There’s a tiny cafe downtown that’s a favorite lunch spot for state workers and a few urban dwellers. One day, while waiting for my order during a recent lunch time stop, I caught a glimpse of a few “glitches” that I would bet any amount of money, have not been seen by the cafe owner. Small hygienic issues that I’m certain the owner is not aware of because he’s in the back of the house making Paninis, and doesn’t have the customer’s view of his establishment.
The solution is simple, become a customer in your own establishment and experience your business from the customer point of view. If you normally enter your business through the back door, come in through the front door a few times a week. Stand or sit where your customers usually stand, and look around the place. If there’s a waiting area, sit on the furniture and let your eyes wander like those of a bored customer. Start at the corners of the floor, notice the base boards, the furniture legs, is there a collection of insect corpses in the window seals? Check for cobwebs along the walls and light fixtures, dust layers, splash stains, and dead bugs in the light covers. Do customers see a dirty work area when they’re at counter waiting to pay? Would a woman be comfortable putting her new Kate Spade handbag on your counter tops? Failure to notice and correct these small things can and will drive away customers.
I know this is all incredibly basic information, but I see these “customer view” problems every day, and I’m not alone. These small misses cost American small businesses millions in lost revenue and will undoubtedly ruin a hard earned reputation. Please don’t let that happen to you.
If you need help seeing through the eyes of your customers, email me @ firstname.lastname@example.org.