Sunday, August 15, 2010

Can you see your Customer's Point of View?

Your customers are the reason you are in business. That's a no-brainer. But have you ever experienced your business the same way your customers do?

It is critical for you to step back and see things from the buyer's perspective. As a seller, there are so many things that you worry about--sometimes to the point of obsession--that are of little or no interest to a buyer.

A great way to start is to first visit your competition, whether it's a shop in town or a website selling similar goods or services. What is your first impression? Is it polished and appropriate in appearance, or does it seem cluttered or hard to navigate? Does the store layout and display grab your attention? On a website, do the descriptions and photos give you a clear picture of what you'll be purchasing. The best advice I can give you is to describe as if you had no photos, and take photos as if you had no descriptions.

Example: Last week my husband and stopped by a local pizza joint. We had never been there before but they advertise all the time on and we wanted to try it out.

First impression: Confusion.
To the left of the entrance, two guys were spinning pies and sliding them into the ovens. To the right was a line of people waiting to get to the counter to order their pizzas. Beyond the line was the entrance to the dining room. Straight ahead was a drink cooler, and behind that was a big wall filled with band posters and microbeers on tap.

The problem: What are you selling?
We stood in line, staring at the big wall, looking for the pizza menu, hoping to have our decision made by the time we got to the head of the line. This is silly, but we were in a pizza place, wanting to order a pizza, but we couldn't find the pizza menu. As we got to the head of the line we finally found it. The menu was only visible when standing at the front of the line, around the corner from the big wall, and just far enough back to be hard to read. Not only was it farther away, the print was small and the lighting was dim. The cashier waited for us to read the menu and discuss the options with each other. No wonder there was a long line.

The solution:
Put the pizza menu on the big wall so it's the first thing customers see when they walk in. Local bands and beer are great, but customers go here for the pizza, not to find out where the next concerts will be. Put the beer list with the pizza menu, or up by the register, since they are ordered at the same time. We were getting take-out, and there was a counter and seats where we could wait. It was at that time that we paid attention to the band posters. If we were eating in, we would have been more interested in looking at band posters while we sipped our beers and waited for the pizza to cook. 

So where to post the posters?

1. Plaster them along the bottom edge of the front window or along the counter where we waited (put them under a glass or thick acrylic top so they can be changed out regularly?)

2. Put them in a booklet at each table in the dining room

3. Plaster them all over the columns in the dining room (like on a college campus), wallpaper the bathrooms or the hall outside the bathrooms with posters.

4. Run then as a border across the top of the big wall where the menu should be or across the bottom edge of the drink cooler case at the entrance.

5. Make lots of copies and use them as placemats on the tables, a different poster for each place setting.

and 6! While band posters are a cool art form, why not advertise the bands in a way that brings in hungry new customers? Invite the local bands to come and play a small set to entertain your customers at peak times in exchange for a free pizza. For example, a half hour set from 6:30-7pm. Let the band announce their upcoming show. Make this a regular event and you'll have customers coming in to check out the new bands (over dinner) and the local bands will invite their own fanbase to come over for pizza and hear them play. (Is your competition doing this? I bet they aren't.)

Now pretend you are a first-time customer and enter your own business. 

Look at your shop the same way. 
It can be a real eye-opener.

(By the way, the pizza was great.)

Did you like this post? How about subscribing
in a reader or by Email?

No comments:

Post a Comment

Thank you - I appreciate all comments, questions, praise, criticism, suggestions, requests, reports ...