Make It Easy
I recycle. I also give blood. Like all habits, the longer I recycle or give blood, the more effort I put into it.
I didn’t always do these things. I first started recycling because my assistant, Mary, encouraged me to do so. I did it just enough to show her that I was trying. Mary also encouraged me to give blood. I was much quicker to agree to recycle than to give blood. The reason was simple.
Recycling was convenient and easy for me because there were recycling bins at the office. Recycling became a habit and then I started recycling at home when our neighborhood started offering single-sort recycling with provided bins and regular pickups. It was easy. All I had to do was throw recyclable items into a single bin for pick up; I didn’t have to drive to a recycling center. Recycling became a habit and I’ve been recycling consistently for nearly 10 years.
Giving blood, on the other hand, was not something I wanted to do. Privately, I was pretty scared and I didn’t like the idea. To give blood, I had to make an appointment, give up my time and, worst of all, get my arm stuck with a needle. Then, one day we had a blood drive at the office and Mary encouraged me to donate. She did so much for me that I felt obligated to respect her request, and, since the drive was at the office, I only had to give up about an hour of my day. The process was much easier than I thought and I felt good about myself, but I did not start giving blood regularly. It was too inconvenient. Then another blood drive came to the office and I decided to donate again. It didn’t go so well that time—I passed out—and I decided giving blood wasn’t a good idea for me.
A few years later my niece, Brooke, needed several transfusions and I felt obligated to give blood again. This time I didn’t pass out because I ate properly beforehand. This began my ongoing commitment to giving blood (I have never passed out again). I can give blood every 60 days and my blood type is universal so the blood bank calls me constantly to give. Yet, I don’t donate every 60 days; sometimes not even every 90 days.
The reason is simple and it’s not a good one: giving blood is usually inconvenient for me. To give blood I must commit to it and work it into my usually full schedule. The more convenient the location, and the more availability in my schedule, the more likely I am to donate.
So where am I going with this? Here’s my point. Customers are consumers, and consumers, as a rule, do what is easy and convenient. From recycling to giving blood to buying promotional products, we gravitate toward things that are easy. Consider your daily email habits; which emails do you open and respond to first? You probably choose those that are easiest to respond to, giving you that sense of accomplishment.
As a business, you must make it easy for your employees to do their jobs. You must also make it easy for your customers to do business with you. From a customer perspective, ecommerce continues to change what customers expect from promotional products professionals. Likewise, distributors expect to find current supplier catalogs online and in SAGE, and they expect great overall service. Buyer demands on distributors are increasingly consumer driven, and it’s challenging for most distributors to meet them. For example, the trend toward email inquiries was welcome over the past several years, but now that trend is turning toward live chat inquiries. How can you effectively meet your buyers’ needs for consumer-oriented services such as live chat?
Take a look at your processes and your customer touchpoints, and identify where your business is not easy for customers or where your processes make it hard for employees to do their jobs. Use your findings to create a prioritized plan on how you are going to make things easy.
P.S. Allow me to be your “Mary” and encourage you to give blood and save a life.