If you have ever listened to Dr Ian Brooks talk about the Customer Experience (I have, in fact we wrote a book together), his number one point is the customer always comes first.
With this in mind, let's carry on with the series (from our kitchen renovation) on business improvement. We started with quote follow-up, moved to questioning customers on their needs. Now let's look at what happens when customers walk through your door.
As you would, I went to visit a variety of showrooms and stores for the different needs. Carpet, tiles, appliances, cabinetry and so on. The vast majority were satisfactory with the correct level of being greeted at the door; asked fairly quickly if they could help me and the right level of leaving me to browse.
However, it was a different experience at one of the carpet stores I visited. I'd like to discuss two important points to ensure doesn't happen at your business.
How much money does a business spend trying to get customers? Trying to get people to cross their threshold? When that happens - why ignore them?
My daughter Samantha and I walked into the Greenlane carpet/vinyl showroom from one of the companies that had come to quote on our flooring. I wanted to follow up by seeing a larger piece of carpet and vinyl than a couple of square feet. I have poor imagination.
Two employees were on opposite ends of the showroom. A man and woman. The woman on her computer (which was set up against a wall so her back was to us - and the showroom). The man in another room also on his computer. This was facing sideways so he could see people as they entered the section.
Samantha and I walked around and looked at the carpets displayed on the wall. We looked at the books of vinyl lying around. Neither of the sales people had looked up when we entered. Neither came to help up. Neither acknowledged we entered. Finally, finally, I went up to the woman and asked if she could find our quote in the computer (I had forgotten to bring the printout). She couldn't. We left.
Second. Appearance counts. The Greenlane showroom was a mess. Rolls of carpet out and about. Even though there were carpet samples on the walls, it didn't seem like there was any rhyme or reason to the place. It felt messy.
This was in direct contrast to their competitors. The other carpet showrooms were well organised. Sectioned. Logical. The computers and desks were in good locations so that staff could see the customers but not be in the way.
What is the takeaway for you?
1. Ensure your staff meet and great those most valuable assets walking through your front door (your prospects and customers).
2. Put a new pair of shoes on. Your customers' shoes. Go to your establishment with fresh eyes. You don't want all that hard work of marketing and advertising to be for naught because the sale is killed when someone enters your premises.
3. To someone who doesn't know about your products or services, is the layout inviting? It is logical? Is it clean?
4. Where are your staff placed?