I remember sitting across from my husband who said, “It’s just oatmeal”. Wow. What a lackluster statement. Sure, it may be oatmeal, but “just” oatmeal. How much pride went into making that package? Farmers created the basic good stuff, food scientists made it tasty and mass producible. Engineers were added for envelope packaging, boxing, and putting boxes in to shipping boxes. Marketers and sales and store management coordinated so transportation drivers could get it from the factory to the store where someone put it on shelf and you bought it.
All you had to do was put water in and cook for 1:30. And at that we mess it up. My oatmeal is never the same, sometimes too much water sometimes not enough. The timing of the microwave is pretty consistent… but then the dog needs to go out and I have to leave my oatmeal and come back to a cold paste of plop. As much as the marketing of oatmeal sets the stage as warm goodness for your tummy on a cold day. What is the reality?
How about with your product… how much pride are you putting into your business and what experience is your customer receiving? Are they the same?
Stop and be your customer. From beginning to end. Not the ideal world, the real world. Is there anything you can do to further enhance their experience. At a minimum, is there something you can do to reduce the “outside” negative from happening to your experience, i.e., too much or too little water in oatmeal.
For example, I used to use brand A for oatmeal, then I tried brand B. The envelope of package B has a dashed line around the center (wait for the cool thing) you empty the oatmeal in the bowl then use the package for water by filling to the dashed line! No struggling for a measuring cup, no guessing, just fill to the line. That reduced the over/under water experience for me!
With your business, start with what your customers complain about, “UGH it’s so hard to find”, “I don’t have cash for the deposit”, “I can’t bring my dog with, but he’s here?” These are all things that a reminder phone call or email could take care of, give directions again, remind them fido needs to stay home, and cash does not mean credit cards.
Another example… if you find that you’re not getting a certain contract signed, turn it into a fun experience… invite the customer in for doughnut and coffee to fill out the papers. No one wants to be told they did something wrong, especially with a letter in the mail and the contract with nasty red “X’s” on it. I challenge you to make your “oatmeal experience” even better! Focus on one problem in your business, look at it from the customer view, and see if there is a different solution.