Have you ever taken the time to try and walk your business in the shoes of your customer? I am sure right now you are rolling your eyes and thinking, "Of course I have!". But have you REALLY?
We become so entrenched into our own routines and habits, not all of them good, and we can easily become blind or desensitized to our surroundings. We become tunnel visioned in our processes and what we "think" needs be done when in fact we are missing other vital areas in our businesses.
Take the time to to:
1. Walk a mile
Do it in your customer's shoes, from their perspective. What is the entrance or entry to your business like? Is it welcoming, tidy and organized or do you have stacks of unopened mail, boxes or dying plants? A first impression is instant and lasts a long time. Don't give it away to your competitor because your business is behind in processing boxes and shipments. If needed, move your receiving as far away from your entrance as possible.
2. The Buy-in:
Go through a full sale process or buy in for your business. Every step, every level and take a good look at all your tools and processes. Does any part of your presentation, paperwork, invoicing brochures need updating? Does your corporate brochure still show a photo from 1972? Freshen up and make sure your tools reflect a current, thriving company.
3. Take it to the front lines:
If you have staff, assistants, sales staff, floor staff, phone service, etc. Test drive their skills regularly. A professional, cheerful greeting on a phone is always going to translate to a warm fuzzy for the customer. Make sure your people are reflecting that warmth in all levels of greeting, sharing of data and customer service. If you do not have time to mystery shop/call your front line staff, pay a company to do it.
4. Process Perfection:
Make sure you have looked at every step involved in closing a deal, sale or client in your business. How many steps are there? Now what can you do to dissect each step and make it as streamlined as possible. Is their a software program or App that will allow you to spend less time on each step? Getting to the close is an art form and it need not be rushed; just more efficient. For example, for my chain stores, we are looking at improving our gift registry programs to allow for faster instore processing and more efficient and quicker sharing of those details with all of our stores. This helps the customer get the job done efficiently and aids staff by finishing more quickly as they can focus on the next customer's needs.
5. Online Presence:
Walking a mile IN your business also means ON your business ONline. If you have a sign up program, newsletter, email log in etc. Be sure to go through the processes to check on every step, every link. Does your pop-up sign in box need to be updated? Can you freshen up your database links and images? Have you tested the signup process to make sure all redirects are working properly? Maybe change the redirect once in awhile, to your blog, a news article or new company product or service. Invest in keeping it fresh and current!
Leah Chevallier, serial entrepreneur in the Juvenile Industry sharing insight, success and 18 years of award winning retail experience! Took $2000 Micro-credit loan and turned it into $30 million!