Many business proprietors have little involvement with the daily operation of their enterprise, while others are so involved they become numb to how it is actually perceived by their consumer base. But by stepping back and interacting with your business as a customer, you can gain valuable insight into how to best maximize the experience of every shopper.
If you have experienced your business at ground-level for a long period of time, taking a week or two off before acting as a customer will give you time to free your mind from any preconceived ideas you have about your business. When acting as a customer, keep in mind any first impressions you may have. Also, consider how the layout and overall presentation of your business interferes with the ability of your employees to run it smoothly and efficiently. Keep note and consider changing any design elements that impede your ability to get what you want done as a customer to your satisfaction.
A business that looks great and presents itself well will lead to a positive first impression in the minds of new customers, often resulting in more sales. Yet owners with a hands-on approach to the design of their business can become desensitized to how it actually appears to outsiders. Likewise, some owners run their companies from behind closed doors, and are completely ignorant of the overall presentation. But by acting as a customer you can better gauge how your company actually presents itself, rather than your own preconceived ideas. This will help you recognize any problems and make the necessary adjustments.
Treating your regular shoppers with professionalism and respect is key to receiving repeat business. Interacting with your employees as a shopper will help you gauge the attitudes and behaviors they have toward every customer they encounter. It can be difficult, however, to get a realistic experience with your employees if they are able to recognize you as a superior. If this becomes a problem, consider monitoring customer interactions at a safe distance.
Effective advertising is another key component of a successful business. Not only do advertisements reflect the core concepts of your enterprise, but they are often the first time prospective customers are introduced to any product or service you offer. When viewing your own advertising, ask yourself the same questions any prospective customer would ask. Viewing the advertising of successful competitors can be a great way to gain insight into what demographics and message you should incorporate into your own business.
When portraying a customer, it may be tempting to act defiant or unruly in order test the reactions of your employees. Even though some shoppers do act out when visiting a business, the vast majority conduct themselves calmly and respectfully.
Always remember that the purpose of acting as a customer is to gauge the viewpoint of your average patron. Also, if you are discovered treating your employees disrespectfully, this will give them a negative view of you as a leader. Not only will this affect the overall morale of your work force, but it may also negatively impact the perception of your business in the mind of the public via word of mouth.
The goal of any business is to turn a profit, which can be extremely challenging if consumers aren’t satisfied with the experience or product. Yet without understanding the opinions of the average shopper it can be challenging to keep your customer base satisfied. By posing as a customer yourself, you will better how your patrons think and feel, enabling you focus on the changes that will most benefit your business.
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