One of the more interesting by-products of my 3+ decades being involved in business, is the ability to have a chance to reflect on consumer behavior over this time period.
These days this observational privilege is compounded by the number of different businesses I am fortunate to own and the very different clients that we service in each one.
I am not sure whether magnified by everything that we all have been through in the recent pandemic or if it has been something that has been gradually brewing for quite some time, but there are two definitive, glaringly waning societal characteristics that I have noticed as of late which cannot be ignored.
While I have certainly observed these on my own, my feelings continue to be co-signed by numerous business contacts I have conversations with across a number of different industries.
These characteristics are those of patience and loyalty.
The ‘patience factor’ is something that I have heard mentioned for a long time, but have seen hit our industry extraordinarily hard over the past couple of years, as we all experience supply chain challenges that no one really knows when they are going to improve, the across industry lack of qualified employees to help in almost every facet of business, and in at least our specific industry as of late, weather that has not been anywhere close to conducive for getting work completed anywhere near a fluid manner.
Admittedly I do feel as though I am showing my age a bit when I remember a time where patience, in general, appeared to be much more prevalent – almost superpower like!
I believe the same can be said for loyalty.
Whether it is a career situation or simply a brand-loyal consumer behavior, loyalty just does not seem to hold the value it once did.
Regardless of switching jobs or switching kids’ sports teams, the loyalty quality that once was so dominant in our lives, seems to be valued less and less by the day.
Perhaps they are tied together?
While not meaning to philosophize, I do see overlap that is impossible to ignore.
I see and hear of scenarios on a daily basis where a company “messes up” some aspect of their daily business and instead of patiently working through to correct things, the “huffy puffy” gene of many folks quickly rises to the surface and proceeds to almost encourage the individual to torture said company and quickly look for an alternate means of receiving the same service employment.
A teenage worker accidentally gives the wrong flavor of ice cream at the neighborhood ice cream store you have been attending for years, after you have already waited in line for a half hour – time to look for a new ice cream shoppe!
You don’t like the fact that your athlete is “benched” for non-performance and instead of encouraging them to work hard to get better and retake their spot, you look for another place for your athlete to participate at.
Even though we are all aware of the monumental delays in shipping these days, the monthly vitamins you have ordered from your favorite vitamin company for years, all of a sudden start arriving later than ideal and instead of patiently adjusting your ordering habits, you decide to change your “go to” vitamins altogether.
Where does it end?
I personally have no idea.
I do know that these are real items that businesses have to work through and come up with real strategies to combat.
As with many things in life, patience and loyalty are not what they used to be, and those businesses that are able to embrace this concept and adapt to this alarming trend in our behavior are sure to be ahead of the curve.
How exactly to go about doing so, may be an almost Rubik’s cube-like mystery to figure out.
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