Boosting your Business in a Slow Economy
Jeff Mowatt, CSP
What are two words that will become increasingly important to customers
over the next decade?
According to marketing guru Frank Luntz, “hassle free.”
Customers are fed up with being forced to jump through hoops. Yet,
bizarrely, even in a slow economy, companies are actually becoming more
difficult for customers to do business with—before, during and after
To see if your organization is creating these unnecessary
hassles for your customers, take this mini quiz. Then consider using the
customers arrive early, do you force them to wait outside your store
until the minute you officially open? Or worse, do you rush them out the
door or bar them from entering as closing time approaches? Have you ever
seen customers standing outside a business pointing at their watches to
store employees, trying to ascertain whose watch is right?
Fortunately, I got a helpful tip from Roly Morris, CEO of Krispy Kreme
operations in Canada, that will help you avoid this hassle. Krispy Kreme
has a practice called “10 before, 10 after.” It means that the stores
are open for business (and employees are answering phones) 10 minutes
before they say they are open, and they remain open (and answering
phones) 10 minutes after posted closing. Of course, you have to pay
employees for the staggered times, but the good will and extra revenues
you’ll generate make this a worthwhile investment.
making buying decisions, are your customers faced with too many choices?
It’s fine to have a large selection to attract customers, but giving
customers too many options creates stress and buying resistance. As
products and services are becoming more complex, customers are becoming
increasingly afraid of making the wrong decisions. Fortunately, your
employees can reduce this customer stress while boosting your revenues,
using the “Rule of 3.” Here’s how it works.
If you offer your customers only two choices, they may simply opt for
the less expensive. However, using the “Rule of 3,” your employees would
consider all the products and services you offer and narrow them to the
top three most suitable for that customer. Interestingly, if you offer
three choices, from least to most expensive, customers will typically
choose the middle option. That means that offering three choices not
only helps your customer make buying decisions more easily but it also
helps steer them away from choosing the cheapest item. Less hassle, more
buying. Everyone wins.
there’s a problem, what is your customer satisfaction policy, and how
easy is it for customers to take advantage of? Do you give customers any
compensation or even an apology for the inconvenience of having to
return a defective product?
Some managers appear to believe that making dissatisfied customers “run
a gauntlet” discourages product returns. Actually, it discourages your
customers from returning. If you plan on keeping customers over the long
term, you know that sooner or later they’re likely to have a problem.
That’s an opportunity for you to demonstrate that you are indeed
different from your competitors.
So how did you do in this quiz? For most businesses, there
are at least some opportunities to reduce the “hassle factor” for
customers. The good news is that these types of adjustments to customer
service are simple. The goal is to reduce complexity and bureaucracy.
My clients report that the payoff is worth it in terms of
strengthened customer loyalty, increased spending per customers and
enhanced team spirit. Not bad for simply making the customers’ buying
experience hassle free!
This article is based on the best-selling book, Becoming a Service
Icon in 90 Minutes a Month by customer service strategist and certified
professional speaker Jeff Mowatt, CSP. To obtain a copy of this book or
to inquire about engaging Mr. Mowatt for your business or organization,
or call (800)-JMowatt (566-9288).