I've been reading a new book this week written by my good buddy Jim Blasingame titled "The Age of the Customer." Jim is the creator and host of the award winning "Small Business Advocate Show" which is the worlds only weekly radio talk show dedicated to small business and a show I've been fortunate to have been a guest on several times as part of the SBA "brain trust" Jim also recently provided a great cover quote for my new book "Hitting the Curveballs."
As I'm reading Jim's book I'm finding it to be an interesting (and scary) read that identifies an epochal shift in the business world causing the 10,000 year "Age of the Seller" to be replaced by the "Age of the Customer" If that's not enough to try and grasp it also goes into how relevance is replacing competitiveness as the coin of the realm and how a business's future will be increasingly decided at the "moment of relevance" Scary stuff for many small business owners but actually makes a lot of sense to me when I think of ISI's future.
But in 2014 how does a business like ISI stay "relevant"? How do we make the transition from the "Age of the Seller" to the the "Age of the Customer"? It seems to me that it all starts with two words - CUSTOMER SERVICE - which has been the hallmark of the ISI brand since the company was founded in 1996.
The way I see it a company will stay relevant in the AV/VTC industry when it's not about the AV products and hardware but the support we provide for them. Consider that we have discovered that 80% of ISI's customers and prospects have already done the product and pricing research(on the Internet) to get an idea of what they want and what they can afford BEFORE THE FIRST MEETING!
It's no longer a sellers game in 2014- its the customers game and the only way to win? Its old fashioned but i think ISI earns it by communicating value in our service(design, engineering project management, programming, tech support etc) Make it about the people, not the products. Given the shift to the "Age of the Customer" it should make 2014 an interesting and challenging year for ISI.