The Coronavirus and society’s reaction to it has changed everything in the business world. The question is, “Will things return to “normal” when the pandemic passes?”
I think so, except it will be a different normal. An even larger number of customers will prefer businesses coming to them (to their home or home/office) instead of the other way around. For my family’s computer and device repair business that means a couple of big changes:
- Since buying the business last year, we had previously picked up and delivered only for large orders or special circumstances. As of now, we are considering every order a special circumstance and offering free pickup/delivery. It wasn’t an original thought. We just followed up after the restaurants and fast food places put wheels to the idea out of the need to survive. There will be a cost. However, we’re confident the addition to our value proposition (why customers should use us rather than somebody else) and increased goodwill are going to be well worth it. We have already received notes of thanks for the service.
- We’ve constructed an ongoing means of supporting customers’ tech needs by coming to their home/office for hardware installation/repair and remotely from our office directly to fix their software issues. We’ll monitor their devices and get alerts when a problem is about to occur. We will then repair the issue and notify the customer once its’ done. Just two days after rolling out the service, we’ve already had one customer sign up and another one is close.
25 years ago we began hearing the term “click and mortar”- businesses with physical locations (maybe) and user friendly websites for ordering online. The counter argument used to be that customers might buy a few things this way but they won’t pay extra for delivery. Besides, they want to hold the item in their hands, try it on, or drive it before buying.
Enter free delivery, no hassle returns, and cars ordered sight unseen — delivered to your house. Apple, Alphabet (aka Google), Microsoft, and Amazon are the four largest US companies and they all provide hardware, software, information, and sell stuff online. Remember KMart, Sears, Borders Books, Walden Books, Blockbuster Video? Me neither.
Innovators … carry on.
About the Author
Mike Cheney is an entrepreneur, investor, and advocate for the family business. He teaches on mentorship and discipleship as foundational elements of the family economy. Together, the Cheney family is involved in a number of entrepreneurial business ventures. Audio recordings from his Australia conference and his two books, One with Everything: Anatomy of a Hotdog Stand and Other Great Family Businesses You Can Start and, Money 101: Earn, Give, Save, Spend are available at AMEProgram.com.