Inquiring about a CSA membership, the cashier at a local direct market outlet smiled and handed me a flyer. “You’ll notice,” she said, “we have an exciting new policy making it more convenient for our members.” Instead of seasonal sessions or pre-loaded CSA boxes, the market was offering a discount card for any day of the week and discounts on most items throughout the entire store. While the idea may be novel to some direct marketers and “old hat” to others, seeking convenience for customer-members is always important to your return on investment.

Why? When you put customer convenience and overall interest at the forefront of your business plan, you anticipate excellent results. Will it be sales as usual, or are you thinking ahead to the best customer interactions and jumpstarting a new sales bonanza?

Why is convenience so important to consumers? Today, we can purchase goods and services from any number of sources. Marketers know competition is strong and getting more innovative. So much of popular convenience is, however, non-personal – packages at our doorstep, or services contracted entirely online. Customers relate strongly to direct experiences, and often make more comments about how they felt than the product or service itself.

Direct marketers have an advantage in being able to share their stories with customer-members, through person-to-person conversations. This is the beginning step in learning more about what consumers want and how to deliver it in the most convenient way. It could be through education about a product, talking about industry trends, packaging innovation, product placement or even parking at your site. Whether you sell from a market or online, gaining customer feedback is paramount to making wise decisions about future selling strategies and customer engagement.

Convenience is about four main principles: it saves and simplifies and produces ease and comfort. So how does that fit into your current customer service mission? What is built into your product or service that offers customers savings, simplicity, ease and comfort? When you can identify those parameters and pass them along to your buyers, you strengthen your competitive advantage while delivering excellent customer service.

Today, we are assured that convenience is all around us, however impersonal it may seem. Tapping into convenience that actually benefits your own customers in helpful ways means you truly understand customer service at its best. And a satisfied customer base equals a pretty good return on your investment!

The above information is presented for educational purposes and should not be substituted for professional business or legal counseling.