I hastily left the office, walked briskly to my car, and raced out of the parking lot. I waited anxiously at each red light. After what seemed like a decade, I finally reached my destination with 15 minutes to spare.
Upon approaching the building, my anxiety increased because I desperately wanted to make my entrance before the clock struck 5 pm. Why was the open sign not illuminated? I could see the owner inside the store, but the door was locked. I knocked vigorously as I stared at the man inside the store. My face said it all. Why are the doors locked when the store was advertised to be open until 5 pm? The man came to the door and said in a ridiculously calm voice, “We are closed.”
What? Closed? Why so early? I was beyond livid, but there was absolutely nothing I could do about it.
I didn’t hesitate to spread my story of the incident like wildfire. For several years and counting, I shared the negative experience with people I knew, as well as with random people I met during conversations that warranted the topic to resurface. I had frequently shopped at this store, but after that evening, I never went back. A few people I knew also visited less and less until they also stopped going.
The big question is, “How much would the store owner have had to lose if he had allowed me to buy the authentic spices I needed?” I will never know the answer to that question, but he certainly lost a loyal customer, and gained negative publicity.
Customers expect businesses to have consistent hours of operation. It is definitely a bonus if these times are within normal business hours. People are busy, with many places to go, things to do, people to see. They often plan their schedule accordingly. Business owners should be reliable and predictable for customers by delivering as promised. People need a reason for their loyalty and this can be achieved by providing consistent and superb quality service.
The best way to succeed in business is by managing expectations. Strive to under-promise and over-deliver. If you miss the mark in meeting expectations, customers will be unhappy and the damage can be irreparable. The bad experiences are shared much more than the good ones. Don’t jeopardize what took years to build with one disappointing encounter.
Most successful business open every day of the week, with extended hours. This is a major contributing factor to success, which also explains why those businesses are giants in the market. Accessibility and availability satisfy the demand of their customers and attract potential customers. These customers are the source of their wealth and are treated as such.
If a business fails to cater to the needs of its customers, opportunities arise for competitors and this business may be lost forever. To compound the issue, customers may also introduce their family and friends to the new discovery, thus limiting referral and word-of-mouth advertising.
Trust, reliability, predictability, and consistency are necessary to spearhead growth and propel business success.
Featured Image: Customers expect reliability and consistency from businesses. | Pixabay
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