I wrote yesterday about two businesses, one which was attracting a lot of customers, the other which wasn’t, and how the second business had put unnecessary barriers in front of its customers.
However, the tale of the two businesses, BusinessA (the one doing great) and BusinessB (the one struggling), isn’t just about barriers. There are two other things that I’ve noted that separate the two. The first of these is attitude.
When you walk into BusinessA, everyone is warm and friendly. Everyone is enthusiastic. Since both businesses work with children, having that type of atmosphere is important. BusinessA embraces it. The instructors are positive, encouraging, and seek to motivate the students who come through the door. The office staff are integral to making you feel at home. There is also a sense of investment among everyone there, to include the parents and the students themselves. Everyone in BusinessA makes a point of talking with the parents. If a student is not acting as a parent would expect, even outside of the activities, the student heres about it from the owner on down. However, the students quickly see that the folks in BusinessA are invested in their long-term success. You walk into BusinessA and you want to be a part of whatever it is they are doing.
With BusinessB, you have a colder, more formal professionalism. While the instructors are positive, comments come less often. It seems like there’s a semi-rigorous “assessment” of any new student who joins. It feels very much like you’re taking a test. The office staff is probably as good at with BusinessA, but unfortunately, it doesn’t feel like a team effort. It takes staying with BusinessB to learn how competent the instructors are with respect to the core skills they are teaching.
The differing attitudes of the two businesses definitely has an impact on their ability to attract and retain customers. What’s your attitude like? When your customer comes around needing your help, are you open and welcoming or are you colder? Worse, are you scowling and resentful?
The second thing that is different between the two businesses is the appearance of the facilities and the personnel. Both businesses teach a set of skills that require a lot of movement. Both have sufficient space to get the job done, but there are several big differences between the businesses:
- BusinessA has high ceilings, giving a greater sense of openness.
- BusinessA has much better lighting; brightness boosts the spirits and helps one feel safe.
- BusinessB has a clutter around the edges of their spaces, making those spaces feel more closed in than the spaces in BusinessA.
- BusinessA is meticulous about cleanliness, neatness, and organization. BusinessB is a clean facility, but BusinessA takes it to where you feel like you can eat off the floors.
It’s easy to dismiss appearance and say, “Appearance shouldn’t matter. Substance should.” If the world and people were perfect, perhaps we could function with this conclusion. But the reality is that we can’t.
How is your appearance? Appearance isn’t just about how you dress, for instance. It’s about any interaction between you and your customer. For instance, if you run a website, is it built such that it’s pleasing to your customer’s eyes? When you write emails, how do they come across? Think about all the ways you interface with your customer and consider how you appear.