As business owners we can tend to fall into a big trap when we assume our customers will accept our word that our service is excellent and better than every body else’s.
This is something that is wrong and it is something that needs to be understood.
You see just because you say it doesn’t mean I (as the customer) will believe it. I need to try it out before I will take your word for it.
Why? Simple, because I along with every other customer or consumer out there have been feed the whole “we look after our customers” line so many times that we just don’t believe it any more.
What a lot of businesses do is they make the mistake in assuming that they can change someone’s perception by using fancy marketing ploys.
You see my perception of your service and your business will become fact in my head. If you say you care about me in your advertising and I then experience the opposite, then all of that money spent on attracting me to your business has gone down the drain.
This is why it is so important why the owners or the managers of the business need to ensure they have their fingers on the customers pulse and not on what they want the customer to believe.
You need to make sure you see what the customer sees and experience what the customer experiences.
When was the last time you had a real hard and thorough look at how your staff are servicing your customers or clients and what the reaction of that service is from your customer’s perspective?
Too many times we just assume everything is going well if we don’t get any negative feedback from the customer. But the customer has choice these days in taking their business elsewhere so most of the time you won’t even hear about a complaint as the customer will just leave and say nothing.
I am a bit different to most customers. Most of the time I prefer to say nothing if the service is bad, but when it is so bad that you are left gob-smacked then I just have to say something.
Recently I took my family away for a few days up the coast. One night we decided to eat out at a restaurant and my wife felt like a particular type of food.
So we all walked into the restaurant and waited for a little while and we were then promptly seated at our table.
After a little while the owner of the restaurant came to the table next to us and started having a conversation with the people at that table how business was very slow at that time.
We sat at our table for over 20 minutes without anyone coming over to us to take a drinks order or to even give us a menu. As our youngest daughter was starting to fall asleep at the table I suggested we just go somewhere else to eat.
We got up and as I was at the front door the owner came up to me and asked why I was leaving.
I politely explained to him that we had waited for a while but due to the time and our daughter being ready for bed we would just find somewhere else to eat.
What he said next just floored me. He said “why don’t you just (swear word) off to McDonald’s as that is where you belong. We are a classy establishment that doesn’t need customers like you anyway” Now two things have to be said here.
1. I would have preferred McDonald’s anyway.
2. His perception of his establishment was not my perception. By that I mean I would not find the restaurant classy at all due to the experience that I had there.
You see on one hand he complains to people that business is slow but doesn’t do what is necessary to change that outcome.
All he needed to do was serve us and they would have made more money that night.
I know that this may be simple, but it is the simple things that will grow a business if done correctly.
If only he had seen things from our perspective that night he may have seen a hole in the way that his business was running. The best way you can change your business to be in line with what your customers want is to listen to them. It costs you nothing!
Now my perception of that business is fact in my head. No matter how much advertising he does to win me back, I will always go back to my experience there. Until you understand what the perception of your business is in your customer’s eyes, you will constantly miss the mark with them. You will spend a lot of wasted time and money on nothing.
So what do you think you have to work on in your business?
Are you too busy trying to get your customers to accept your brand of service as the way it is going to be, or are you open to listening to their perceptions of what they actually experience?
Because don’t forget, the customer’s perception is now fact to them. It is your job to change their perception if it is a bad one to one that is now positive.
The only way you can do that is by understanding why they have the perception that they do.