Too often a business will spend thousands of dollars on advertising and have a waiting room that’s furnished through a garage sale. What kind of a message does that send to people?
Recently I had to get a nail pulled out a tire. I go to a national franchise (where I have tire insurance) and there’s a branch that’s a few miles from my home. But I choose a further away location.
I drive a few extra miles because the closer store has cheap folding chairs, cockroaches running across the floor, and an old VCR playing the 1995 film, Mortal Kombat, on a continuous loop.
For me, the trip is worth it because the other store has better chairs, it’s clean, and has a plasma TV tuned to CNN. My guess is that the branches are managed by different people.
How does the dirty store Clear the Path of this problem? Often the managers are too close to the situation to realize that it is a problem. You get used to things as they are. It’s also easier to stick with the status quo. You say that you’ll get to it tomorrow but that day never comes.
While the following suggestions are aimed at the automotive industry, they can be easily applied to your business:
Not all smells are created equal: When you walk into a tire store you smell tires or more accurately, rubber. If you’re not a restaurant, do people need to smell your product? Consider moving your display tires further away from the customers and buy a few air fresheners.
It pays to take a moment to smell your business. Don’t think that people won’t notice those odors you take for granted.
You’re Not a Library: Current issues of magazines are okay but I don’t need to see ones that are several years old. Usually they’re in a messy pile.
Good taste applies to coffee: Somewhere in a torture chamber, a man or woman is being forced to drink cheap coffee. If I’m spending potentially hundreds of dollars on a car, don’t I deserve something better than drano to drink?
We live in a world where people will spend $5 a day on a cup of coffee. A better beverage can set you apart from your competitors. Why not appeal to this population by exceeding their expectations? Isn’t it worth spending a few dollars more to keep your customers coming back?
I see chaos: Just because a customer is waiting doesn’t mean they stop using their eyes. Does someone periodically clean the waiting room throughout the day or is trash allowed to accumulate? Department stores understand that a few minutes of tidying up pays off with customers.
Did you forget we have ears? Do workers walk through the waiting area, catching up with their colleagues. Nothing inspires confidence in a business less than people complaining about their jobs or wishing out loud that it was Friday.
Whether it’s true or not, unhappy employees are perceived as not being good at their jobs. The biggest marketing budgets in the world can be undermined by a few employees who don’t understand how to act around customers.
Bottom Line: When quality and cost of service are close to your competitors, people will look to other variable when they decide where they want to buy.