Friday, July 30, 2010

Thinking like a customer

A request. If you are a business owner and you own a website, and you sell products or services directly to consumers through a physical place (a store, a garage, a car wash, etc.):

Please post your hours of operation.

I am your customer. I like your service. In fact, I like it so much I will travel out of my way to patronize you (maybe a long way out of my way). You have done all the right things: you have enthusiastic employees, you fulfill you brand promise every time I interact with you, your service is outstanding, you have earned my trust and I am an advocate for your business among my friends and social network.

But here’s the thing, your website doesn’t tell me when you’re open. I will drive 20 minutes out of my way to take advantage of your service, but I need to know if you close at 5 or 6 or 6:30 – it makes a difference.

Challenging one’s assumptions is hard. The more you “know” something, the harder it is to imagine that other people (like your customers) don’t. But it’s important, because even the best businesses (like a great car wash I go that’s 20 minutes away) need to continually look at themselves through their customers’ eyes.

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