If you replaced your entire staff today, would anyone notice? More importantly, would anyone care?
Think about the last customer to visit your store. If they walked into your business tomorrow and all your staff was different from their last visit, would they notice?
Would someone notice if they’ve been coming to see you for 2 years? 5 years? What about 5 days?
Think about that first impression, that first visit. Does your staff make such an impression that their absence would be missed after even *one* visit to your business?
Maybe you don’t get there tomorrow, but it’s something to work toward.
Engagement. Relationship. Stickiness.
These are oft-used marketing buzzwords that answer the question: “Why should I come back?”
Ask yourself these questions about your business:
- Do your employees engage your customers in conversation, or do they just “sell em something and send them on their way”?
- Have you spent any time training your staff to engage your customers and show them how even one dedicated customer can be the one that makes their job safer?
- Has your staff worked to create a relationship that causes their customers to gravitate to them or ask for them by name when they call?
- If some of your staff make the effort to do this, have you used their success as an example for the rest of your staff?
- Do your customers go to their assigned sales rep because that’s who they’re assigned to, or because they know they’ll get the expert help they need from someone who knows their situation better than anyone?
- Have your staffers established a substantial level of trust with that customer to encourage repeat visits? Hint: You have to ask.
- Does your staff exert the effort necessary to learn as much as they can about the customer in order to serve them better? There’s a fine line between being nosy and being helpfully inquisitive, but in most situations it’s more than obvious.
- Does your staff take ownership of their clients and their situation? “My customer has a billing problem and I need your help to solve it” is one such indication.
- Do certain visitors to your restaurant always ask for a particular waiter?
- Do your customers seem disappointed when Joe or Mary Ellen aren’t working today? What do Joe and Mary Ellen do that that makes them important to the customer’s visit?
If you haven’t hired and trained staff members to do these kinds of things, a tight economy could easily provoke your customers to go somewhere else.
What provides the resistance that motivates a customer to make a conscious choice to choose your business instead of going somewhere else to save 2%?
What strategic moves have you made to insulate your business from that problem?
In the absence of the relationship and engagement stuff we discussed above, what are you doing to get people to come back? People explicitly choose to do business with people they like. With people who have repeatedly shown that they have a genuine interest in helping them succeed.
What strategic moves have you made – or will you make – to improve your business’ performance in this area?
There’s another aspect to this. If the entire staff disappeared at 5:00pm today and a new crew of new qualified employees was hired and in the building by noon tomorrow, would the afternoon be productive?
How about the next week? What about the in-process work that is needed soon?
If your processes are well-documented, it will be a lot easier for a new crew to step in and take over without a substantial drop in quality or quantity. In addition, the quality of the products and services you produce over the long term will be more consistent assuming the procedures are followed and kept up to date.
I have a radical idea for you: Mosey to your favorite valley book store for a copy of “The E-Myth Revisited” by Michael Gerber. It’s at least as good for you as a Moose’s pizza (not really, but read it anyhow).
Want to learn more about Mark or ask him to write about a business, operations or marketing problem? See Mark’s site or contact him via email at mriffey at flatheadbeacon.com.
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