Reports of schools banning clapping to show excitement, a girls school who had floated the idea that all teachers be “gender neutral” when talking to the female students and even some companies making their staff wear high vis jackets when sitting at their office desks inside a high rise building.
Yup, it seems as though we have gone completely mad! This has made me then wonder one thing: are we making it easy for our customers to do business with us?
Have we as business owners complicated things so much that now our customers or potential customers think that we have taken the common sense factor out of how we do what we do?
As strange as it may sound, a lot of business owners these days never actually stop and do a stock take on whether or not their processes, systems, structure or operational methods are getting in the way of how a client/customer would like to interact with them.
You see this is something that I feel is slapping most of us in the face when we deal with larger organisations and as frustrated as we may get, for some of us, maybe we are treating our customers the exact same way.
It never ceases to astound me at the way some larger organisations actually run and actually treat their customers.
Recently I had the misfortune of having to set up a new merchant facility for my new Refer Us business. Now I was not really prepared for anything other than a simple process but how wrong was I?
Firstly the first bank told me it would take 10 days for them to “set it up” but if I wanted it quicker I could pay an extra $160! Huh? Pay you extra to do your job? No thanks!
Then the second bank I rang three times and left messages still haven’t called me back, then the third bank who I was hold to for 30 minutes when needing some clarification from their supervisor accidently hung up on me so back to the 30 minute on hold que it was for me. Then the 4th bank told me that they would only talk to new customers between 10 am and 2pm.
All I am trying to do, me the customer, is give them my business and all they are doing is getting in the way of that process.
How many times might this be happening in your business?
I admit that maybe not to this extreme but the amount of businesses that get me to come in and pin point the “chokepoints” inside their businesses are shocked at how it is actually their own doing with their “systems” or “company procedures” that is creating a divide between them and their customers.
Now I am already hearing some of you screaming that you need systems and procedures and I totally agree with you.
My point is maybe we all need to constantly monitor them as they may become an issue later on.
The client’s needs and wants as well as their desire to interact with your business is constantly changing so we need to change how we also do things.
The one thing that used to be a bit more prevalent in business was the art and skill of being “fluid” in what we did and how we went about doing things.
That seems to have been put on the shelf these days. Being fluid, being able to change with how your customer of consumer changes or desires change is extremely important these days in business.
The one thing your customers/clients have these days more than ever before is CHOICE! They know that someone else will potentially look after their needs, their way if you don’t.
That is why I personally believe we need to ensure we keep the fluid approach at all times.
I do really feel that common sense needs to make a huge comeback with regards to how we do business with our customers.
Unfortunately, common sense isn’t common anymore which is a real shame but also is the main reason why things go south with our customers.
Look at it this way: if there are things that really tick you off when you are dealing with other businesses then make sure you aren’t doing the same thing to your customers.
This is not rocket science, it’s the old fashion approach to understanding how important your customers actually are and not treating them as a number or dollar sign.
One of those things would be the lack of product or service knowledge these days within some businesses. How many times have you been shopping or somewhere where you know more about the product or service that the person supposedly trying to sell it does?
Product knowledge is the best asset any staff member can possess, so we need to ensure our staff are up to speed on what we are selling.
They also need to be right across the services that you are offering as well as if they have no idea about some of them, how will they upsell your customers/clients into those services?
I would encourage you all to do a proper check on all of the areas any of your customers/ clients have a “touch point” in your business as you might see that a potential effort for “efficiency” is actually causing confusion.
There have been many times that I have been asked to look at the way a business runs and the areas that have caused issues are the areas that the owner looks at every day but was blind to the negative effects it was having on their business.
For all of us in business, we are all looking for that competitive edge and I believe the most competitive edge these days is simplifying the way our customers can do business with us and remove as many road blocks as we can.
Justin Herald is one of Australia’s most booked business speakers, speaking at over 80 corporate conferences each year. Author of 8 best selling books and managing director of Major Motivation. He is in demand staff mentor and trainer.