Through The Customer’s Eyes

Sunday, April 22 2012

Imagine that you are looking to buy a business. You walk into your current premises, pretending to be a customer, in order to scout it out. As you walk through the front door, what do you see? What do you hear? What do you smell? What’s your first impression?

Is there anyone there to greet you? If not, how long does it take to get someone’s attention? How do they approach you? Are you greeted warmly with a friendly, open smile?

Now imagine you’ve been able to convince someone to give you a tour beyond the front desk. What are your impressions? If you had to guess, is this business successful or not? Is it profitable? Is it spending more on promoting a certain image than it should? Or not enough? Do the employees look happy? Are they engaged in their jobs, being productive or just putting in time?

How would you rate the customer experience? If you were a real customer would you be happy to spend your money here? Would you come back?

In its present condition, would you buy this business?

I asked that question in a business transition seminar I was leading, and for at least one person, it struck home. He told me later, “When you asked that question, it really hit me. I thought about it and realized I wouldn’t buy my own business! And if I wouldn’t, how could I expect to sell it to someone else?”

With that fresh insight, he began to look at how he could make his business more attractive and inviting. He cleaned up the shop. He reduced the clutter in the administrative area. He moved his office and turned that space into an attractive meeting and training room. He expanded the office area, which improved the working conditions for staff, as well as creating a more positive impression for visitors. He provided bowls of fresh fruit for employees and visitors to enjoy. Visitors are greeted promptly by employees with big friendly smiles and offered a coffee. He invested in a sales training program to sharpen his staff’s communication and sales skills.

Most of the changes were inexpensive adjustments, but they made employees happier to work there and visitors feel sincerely welcome and valued.

Now it’s your turn. Look at your business with the fresh eyes of a new customer. What changes should you make to ensure a positive experience that will have them coming back and telling all their friends?