Business – It shouldn’t be about the money
It may be shocking to hear the idea that business isn’t about money. Of course, money is part of the equation, but it is a fruit, not the primary goal. A couple weeks ago, my bicycle seat was stolen. So I drove to the local bike shop and asked for a new seat and seat-post. Unfortunately, the salesman told me, there are 20 different diameters of posts. He would need to measure the bike to get the right fit. This involved driving home and riding the bike to the shop. If you’ve ever tried to ride a bike without a seat (standing up), youâ€™ll know it is very hard work and generally an uncomfortable experience.
When I got back to the shop, the salesman measured my frame and got me the seat post and a new seat. $50 later I was all set. Thinking about the unpleasant experience of riding to the store, I asked the salesman if he could please attach the seat to the post so I could ride home properly. He told me that I would need to take it to the service department and pay “a couple bucks” (not to mention wait in a long line) to get it attached. Now we’re talking about 30 seconds of effort. One Allen bolt to tighten. Needless to say I was upset. I didn’t bother to get the seat attached and during the ride home, thoughts like “I’ll never spend another dime at that place” were running through my head.
The effort of trying to get an extra couple bucks out of me could potentially cost this business a lot of money. This is an example of how much it can cost to pay attention to the bottom line rather than creating a feeling of satisfaction in your customers.
The goal of a business should be to create quality. Their goal should be to be the best bike shop in the world. That goal could be broken down into it’s component parts and a system should be designed to facilitate the movement toward the overall goal. Companies spend a lot of money on advertising and marketing trying to get people in their doors and trying to convince customers what a great business they are to deal with. Then they overlook the proper training of their staff to recognize the most important marketing opportunities: the real-time interactions with the customers in the store.
How does this get changed? From the top; management must realize that it is worth it to focus on creating a magnificent customer experience and spend the time and resources necessary to educate the staff and communicate the business’s mission statement and goals to all of the staff. They need to be trained to recognize how their tiny actions and attitudes can end up having a profound impact on the business.
Because I write about business and have my own business, I decided that out of courtesy to the company I would go to the store’s website and send them feedback about what had happened. It was on my part an effort to give them another chance and bring to their attention my displeasure. Predictably, I didnâ€™t receive a response. Even a simple acknowledgement could have turned around my perception of what it means to do business with that bike shop.
To have a successful business forget about money, just for a little while at least. Focus on creating a quality experience for your customers. What’s the best you can do for them in every interaction they have with you (and donâ€™t forget about web-based and e-mail interactions)? If you take care of this the brand you build in your customer’s hearts and minds will translate to a constant source of money in your businessâ€™s bank account.