One important area that I work on with clients is how their business looks. It can make a huge difference to not only their customers but themselves as well. It has been documented over and over that people will pay more based on appearance. You could take a Big Mac from McDonald’s, put it on a plate at a nice restaurant and charge 3 times as much for it. Our perception can change what we are willing to pay.
Don’t believe me? Try this out. Go to your local grocery store and buy 2 bottles of store brand water and a bottle of Fiji water. Empty out the Fiji water and refill the bottle, with the water from one of the store brand bottles. Now find someone who is not an avid Fiji water drinker and ask them to do a taste test. I guarantee you Fiji wins. Same water, different presentation and perception. Then ask what they would pay for each bottle.
Your customers notice everything when they walk into your business. Even if they don’t realize it, they do. Think of them as having an antenna sticking out of their head that is computing everything. Every piece of trash, the smell, dirt on the floor or walls, paint peeling. It all registers.
Keep it Clean
It never ceases to amaze me how many businesses I go into, that do not take care of the simplest details. Dust on window sills, dirty grout, paint peeling, etc. If that is how your business looks, you are not giving the perception that you are a high value business. You also do not give the impression that you care about your business. If you do not care about your business, why would you care about the customer?
Customers will pay more to go to cleaner business. Women especially will go out of their way to do business where there are clean bathrooms. Ray Kroc of McDonald’s wisely stated that bathrooms were part of marketing. He knew they could make the greatest burgers ever but the bathrooms would make or break them.
Be Disney World
I teach clients to treat their business like it’s Disney World. No piece of trash can be on the ground for more than a minute or two. Next time you’re at Disney, drop a wrapper and time how long it stays there. Cleanliness is an enormous deal at Disney. They could save a ton of money by not having all those employees constantly sweeping and cleaning. They could just pay a company to come in at night and handle it. But they are focused on the presentation and that is what sells.
Stop Being Cheap
Everyday you should be touring your business and taking a good look at it. How does it look from the customers eye? Stop cutting corners and buying the cheapest possible products and furniture. Look, I understand all about keeping costs down and being smart with your money. But there are other ways to do that and the customer is the last place you should save money. If cutting costs is at the expense of a lesser experience or product, don’t do it.
The bottom line is that you will make more money. Creating a better experience for the customer is rewarded by more customers. This culture should be taught to every employee so they see the way you want your business run. Get them on the same page so they understand the importance. Send them to Disney for the day. Whatever it takes to get your entire company on this mission.
Even if you are a business that does not have face to face customer interaction. Your office, warehouse or vehicles should have the same effort. Don’t be cheap with your employees surroundings either. When employees work in a dreary, dirty environment, that is how they feel. Production drops. Even just better lighting has been shown to improve productivity. If you are a one man operation in an office. Make it look like an office on Wall Street. You will feel better and it will show in your productivity.
There are a lot of ways to do this without spending a fortune. Just paying attention to details and being smart is generally enough. Spending hours of your time bargain shopping for furniture that doesn’t match, is not being smart. Spend the money to get a nice set and use those hours to go make more money.
When your business looks like a million dollar business, you feel it and your customers feel it.