The need for speed: Chamber speaker Jay Baer to bring message that days of a ‘pandemic pass’ are over

Photo provided Entrepreneur, author and customer experience expert Jay Baer will be featured as the keynote speaker during the Columbus Area Chamber of Commerce annual meeting on Thursday, March 30. The program begins at 11:30 a.m. at The Commons in downtown Columbus.

If you give your customers time, they will give you money. But if you cost your customers time, it will cost you money.

That’s the essential message coming from the keynote speaker of the annual meeting of the Columbus Area Chamber of Commerce next month.

Described as an entrepreneur, author and customer experience expert, Bloomington resident Jay Baer will be featured during the annual meeting on Thursday, March 30. The hour-and-a-half program begins at 11:30 a.m. at The Commons.

Tickets are $60 per person, and registration is required through the chamber’s website at Many have already signed up, so chamber president Cindy Frey recommends that interested individuals register as soon as possible.

“We’re going to talk about the successes of the past year, which are significant,” Frey said. “We are also going to unveil a new promotional video that has a number of our members talking about why they value the chamber.”

Baer is the founder of the Phoenix, Arizona-based “Convince & Convert LLC.” The organization describes itself as a team of marketing experts, strategists, analysts, creators, advisors, confidants and partners. According to the company’s website, “Convince & Convert” has 15 senior team members and strategists.

The keynote speaker says he will address how consumer attitudes about responsiveness have been altered by the 2020 pandemic. Baer maintains that several people have lost their patience with inconveniences they had tolerated prior to the outbreak of COVID-19.

For example, many employees won’t stay with jobs they dislike, and consumers will avoid waiting in lines and become impatient at being placed on hold for lengthy periods, according to Baer.

Businesses need to be concerned that the American Customer Service Index, which measures nationwide customer satisfaction, is lower now than it’s been since 1974, Baer said. After being involved for more than 10 years in a national study involving 1,900 consumers, here are some of his organization’s findings published in their 2022 Consumer Patience Report.

  • Two-thirds of customers say speed is as important as price.
  • Customers hate having to contact a business two or more times.
  • Customers do not give business a “pandemic pass” for slowness.
  • More than half of customers have hired the first business to respond, even if they were more expensive.
  • 50% of customers are less likely to spend money if a business is slower than they expect.
  • Gen Z is most likely to feel “respected” when a brand responds quickly.
  • Half of all customers will not wait more than 3 minutes in a store.

Some dissatisfaction may be due to high prices, limited selection and supply chain problems, Baer said.

“But certainly, my research indicates at least some of it is because businesses aren’t fast enough, and they feel like companies are wasting their time,” he said.

Nevertheless, a number of business owners say they don’t want to respond too quickly to customers because it sets unrealistic expectations, Baer said.

“In many cases, it’s not about the raw speed as it is about setting the right expectations for customers,” Baer explained. “The biggest issue to to under-promise and over-deliver on the issue of speed.”

Generally speaking, Baer says it’s not a requirement for businesses to add personnel to satisfy a customer’s patience. But companies must learn to understand the critical correlation between speed and customer satisfaction, loyalty, purchase and propensity.

Frey says the annual meeting provides a rare opportunity to get leaders in business, community and education, as well as elected officials and nonprofit directors, all in one room to hear a shared message. Baer believes all of these organizations from different sectors will benefit from his keynote thoughts.

Baer had once considered moving from his former home in Arizona to Columbus, but decided on Bloomington due to its proximity to collegiate sports. But he has been to Columbus numerous times.

“Columbus is an absolutely spectacular city that is much above its weight in every conceivable measure,” Baer said.

A number of prestigious awards will be announced during the annual meeting that includes the Edna V. Folger Outstanding Teacher Award and the Community Service Award. Frey says a business award also will be presented at the annual meeting.

Jay Baer

Age: 53

Residence: Bloomington

Experience: 25 years in digital marketing and customer experience, consulting for more than 700 companies.

Professional affiliations and honors: Certified Speaking Professional (CSP) and recipient of the Council of Peers Award for Excellence.

Business: Customer experience expert and founder of “Convince & Convert LLC” (the fifth company he’s founded). Author of six books that include “Youtility,” “Hug Your Haters” and “Talk Triggers.” Host of the Social Pros podcast.

Family: Wife, Alyson, two children.