I remember many years ago when I used to organise workshops for professional reflexologists. There would typically be 20 – 50 participants depending on who the main attraction was. You see it wasn’t me who was delivering the workshops (though I did that too) – I was just organising them, and making a reasonable income from doing so. The point of telling you this is that I was providing a service in a way that had not been done before in this industry. I was making it easy for everyone – the speakers and the participants.
Prior to this I had delivered many workshops for other organisers. I always made sure that I turned up in plenty of time because I knew that I would need to sort out the seating so it was just how I liked it, manage any technical issues and even sometimes sort out the refreshments! If there were any issues or problems during the day, I would need to resolve them. Hmmm. You can imagine how this could impact upon my delivery of the workshop in question. So I decided to do things differently.
The therapists delivering the workshops were brilliant at what they did and I wanted them to shine and to feel good about delivering their expertise and experience. So everything was taken care of for them so they were free to do what they were best at. And it was the same for the participants. They wanted to be free to enjoy the workshop and to feel that they and everything was taken care of during the day or the weekend.
The times they are a changing.
Thank goodness things have changed – or have they? Certainly in the area of events there has been a significant shift and you can expect to be looked after at every stage in the process. What about in retail or online shopping? And what about in banking? Hmm. Best not go there or this article may never finish.
We in the UK are increasingly becoming a service orientated country. And with that our expectations as consumers are continuously rising. No longer can we just sell our stuff and that’s the end of it. We need to ensure that the customer feels looked after and taken care of, and that starts with making things easy. The plug and play generation is upon us and we must respond or get left behind.
So here are a few key questions to consider.
- If you have a shop, does every customer at least get a welcome?
- On your website – is it easy to navigate, to know where you are and to find what you want?
- If your customer is having to wait (eg at a hairdressers) do you have something to offer them such as a hot drink?
- Do you cater for customers with special needs?
- Do your customers feel that you are interested in them and not just their money?
Give these some thought. What can you do to demonstrate that you care? Talk to your customers and find out their needs, and then do what you can to meet them. If you don’t you may find yourself being left behind in the wake of those businesses that really do care – and show it.