as a business community every day.
So while your customers are likely to be able to acknowledge the inevitability of tech problems, what they won’t be able to move past is a poor response to those issues. If someone has to call three times to get an order made, they’re not going to call back a fourth time. They’re going to go to another business who has an IT support company and sufficient workaround models to cover themselves for any problems.
In the event that your tech does let you down, what you do next is crucial to deciding how your company will be perceived. Are you quick to a solution, back up and running within a few hours? Or do you dawdle, seemingly creeping further behind the times with each passing minute?
2) Poor Social Media
You need business accounts for all of the major social networks: Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram. There are others to consider, but those are the major ones you need to get ticked off.
You then need to ensure that you are using them. Think of it from a customer’s point of view. They find a new company – your company. You have something that would be of use to them. They want to order but, as a savvy 21st-century customer, they know to check the company out first. They head to your Twitter, where they find a few solitary Tweets from 2012. It’s not a good impression.
You don’t have to be updating your social media constantly; every couple of days with brief news about what the company is up to will suffice. Anything to prevent giving the impression that you setup the accounts as you knew you should, but you’ve yet to actually figure out how to use them.
3) Antiquated Practices
There are few things that can let a company down quite like doing things that are now becoming antiquated. What falls into this category?
- Not accepting credit and debit cards, at the very least. In the next couple of years, you can also add not being able to accept payments from phones or contactless cards onto this list – though these haven’t quite become essentially mainstream as of the time of writing.
- If you sell items online, then you should be offering to pay the cost of any returns. Customers have become used to online companies offering free returns, to the point they will be extremely skeptical about buying from a company that doesn’t offer free returns. Being able to afford this should be structured directly into your pricing strategy.
- Being out of contact. If your customers or clients have a problem, they’re going to want to talk to you about it – and they’re going to want to do it quickly. You can’t just throw up an “out of office” email or ignore messages beeping on social media. With a modern company, you have to be willing to be able to respond to any issues within 24 hours. Anything else just looks old-fashioned, quaint in a way, but definitely not something many customers will be willing to deal with.
There is little doubt that when it comes to keeping up with modern business trends, you have no choice: you keep up, or your business will fail. On the upside, taking care of all of the above will inevitably means your business runs better too – and who can resist the idea of that?