How Not to Run a Business - II
How Not to Run a Business with emphasis on Internal and external problems which are customer unfriendly
- The Real World
- Adsense as the Anti-method
- The Meeting Factory
- Walk It Through
- Random Tips
- Put Out of Business
The Real World
When a customer walks into the business, what does s/he see? Hear? How does s/he feel?
The manager must know the answer to these questions. Must know exactly how and when a clerk approaches. Must know the difference between a helpful attendant and a prison warder.
What are the procedures for gaining the product?
How many lines, how long, if there are forms to fill out, how clear are they?
If the product does not satisfy, what is the method of addressing complaints?
There needs to be a standard procedure for all the possibilities, but it can't be writ in stone. There must be exceptions.
There must be some 'human' face somewhere.
Adsense as the Anti-method
There is absolutely no way anyone can ever contact anyone who works at Adsense.
There is no one to answer questions, no one that can be emailed, and the closest one gets to wetware, (human beings) is when one customer answers another customer's query in a forum.
Yes, Adsense is online, not in the Real World, but the feeling a user gets is such that if there was a rival company where one could link with wetware, no one would use Adsense.
Keep this image in your mind when examining your business.
The Meeting Factory
Some companies hold so many meetings that very little work gets done. Customers are locked out while the staff discusses whatever it is.
But isn't the purpose of the business to sell products to customers?
Further, do all staff have to attend the meeting? Isn't it wiser to close for lunch and have the meeting then? Or have a number of lunch meetings with various sections, even if one has to repeat themselves?
Isn't it more efficient to create a system using best practice, then alert the staff as to the changes, inviting them to send email responses before having a meeting?
Walk It Through
Walk your business through or hire a troubleshooter. The wisest companies have 'shoppers' on the floor who get first hand experience as a customer.
Others have them in the office to see where the clogs are. Things you won't see will be exposed to the 'spy' and although some things seem trivial they aren't.
Gossiping clerks, telephone talkers, rude employees, wastes of materials, etc. will be seen by the fresh eyes.
Electricity becomes expensive when air conditioners are turning the office into a refrigerator or heating units into an oven.
In the Winter, it should be no warmer than 75o F.
In the summer, this can go to 80o F.
This is because the person coming in will be wearing a coat in winter, dressed in thin garments in the summer.
Have windows that can be opened to air out the business. Make it a practice to have all windows opened early in the morning and remain open until it is physically uncomfortable.
In cases, when the temperature outside is in the 70s, very little artificial heat/cold needs be used.
Be alert to employees who make personal calls. These persons are not working and can be let go painlessly.
Be alert to those who are downloading games on the computers. Many crashes are caused by malwire gained with these games.
Watch how long a particular matter takes to move from 'in' to 'out'. In old days, using a different coloured file jacket was useful. In these days other methods need be adopted to see exactly which desk is the 'graveyard.'
Leave the office and see where customers have to park and under what conditions. How easy/hard is it to gain access to your business.
Who is the first person your customers see?
What is the immediate impression on entrance?
How are things arranged and can they be done better?
And of course...complaints.
Put Out of Business
Some years ago the market leader displeased a particular customer. She got on the bus at terminus and began describing what happened when she tried to return a fairly common item.
The bus was full, everyone was listening. She got off five stops from the other terminus, and people were still talking. When they came off the bus it was the topic of conversation.
Every person on the bus was convinced not to shop there and told others, and over the next months, the business began to flounder and went out.
This is not a hypothetical story.
Word of mouth is the most powerful advertisement. Most people hit mute when commercials come on. Most turn the page of the magazine. People often buy what their parents did.
If one gets a free sample of something which is better than what they are using, they will switch. If someone recommends a product to a friend, that might be first choice when it is time to purchase.
And if one has had a bad experience with a product, they will make sure everyone knows it.
It is wiser and cheaper to take back a product then make it into a three act play in which the aggrieved customer has to go to various consumer agencies, complain to all and sundry and become an anti-customer.
The business may lose a few dollars on the deal, but keeping that customer happy insures that they will be back.
They will be back and bring their friends.
And that is good for business.