Our favorite businesses rarely become our favorite because of just one thing. Often, there is that one thing that we think of when that business is mentioned, but as we talk about the business, we realize that it is so much more. For example, one of my favorite local spots is a restaurant. The first thing I think about is the fish tacos. I love fish tacos, and this place has great fish tacos. However, the more I think about it, it is really a combination of process, place, and people that keep me coming back.
The first aspect of your business that needs to be considered is process. The process involves the series of interrelated activities or tasks your customers will encounter on their way to receiving the goods and services you provide. Disney is an expert in this. You are never simply waiting in line, even the line is a part of the appeal.
Think about what ways your customers can encounter you before they actually interact with the business. What does your website look like and function? What social media do you interact through? Find out what previous and current customers say about you. Making sure the preliminary process is simple and enjoyable will keep customers involved and interested.
The next aspect to consider is the place. Where will your customers meet you? Will this be online, in an office, for lunch, at their house? It is important to remember that everything speaks to your customer. Is your “place” inviting? Does it tell a story about you or your business? Does it instill confidence and comfort? If you are meeting at their home, place may be the appearance of your trucks and the uniform your employees wear. All of these things matter.
Finally, and most important, are the people. When my daughter was 16 and getting her first job, the biggest struggle was knowing what to do when things were not simple. This kept her from being the happy hospitable person she usually is. Good training that includes exceptions can really help and allow your people to be themselves and really welcome your customers. Other companies may be overly professional. While for some professions, this may instill confidence in their ability, I think for most of us, a more relaxed and personal environment makes us feel more comfortable. Customers who feel comfortable begin to see your business as a friend, as someone they can trust, and that is where they want to spend their money.
Every part of a customer’s experience is important. It can be an eye opening experience through your business as a customer and see what they see. We often miss things when we are always on the inside.