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Simple questions always stump busy people. When you see the same thing every day, you get stuck seeing it the same way. Redirecting the focus moves you off course and into a new way of thinking. It can also be the best way to make a better business. From time to time, I ask small business operators questions that a normal customer wouldn’t ask such as, “What floor cleaner do you use? or Have you thought about renting more space?” I get “knee-jerk” answers and then sometimes the floor is cleaner when I come back. Sometimes the owner is inclined to run some numbers and move their location. Simple questions are powerful.
So, when a customer asks, “When do you close?” and you have a chance to make a customer loyal to your store, do you? Better yet, ask one of your employees when the store closes. You will be even more startled. You are not going to get the answer you want. More often than not, you get the time that has been carefully posted on the door. That is, of course, the wrong answer.
Customers want to give you money and routinely we forget to train our staff to help customers as they come through the door…every customer any time we are open.
Are you closed the hour before the time posted? So, why are you closed the ten minutes before that same time?
Pretend I can hear you through my blog. The excuses I just listened to are the reason you have not added customers. Not just customers, but loyal customers. What I hear you are saying is, “payroll costs, there aren’t any customers that late, blah, blah, blah”. You made a decision (probably when you had to close the store once) that cleaning and resetting the store can happen before the closing time. That is the right thing to do. It is also the right thing to do the hour after you open and all day long. Your business should look great for every customer, not just the first ones through the door.
Are you so busy being cost conscious that you forgot to make it all about the customer? I hear it all the time and cringe often. I fully expect you to save money where you can. I also expect you find ways to increase the number of paying customers you have. If there is a conflict between the two, go with the customer.
Ask the questions that will help grow your business, be ready for everyone to push back at you, and start growing your business again. The clock is ticking and you customers to help.