Image by: US Navy
By: Giovanni Fields
You’d be surprised by the amount of entrepreneurs that are fiercely combating the “The customer is always right” saying. While I believe there are valid reasons to both sides, (the customers and the entrepreneurs) I also believe that the person who is handing over their hard earned cash’s words should always be heeded, even if you have no intention of changing anything about your company.
Perhaps your success results from the comfort of the minds in your own workplace. That’s fantastic, but it wouldn’t hurt to listen to a customers appeal here and there. It may sound a bit cliche to take this action, but when undertaking any great task it is always a positive to be flexible and adaptable to different trends.
If a guy comes in your store and complains about the lack of bag-less vacuum cleaners, then you may want to invest in some daredevils. The same thing can apply to any product, not just in-store, but also online. The key is to be perceptive and essentially become a customer yourself. By looking at your business from an objective stand point, you may spot something you wouldn’t have had you been wearing the uniform instead of the t-shirt. There are many ways one can infiltrate the minds of the customers, so here are three thoughts from yours truly!
#1) A Suggestion Box
There’s absolutely nothing more corny a company can do than place a suggestion box square in the middle of the checkout counter. Corny yes, but you may be pleasantly surprised by the contents that linger inside by the end of the day. What’s the point of a suggestion box you ask? Well, to demand suggestions of course! If a customer saw something you or your colleagues couldn’t quite catch, then you may be able to fill that blind spot they didn’t account for.
As stated above, a suggestion box may seem “corny” but the bottom line is its free, its easy to make, and it requires little to no time or effort to operate. This not only works relatively well for customers, but also fellow colleagues. The reason this may be effective to your underlings is because a suggestion box is often times anonymous.
And the fact that its anonymous will prevent anybody from holding back whenever they feel there is a problem with your company. The truth sometimes hurts, therefore people often times keep it sealed to share others the pain from discovering it. And that’s where the suggestion box comes in–a device specifically created to bare the burden of truth. So grab your shoe box, glue and scissors, it’s time for an art project.
#2) A Website/Blog
Nowadays if you’re not running online you virtually don’t exist (No pun intended). Studies show that as the years pass a steady increase of civilians prefer to do their shopping online rather than in stores, which is probably why we’re getting more and more lazy–but that’s a different topic. My point is that if you want to implement any concerns, ideas or complaints your customers might have then it would be ideal to emphasize on the customer review section.
Yea it is probably a pipe-dream to expect every customer who slides through to spend a portion of their time out of their busy lives to do such a thing, but there are those select few who feel the need to give their honest opinion about the product they received. It would be your job as commander-and-chief to dissect these reviews (what few you may receive) and plan the future of your business accordingly.
Blogging can also be an effective tool when when interacting with your customers because it allows you to have an unrestricted source in which they can contact you directly. This eliminates the invisible man so to speak and allows you to become more personable with the people who are paying you, thus giving you a chance to further explore their minds for fruitful thoughts and ideas as how you can improve your company.
Talk is always the best therapy, and that doesn’t mean through emails, letters or comments, but actual, old school, face to face exchanges. It may be tough removing yourself from the tight grip of the computer screen, but if you take a little time out of your busy schedule to confront a certain number of customers throughout the day and ask them a few questions about the products their browsing, they may enlighten you as to something your particular product is missing.
Say for example you own a sporting goods shop, you may know a lot about football, hockey and baseball, but perhaps you don’t jive with golf or fishing. By confronting this weakness with your potential customer, they may be nice enough to take you under their wing and advise you about how and why you need to upgrade your Bass Pro 1000 fishing rods to Bass Pro 3000 fishing rods.
I’m not entirely sure if “Bass Pro fishing rods” really exist, but you get my point. The bottom line is you are only human and therefore, it is impossible for you to know everything.
As you advance in your company proceed with this in mind and don’t be afraid to use your customers as puzzle pieces to make your business a whole.
After years of being bombarded with the slogan “the customer is always right” some believe that isn’t always the case. Do you feel that the person giving you their money has a say so in how you run your business? Share with us below!