Make It Easy


Thursday, April 19, 2001

Secret for happy,
repeat customers

WANT your customers to return? Certainly you do. Research shows it costs upwards of five times more to bring in new customers than it does to keep the current ones. The secret for keeping customers is three little words: Make it Easy!

The difference between a bureaucrat and a successful businessperson is this: A bureaucrat makes life easy for the bureaucracy; a successful businessperson makes life easy for the customer. Which one are you?

A bureaucrat has multiple complex forms to fill out, confusing instructions, long waiting times for products and services, and generally doesn't care if the customer is inconvenienced. We have all complained about government services that operate that way. But, before you point fingers, look in the mirror.

Over the next several columns, we will discuss ways you can make it easy for your customer to do business with you. First, the logistics:

Make it easy for your customers to find you. If your location is tricky, put a map in your ads or on your business card. Train all employees to adequately give directions from anywhere on the island.

Make it easy for customers to find parking. If parking is a premium, use creativity to alleviate the problem. You might consider bus passes for employees so they don't use premium parking. Encourage car-pooling and make sure there are well-lit areas for employees and customers to park at night.

Make it easy for customers to walk through the door. I visited a repair shop where I had to step gingerly on a foot-wide path through a maze of parts. As this very qualified gentleman was ringing me up, he lamented the "slowdown in business." Oh, I wanted so badly to give him a seminar right there and then. Don't make his mistake of getting used to the appearance of your shop or office. Go outside your business and pretend you are a customer. What is it like to get inside? To get to the goods or services counter? What distractions are there? Is it clear and safe? If not, give up a weekend and get organized!

Next week, more tips to make your customers happy.

Beth Terry is president of Pacific Rim Seminars.
This column is excerpted from her upcoming book,
101 Ways to Make Your Life Easier. Send questions
on management, customer service and other issues

E-mail to Business Editor

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