Keeping pace with changing expectations

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experienceRecently, I decided to make long-overdue revisions to my book, “Red Hot Customer Service,” which I wrote some years ago. As soon as the process of proofing and revising began, it was clear that it needed more than an update; it needed a new title as well as fresh content. After all, how could a book about overcoming challenges in business be written today without including COVID-19? In the end, I decided on “Red Hot Customer Experience; Challenges Your Business Will Face in the Next Normal.”

This exercise got me thinking…is there a universal “new normal?” I’m of the opinion that it’s up to us as individuals to decide what the “next normal” looks like. Same goes for business owners; they will need to adjust accordingly to meet the customer who’s in the market for flooring and take it from there. If you don’t determine your own path, it will likely be defined by the stronger competitors in your market.

So, what’s the best way to ensure you are adapting to meet the needs of today’s shopper? I asked a good friend and business partner, Paul Dominie, president of sales and marketing at Bella Flooring Group, for his thoughts in the matter. He shared this: “One of the many things that remain present in any industry is the importance of listening to the needs of our customers. A customer’s concerns are rarely the same; they are forever changing. As technology and new products continue to develop, we must devote extra time to listen to our customers and act in a manner that benefits their needs.”

It’s time to know your customers better, inside and out and be there for them throughout the purchasing journey. During the day you can answer their questions, but what about when you’re closed? Don’t we expect a 24-hour service? This is the double-edged sword that we call technology. In some industries, technology has shifted leverage away from the salesperson and put it in the hands of the consumer. Technology has taught consumers to expect a flawless, frictionless experience with every transaction.

One thing that remains consistent is the customer experience will remain on the forefront of their purchasing decisions. Remember this: You’re not alone; your competition is feeling the same pressures. But instead of caving in to those pressures, use this time as an opportunity to get closer to the customer by better understanding their needs, wants and expectations.

The practice of yoga—which figuratively presents an expansion of surrender—provides another way to look at it. While performing the Savasana pose, for example, the practitioner is asked to lie on her back, surrendering her weight to the floor and permit the body to relax. All the while, you’re asked to maintain your awareness. If you choose to space out and withdraw from the experience, then you are giving up. In essence, letting go of control and relaxing gives you more power while a lack of awareness is akin to giving up.

So, what’s the bottom line in all this? Instead of worrying about what you are giving up to the customer, consider instead what you might get in exchange. Remember, few journeys are ever complete without some type of positive change.

If you’re looking for more tips on improving the customer experience, look for me @TISE Live on the Main Stage, Wednesday, Feb. 2, 2022, from 1 p.m. – 1:30 p.m. Hope to see you there!

Lisbeth Calandrino has been promoting retail strategies for the last 20 years. To have her speak at your business or to schedule a consultation, contact her at

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Jan. 10/17, 2022

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