You may have read that here before, and you will hear it again and again from me. This is a really important concept: Place yourself in the customer’s shoes, and experience your business as the customer experiences it. That means experiencing everything from the appearance of your business, whether a store front or a website, to experiencing how the customer is treated.
Several weeks ago I visited a local business. I had been there many times over the last years. As you come in the front door of this business, the first thing that you see is the endcap of a set of shelves that run the depth of the store. The endcap was messy, and this was just before Christmas, when people are buying gifts!
If I had been new to the store, the messy display would have caused me to not expect much of the store, perhaps discouraging me from returning. The owners were devaluing themselves to the customer.
The customer service by these owners couldn’t be better, mostly because they know me, call me by name. I see them at Chamber of Commerce meetings, at the bank and so on. But for me, the appearance of a store is not overcome by customer service. I expect neat and somewhat attractive appearance in a retail store. I am not unique in this regard.
These owners have a problem in that the price point for their goods must be somewhat higher than others who sell in higher volume. They must compete with the big boxes in terms of quality (they have superior quality) and with customer service. They also could compete with a superior shopping experience which they are not delivering.
The store has become routine for them, and they are not seeing what the customer sees. They are not creating the business, but are letting it slide. Creating your business each day is a little like remembering to love your spouse each day too. It takes attention – it’s something you have to do consciously.
It may be that they have lost heart, have lost enthusiasm for their sweet store and their service to the community.