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There is a concrete us and them when it comes to business. You, the business owner, have something to offer them, your consumers. However, it helps if you think like them. You’re an owner. Outside of your company, you’re an everyday consumer. But do you think like a consumer when it comes to your company? Why not? Consider ways to think like a customer.
Use Your Product
Have you actually used your product? Step outside of your ego. Be critically honest. Is there room for improvement? If you don’t allow yourself to see it, believe your consumers are seeing it. Use your product for one or two weeks. Make note of all your thoughts, suggestions, critiques, and accolades. Realize the more brutal you are, the more improvement you’re creating.
Make Communication Easy
Have you ever wanted to get in contact with a brand, only to be confronted with no telephone number, or computer-generated phone messages? Wouldn’t you rather talk to an actual human? When you send an email, are you left wondering when the brand will return your email, if they do at all? Are you making getting in contact with your store or brand easy for your consumers? The same aggravation you feel is shared by your consumers. Imagine you need to contact your brand this very second. Can you get a worker on the phone or get a response within the next business day?
Have you ever waited a long time for a retail employee to come to your aid? Have you ever wondered why one person is left to man the cash register, help consumers, and tend to stocking needs in the back? Sure, you save some money by skimping on the number of present employees on a given shift. However, what kind of attention is being provided to your consumers? Are you making it easy for them to buy your products? You’re not if they are waiting for assistance. Placing another employee on each shift may cost a bit more; but, how will improved customer service influence your ultimate revenue? Walk in your store on any given shift; survey the level of traffic in comparison to those on staff to offer help.
How often do you ask customers about your products, service, store ambiance, prices, etc? Do you know who the best marketers for your business are? Your consumers are. Give them what they want. You’ll never know exactly what that is until you ask them. Give them an incentive for their feedback. Offer them a coupon or discount code for filling out surveys in your store or online. Don’t expect business; create business by providing value in exchange for your consumers’ dollars.
Go in a Competitor’s Store
Regardless of your chosen vertical, it’s likely you have some competition. Have you ever walked through your competitors’ stores as a consumer? Of course, you’re likely to scoff at spending money there. But put yourself in the shoes of one of their customers. What are they doing right? What are they doing wrong? Get ideas of what to do and what not to do through the eyes of your competitors’ customers.
Make Yourself Available/Visible
Have you ever gotten a “we appreciate your business,” wondering who the “we” is exactly. For instance, when you hear it at Starbucks, do you really assume the CEO knows you personally? Of course, you don’t. They are not present in their stores. Their customers don’t even know them; and, they don’t know their customers. As a small business owner you can be present.
Customers like knowing who is responsible for provided products/services. Make yourself available and visible to them. Talk to them. Ask them questions. Make sure they know you and you them. Do you know who is providing better customer service than Starbucks though their revenue is not equal? The small café owner who knows their customers by name and what they drink is way ahead of the Starbucks CEO when it comes to making themselves available. Think about that; consumers do.
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