Do your business policies really make sense?

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Are they customer-friendly?

Have they been reviewed in the last year, 2 years, 6 years, 10 or even 20??

Do you make customers do things that are unnatural, stilted, uncomfortable,  or difficult— just because ‘that’s the way you’ve always done it’?

When was the last time you reviewed your policies in dealing with clients? When was the last time you pretended to be a client?

Recently I needed salt for the coming ice storm and went to the local grocery store. They had it. Stacked on big palettes outside the store. Terrific. It was the only thing I wanted to buy, but who wants to carry in 40 lbs of salt into a store?

After waiting in line for a few minutes, I told the clerk that I just wanted to pay for one of those 40 lb bags of salt on the skid outside by the curb. He said, we have to scan them. I said, ‘Really, you want your customers to have to lug in 40 lbs of salt and throw it on your counter so they can lug it back out to the curb and their car?’  His blank look told me the answer.

Now salt was scarce this winter, and fortunately I’m not a tiny, frail woman, an elderly patron, someone in a wheelchair, a pregnant woman,  a young father or mother carrying one child and towing a second by hand, or one who recently had an operation and is not even allowed to lift a gallon of milk! So I begrudgingly complied and a minute later I am back in line waiting several minutes again so I can plop this huge bag onto the counter and have the young clerk scan it.

Frankly, though I held my tongue, I’m not proud of my thoughts at the time. But seriously, it’s insanity to not have a skew number for something that heavy and to make people bring it into the store.

Are you like me and really want to help change or fix things that are obviously broken? When a better way is practically screaming to be implemented, it’s hard not to want to share that better way. Even when some business owners have virtually no interest in your better way.  (I did call the store on my way home to give them some helpful marketing advice. Lol)

But how about your business? How are customers treated when they come in? As a welcomed, honored guest, or some kind of interruption to your day?

How are they greeted when they call? Is your friendliest staffer the one who is answering the phone? Have you called your business lately and pretended to be a newcomer? Would you have had any clue as to what your company did by the greeting you heard?

Or how friendly and helpful is your online presence, your website?

In fact, if you haven’t looked at your website in the last month, year, or decade(!) I’ll venture to say that the visitor experience could stand to be greatly improved.

Would someone know what it is you really do, and why you are the best answer in your industry?

Do you make it easy for someone to do business with you? To contact you?

Is your phone number at the top of your site? Is it even on page one? Really, you mean it’s buried deep in your ‘Contact Us’ page in tiny print. Print that searchers using a mobile device (over 50%) wouldn’t be able to see or read even if they had a magnifying glass?

[Note: Evidently no one is immune to this huge mistake. Here’s a true story just to make you feel better. I once did a search online for marketing companies in the major city nearest me, and one company showed up in one of the top 3 positions. I checked out their attractive website and to my amazement there was no phone number on page one, no phone number on the contact page; in fact there was NO way listed on any of the multiple pages to even contact the company. Wow!]

So for the love of your customers and your checkbook, take a fresh look at your business policies through the eyes of a new prospect. Do you provide the easiest way possible for a prospect to decide ‘YES’, to sign up, to subscribe, to make an appointment, to purchase, or even to ask a question and start a relationship with your company?

Bottom line: BE the customer, even if just for an hour, and open your eyes to becoming more customer-oriented. Your customers and your checkbook will thank you.