Publisher's Outlook

Keeping Up With The Vigilante Consumer

By Rich Tehrani, CEO, Technology Marketing Corporation  |  October 01, 2010

I came across this piece of editorial that I thought is worth sharing. It is written by Patricia Fripp, who is an executive speech coach, sales presenta­tion trainer and keynote speaker on sales, customer service and promoting business and communication skills. She is the author of Make It, So You Don’t Have to Fake It!

Fripp points to what futurist Faith Popcorn has coined the “Vigilante Consumer” –who want value, service, convenience, choice and lots of attention--and she offers several suggestions to keep up with them. TMC (News - Alert) has published Fripp editorial as a guest column on Here are the highlights:

• Start at the beginning 
“What is your philosophy, your vision for doing business? “We treat you right.” “Solutions, not problems.” Think it through carefully and, when you’ve decided, design your business op­erations and activities to support that vision. “Now, state your product or service in one simple, short sen­tence that everyone will get. For example: “We sell stuff with your name on it.” That’s the statement of Jonathan Stone’s specialty advertising firm, Another Dancing Bear Production. “People do business with people they know because they’ve heard about them from a friend or read about them in a magazine. So your job is to make yourself known to prospec­tive customers. “What you need is an unfair advantage. This isn’t about lying or cheating. Exactly the opposite. An unfair advantage is doing every tiny little thing better than your competition. In this instance, your competition can be your best teacher.

• Who knows what your customers want? 
“Think about whom in your business knows what your customers want. Is there a service that provides you and your competitors something that might just provide you with an effective, economical market sample? 

Don’t overlook opportunities close to home 
“In your role as an unrelenting self-promoter, start off in your own backyard. How many people in your office building know you and what your business is all about? Introduce yourself to people in the hall, in the elevator of your building. Let everyone in the immediate vicinity of your office know who you are and what product or service you offer. Tell them about your superb product or service and how you do things differently than your competi­tors and you’re right there five minutes from their doorsteps.

• What can you do to make your vigilante consumers feel special and appreciated? 
“We know now, great customer service is no longer good enough. We have to exceed the vigilante consumers’ expectations. 

• Build relationships with your customers 
“There are really only two types of customers: those who know and love you, and those who never heard of you. All busi­nesses spend relative fortunes trying to get new customers and that will always remain important. But don’t spend the entire fortune on just attracting new customers. Spend some of those dollars keeping in touch with existing customers because you want to keep them. “One of the goals in growing your business should be that the same person you sold to today will still be spending money with you ten years from now. So don’t celebrate the close of a sale. Celebrate the beginning of a long relation­ship. People want to do business with people who appreci­ate them and look out for them.”

• Seek strategic alliances
“Strategic alliance is a relatively new term for something that has been practiced for years -- developing “professional friends.” A fine clothing store can give out coupons for neigh­borhood dry cleaner. An advertising firm promotes the services of a print shop. And, of course, the dry cleaner and print shop refer their customers back. “These are a few suggestions to help you in building your business into a prospering dynamo. You can gather even more tips and techniques, by going to conferences, seminars and by listening to competitors, customers, neighbors, friends. You can learn from everyone. Even if you think a technique won’t work for you, twist and turn it, see if you can put an adapta­tion of it to work for you.” 

To read Patricia Fripp’s complete column on TMCnet here is the URL    

Rich Tehrani is CEO of TMC. In addition, he is the Chairman of the world’s best-attended communications conference, INTERNET TELEPHONY Conference & EXPO (ITEXPO (News - Alert)). He is also the author of his own communications and technology blog.

Edited by Stefania Viscusi