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How to make your business friendly

Could your business be scaring customers awayHave you ever looked up a company and:

  • There’s no map on their website, nor opening times. Anyway, you hop in your car and hope for the best…
  • You look up the address: you reckon you should be in the right place because your trusty map (or GPS unit) got you there… yet there is no street number marked on the building.
  • You can’t find anywhere to park? All the spaces are either reserved, full, or threatening a tow-away… and every single on-street space is full too. So maybe you end up parking half a block away in a dodgy looking side-street and pray that your car (and its contents) will still be there later.
  • You’re not sure which building is the right one? There are no signs or any other indication as to where you should be going.
  • On closer inspection, you can’t even find an entrance door? So you then pluck up the courage to ask in another office, and the snotty receptionist gives you some half-baked directions which you don’t quite understand (probably because she’s just made them up).
  • You’ve now found the door, found which floor you’re meant to be on, arrive there… but the door is locked/unmarked/etc.? (One time I took the stairs, simply because I prefer stairs to elevators, only to find that they led to a fire escape door which was locked… so I had to walk all the way back down and THEN take the lift! It was a hot, humid Auckland day and I was rather clammy by the time I found the reception area!)
  • Eventually find where you’re meant to be, but are later than planned, hot, sweaty, in a bad mood, grumpy, etc?

I’m sure we’ve all had frustrating experiences like this to some degree

Just imagine how hard the sales staff will have to work just to get you feeling at ease and happy to be there. They’ll be starting on the back-foot right from the outset!

Personally, my heart sinks when I visit a business like this. I figure they may as well go home, not bother. If they care that little about the customer, why should I spend my money with them?

The business doesn’t seem friendly (nor customer-friendly) – so why should I do business with them?

Sadly this scenario is fairly common – and yet so easy to fix. Here are my pointers for companies who rely on customers (and suppliers) visiting them:

1. Have a “contact us” page on your website

On said web page, include:

  • All your contact details – including the physical address.
  • A map of your location. This is soooo easy using Google Maps – and free!
  • Your opening hours.
  • Car parking details. If there are reserved spaces, mention where they are: and if you know full well that they’re nearly always taken, suggest where the best alternative parking spot is. If it’s pay-and-display, let your customers know if they’ll need cash or if they can pay with their cell phone or credit card. Better still, give them the coins or refund them their money.
  • A photo of the outside of your building – this will help people to find your business.
  • Any other directions or instructions that will help your clients.

2. Invest in signage

Invest in as much signage as is necessary – don’t be tempted to skimp. Make it easy and obvious for customers to find your business – and if you find they often go the wrong way, do something about it! Be proactive!

In some cases, a simple self-printed and laminated page is better than nothing. Yet nothing is often all you see… that’s just lazy!

Hint: if you do go for the DIY option, be sure to replace it regularly because paper does fade, get crumpled, rain-damaged etc. A dog-eared bit of paper is not a professional look.

Oh, and if your address includes a street number, please please display that street number somewhere on your building or shop-front.

Remember – there’s no such thing as making your business too easy to find!

Summary

A stressed out customer won’t feel too get about spending money with an unfriendly business.

Chances are you may not see them again, and the stories they’ll be telling their friends will be about what a nightmare they had finding your business, rather than raving about the excellent products or services on offer.

 

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