What ever happened to Pokemon Go?  It was just this past summer...Yukoners wandering Whitehorse like zombies, staring into their phones, gathering in hoards at this or that location, desperate to collect that next … what was it? Pokeball? Who knows. All I know is that before I could jump on board, I’d already missed the boat.

How did a trend so hot go so cold, so fast?

According to Mark Humphrey-Jenner, there were three key factors to Pokemon Go’s rapid decline:

1. They released key features before they were fully developed. In other words, they started a craze they couldn’t sustain.

2. They dropped features seen as essential by their customers, like the tracking apps third parties had created to make the game work better.

3. And worst, throughout it all, they remained virtually silent when they should have been anything but.

It’s the last one that resonates the strongest for me. Not everything that happens within your organization, within your brand, is going to be worthy of a happy emoji. That’s okay. That’s life. It’s when you stop communicating in the midst of it all that you risk losing the confidence of the all-important consumer.

You know what I’m talking about. You show up for dinner at your favourite restaurant, stomach grumbling, only to discover a taped sign on the window:  closed for renovations. A little advance notice would have been nice. You move on to the next restaurant, and leave that one firmly in your past.

Or, how about when your hairdresser raises his prices and you don’t find out until you get to the register. You can’t undo your haircut and pass on the price. You’ll pay. Feathers rightly ruffled, you also may not be back.   

Having an open dialogue with customers encourages them to raise issues they may be having — and allow you to resolve those difficulties — before they take their business elsewhere. So stay in touch—for most customers in this day and age it’s not an option, it’s an expectation. The good news is that you have more tools at your disposal than ever before to help. Use social media, respond to criticism, embark on e-mail campaigns, send out newsletters, maximize the strengths of your website.

If you’re not a millennial, these tasks may seem overwhelming but like learning to swim, playing an instrument or … running a successful business … each is a skill that can be learned and mastered. To get started, find the platform where your audience is already having the conversation (e.g. Yelp for the closed restaurant above) and join in. By doing so, you can cultivate a loyal, engaged consumer base, and when it comes to that next purchase, you’ll be in optimal position to be on the winning end. 

 

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