When I first left school as an innocent 16 year old, I took a job in a department store. I was part of a team of sales assistants who approach you and ask how you're getting on, whether you need help, or whether you'd like to try this or look at that...
I was a pain in the customers butt, basically.
I swiftly realized that even though we were told by the 'big bosses' to approach people instantly, repeatedly,stick nearby in case they needed anything, and offer suggestions, they'd got it all wrong. Totally, ridiculously wrong.
Customers hate that.
Even I, when shopping in department stores, like to wander from concession to concession BY MYSELF. I hate it when sales assistants batter their lashes and ask me if I need help, then hover around me even when I've said no. It makes me feel uncomfortable. It makes me rush to the next concession- their competitors- in search of peace.
It's not the fault of the sales assistants. They're just doing what they've been told.
It's the big guys. They're not thinking like their customers.
So now I just gotta ask. Do you think like your customers/clients?
As a customer in a department store, here is what my dream saleswoman will do:
- See me looking at her stock and leave me to it for a while.
- She'll then smile at me and make a comment on what I'm looking at, a comment that will genuinely HELP me out in deciding whether it's for me.
- Shell then leave me to it for a little while longer.
- She'll come over and ask if I need her assistance. No? That's no problem, she'll be over on the right if I need her help.
- Then, if I decide to purchase the item, she knows that's her queue to chat and laugh with me and complete my shopping process with ultimate friendliness. She trusted me to do my own thing, respected my space, wasn't up in my face and pushy, and knows that by being how she was I will most definitely come back. And bring my mom. And my friends. And their moms.
- She would respect my space, but not neglect me, because she understands that her customers need time to themselves as well as attention. She thinks like her customers.
If you own a product-based biz, how can YOU think like YOUR customers?
If you own a service-based business (like me) then how do you think like YOUR clients?
Forget thinking from a business point of view for a moment. Consider your customers perspective outside of that.
- Regularly ask for their opinions on social networks like Facebook and Twitter.
- Find out what their problems are, so YOU can be the one to solve them.
- Find out what they prefer when going through your process.
- Find out what you can do that will make them not just satisfied- but super happy to be working with you!
- Discover what you've been doing in your process that they don't like, and change it.
- Look at your competitors from your customers point of view. What aren't they doing that customers really, really want? Could you do it?
I'd love to hear how you think like your customers, so please leave a comment!
What do you do differently to your competitors? How you put your customers or clients first?