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It’s a brave new world out there. Far too often you hear stories about how businesses still cling to ‘how things always have been done.’ As the world and technology changes, so do the expectations of your customers. People have an even stronger opinion on how companies communicate, what convenience you offer in terms of delivery and payment and what you actually stand for.

New Business Rules

Businesses should have an online and social media presence. Even more so, customers expect to be able to interact online in the same way as if they would walk up to you. It’s no longer enough just ‘being there’ as if it was a large billboard. Customers expect to be able to interact (positively and negatively) with you and for your business to react in a timely fashion.

A younger generation also expects a company to be reachable in multiple ways, beyond just the telephone. Companies that have a live chat, that is able to receive and respond to text messages and is able to interact on DMs, are businesses more attuned to what is expected nowadays.

Also part of the increased expectations is the speed at which customers expect their product. In a world where next day delivery had become the norm, and we are even slowly shifting to ‘next few hours,’ it’s easy to see why people get impatient. Think of parcel delivery services and the ones that offer real-time tracking and the ones that don’t. Keeping your customers abreast of when they can expect their purchase makes the difference between a good and bad customer experience.

If you are running a business where money changing hands directly is critical, consider going cashless. The days that getting a card machine installed was a capital expenditure are long gone. In fact, you most likely have most of the hardware required already. Consider an iPad credit card reader, a quick and elegant solution. Being able to offer cashless payments will ensure that potential customers do not walk out the door, unable to pay.

Authenticity and standing for something matters. Customers are confronted with a jungle of businesses all clamouring for their custom. Standing out via marketing is one thing, but also realize that customers vote with their money. Increasingly, people are looking for something that works on an emotional level. As a business, you can let this shine through by adopting a charity, or let your employees take time off for volunteering.

You could choose to actively participate in current events and weigh in on political issues. Either way, pick something that is genuine to you, your business, and it’s employees. Customers can sniff out a dishonest message straight away, and even if it’s an honest true to your values standpoint, expect extreme scrutiny. Also, consider the opposite being true as well.

Advertisers have come under intense scrutiny based on around what pieces of content they appear. This could be controversial blogs, radio shows or podcasts, or even news programmes. We live in a world where consumer activism on a global scale is possible, and that should not be ignored.

So there you have it, a whole heap of expectations. The silver lining in all of this is that this will suit smaller and new business startups much better than incumbent large mammoth companies. New businesses can make this part of their DNA. In a way, with new expectations come new chances of making your business thrive.

This is a collaborative post.

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