A few days ago, I had a great day out with the family exploring one of Victoria’s most historic and picturesque seaside villages. It was a perfect summer’s day, sun shining, tourists everywhere, great food, great views and plenty to do and see.
As we wandered the streets with the throngs of fellow sight see-ers, I was amazed and disappointed with the number of retail shops actively deterring customers from coming and buying from them. In these tourist towns it is critical to make hay literally while the sun is shining, the tourists are not going to last long and every opportunity to make the most of their stay is critical.
We walked the streets with our coffees in hand like hundreds of others, some maybe had a milk shake and certainly the local ice cream store was doing a roaring trade. Why then put up a sign banning people with food and drinks and specifically ice cream from entering the shop? How much wanton ice cream vandalism is being caused to justify the loss of all those potential sales? Why not do the opposite? Invite people in who have food and drink (there was certainly more people with than without on the streets), put in a chair or two for men to sit in while wives and girlfriends browse. Make us feel welcome and wanted and we will spend more money. Your business is there as a service to customers, that’s how you make a profit.
This example got me thinking about other examples of business that are making it too hard to do business with. Thankfully the number without EFTPOS and credit card facilities is dwindling but there are a few still out there. Make it as easy as possible for people to give you money. Any and every way they can.
Tracie (my wife) recently asked our local drive through coffee shop to take her empty coffee cup from the day before and to put it in the bin. It was their cup, clearly an example of a repeat customer you would want to look after. The girl’s response was “No we can’t take the cup due to food safety regulations”!! When Tracie challenged her on this she admitted that was just what her boss had told them to say when people ask. Ok, firstly don’t lie to customers and secondly make it easier for your customers to do business. If customers want to get rid of their old cups then provide them with a bin, it’s not that hard.
I would love you to share with me your experiences of businesses making it difficult for customers to give them money. Remember it is experience to learn by your mistakes and wisdom to learn by the mistakes of others.
PS. Leave out the names of the guilty, this is not a witch hunt.