How to Lose a Customer (Part 2)

Put yourself in the shoes of your customers.  From their point-of-view, are there areas of your business that they may not consider enough of a value to continue doing business with you?  What, other than an owner or employee with an indifferent attitude will assist in losing customers?

Often, a business owner is so focused on working in or running the business, that he or she may lose the ability to place themselves in their customer’s place.  Below are a few physical areas that may be overlooked:

* Parking

  • No available spaces
  • No defined spaces
  • Potholes in the parking area
  • Trash on the ground
  • Unattractive, obtrusive, or no landscaping

* The appearance of the exterior building:

  • Peeling or faded paint
  • Dirty-looking
  • Broken or missing items (cracked glass, a flag pole with no flag on it, etc.)
  • Dirty fingerprints on the door
  • Unkempt landscaping

* The lobby or waiting area:

  • An empty reception desk
  • A funny smell
  • Out-of-date magazines
  • Uncomfortable (or not enough) chairs
  • Not clean or picked up

Next time you walk into your business, put on “fresh eyes” – the kind that have never visited your location before.  NOTICE the physical aspects of your business, and how you would feel/respond to a business that looked the same.  Then, if anything needs attending to – DO IT! Your customers will notice and your profit margin will grow.


How to Lose a Customer

When I think of a lack of customer service, the first thing that pops into my mind is working with someone at a business who just doesn’t care about their job.  Generally, those employees are not striving to meet your expectations, let alone exceed them, on a daily basis.  Why?  Because to them, “it’s just a job.”

Have you ever heard someone say, “It’s just a job,” before?  Have you ever said (or thought) it?  I have heard that phrase many times and the people who say it usually don’t like what they are doing, or worse, don’t like (or respect) their employer and feel that they are not respected. Later this year, we will tackle employee issues.

Today, I want to plant the seed that a poor or indifferent attitude is the number one (#1) way to lose customers.  Your customers/clients want to feel acknowledged, respected and appreciated.  Are you and your employees living up to your customer’s expectations?

In the next few weeks, we will take a look at other ways you can lose a customer – or worse, never get them in the first place.

Why Should They Buy From You (Part 2)

So – if you and the business is the product, what are you selling?

To illustrate – Sam or Sally consumer can purchase a greeting card (merchandise or service) from you or someone else.  HOWEVER, they are only able to have the pleasure of doing business with you when they walk into your business.

Think about it.  If you and the person down the street, sell the same merchandise or service, how does the consumer decide who gets his or her business?

The answer is that you must set yourself and your business apart from others similar.

How do you do that?  You could have an extra clean store or office, have brighter display lights, offer great customer service, or more parking spaces.  But wait – the business down the street just changed their light bulbs and put fresh magazines out to read.  Now they are competing with you!

Here, in this blog, I offer you a simple, yet effective, secret weapon. Are you ready?  Exceed your customer’s expectations.  At minimum, always meet them.

Have you heard the story of the woman who said to her husband, one morning, “do you love me?”  The husband responds, “Of course.  I told you I loved you on our wedding day and if that ever changes, I’ll let you know.”

Tell your customers you love and appreciate them by considering what their expectations of you may be and developing a plan to meet and exceed them every time.

Why Should They Buy from You?

If you are a small business owner reading this material, I am sure that you will agree with me that operating your own business is an exciting and eye-opening experience.

Besides the day-to-day operations and the monetary responsibilities, it is important to have a clear understanding of your product.

If I were to ask the average small business owner what his or her product is, I would most likely get the following reply, “my product is greeting cards (or insurance, car repair, image consulting, etc.)  Let us take a moment and digest this answer.  If your product is greeting cards, then what are you selling?

OK – I am sure that I have you completely confused.  Let me explain.

In business, your product and item for consumption (merchandise or service) are different.  Your item for consumption is what the consumer actually purchases from you.  The product is you and your business.

So – You Want to Start a Business…

You are not alone.

What I want you to understand that just because you have a great idea, product or invention – that alone is not a guarantee for success.  Often the reverse is true – many businesses fail because the business owner was a good, hard worker and thought that if he or she had the next great idea, product or invention consumers would knock down his or her doors to buy it.

The secret is that even though you may be confident about the success of your business and what you have to offer, if people do not know your business exists, you have no sales.  Worse than that (you may be asking, “what is worse than no sales?”), the consumer may have found you, experienced your merchandise or service and had a bad or unpleasant experience.