One of the hardest parts about transitioning an old school business to the modern age of digital, is the belief that everything must be done in person. “Customers have to be able to kick the tires!” “You have to shake the customer’s hand, and look them in the eye!” These statements are the low-hanging fruit of digital disruption. What if that isn’t what the customer wants. What if the customer wants a choice?

To quote Rear Admiral Grace Hopper,”The most damaging phrase in the language is: `It’s always been done that way.'” If your intention is to build an online business, then you must succumb to the expectations of the online customer – And why wouldn’t you? These customers are not typically 9-5 oriented, and they are willing to explore your information. They will chat, call, or navigate through your self-help portal any time, day or night, if you let them. While searching your site, they may have a quick question that they will just as quickly dismiss if they have to pick up the phone, and make a call. However, when a customer has the option to send a message via chat, then they actually initiate the sales process. This is an advantage that is completely overlooked by traditionalists.

Online customers are not the type to hound you about implementing new features. If you have it, then you have it. If you don’t, they will keep it moving until they find an online business that does. Without the burden of travel, online customers are able to sift through businesses like the pages of a newspaper… (which they no longer receive, because they prefer to read the digital version). In other words, you need to know your customers before you decide to make decisions for them. Deny your customers the service options they want, and they will deny you the business you need!

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