Step three in our marketing journey from your customers point of view is to look at your physical space. This is one of my favorite parts of the Customer Experience that is overlooked and underrated by so many businesses.
The Challenge – Overcoming Human Nature
This exercise can be quite challenging for an owner or an employee who’s been around a while. Tendencies in Human Nature are not in our favor for this situation. We get used to ‘seeing’ things and put on what I call “familiarity blinders”. That well-worn sign, the pile of boxes by the desk, the stack of supplies waiting to be unloaded, the utilitarian items behind the counter . . . these all meld into the ‘scene’ of everyday work life.
It’s a very difficult thing to do to close ones eyes and open them again with a fresh perspective, a perspective of someone who has never been in your space before. To do this correctly you’ve got to think like a newbie, a first timer, a brand new potential customer.
The ‘Conrad’ Experience
Let’s call you – Conrad.
‘Conrad’ already has looked up your business online, he’s already perused your website and your yelp reviews. He’s been tantalized by the things that he’s been reading and has decided to pick you out of all the competition! He’s primed and ready to go. He’s excited and ready to be dazzled by your brilliance.
What does Conrad experience?!
Do you have a parking lot? If so, begin there.
No, wait, we need to back up – into the street.
Is there signage that easily shows Conrad where he can park his car or bike? Is the signage well-kept? Is it consistent with your branding and your identity, your mission and purpose?
What does your parking lot look like? Are the plants pruned or scraggly? Are there weeds and garbage, or is it well-maintained, clean, and inviting?
When Conrad parks is it obvious that he knows where to go? If he’s arriving at night or early in the morning does it feel safe to walk to and from the parking lot to the front door? How was the lighting? What is the condition of the walkway? How is the entrance? Is it swept or is there crumbling concrete?
Is the door well lit? At night does it look like Halloween with cobwebs all over?
Your signage works for you 24/7 and is the best employee you’ve got. Signage never calls in sick, doesn’t miss a day of work, works in all sorts of weather, and never needs a raise! Keeping your signage visible day and night, from the street and parking lot, will pay you back in spades.
There are rules for signage encompassing size, location, etc. Click HERE for signage rules.
It’s Conrad approaches your door what’s the feel? Are the windows and the door handle clean? Or is your door littered with every advertisement under the sun for community events that were last month spanning last month to next?
How have you primed Conrad for his experience so far?
As Conrad enters your business is an obvious where to go? If Conrad hast to stand in line is it easy to see the items that you want to point him towards? Is a menu easily readable or are there pictures and other experience enhancing items to entertain him?
Waiting in Line
Pretend to be Conrad and stand in your line or walk to your desk.
If you are not looking at a person, what are you looking at? Do you see clutter and chaos or order and cleanliness?
If, in your business, there is usually wait time, this is a prime opportunity to educate your customer without having to pay a person to interact each time with that customer.
Take advantage of the wall space behind your employee, take advantage of the counter space in front of your customer.
Take a hard look at these areas.
What can easily look like a normal working, stocked, environment to you or your employees can look like chaos to your customer. Chaos and clutter are not the message we wish to send to our customer. Even if we have a busy bustling facility, order can subconsciously communicate calmness.
Do you have tables? Chairs? Are they pushed in and evenly spaced or strewn about?
These little things like orderly table placement, and chairs that are mimicking one another with the distance that they are pushed into the table, these things are communicating to your customer. These things communicate attention to detail.
How to Non-Verbally Communicate Value
Most business owners want customers to understand that the product and or the experiences being created are of high value and that you pay attention to details when creating those products or services.
Many businesses miss the mark in this very important step in their customer journey. They do not pay enough attention to the environment that the customer lives. To do this you have to get out from behind the counter, from behind the desk, or that back office, and pretend to be your customer
The ‘Facilities’ – A.K.A. The John, Head, WC
Let’s say that Conrad comes in and prior to ordering wants to use the facilities. I challenge you to go into your bathrooms and close the door.
Sit down on the throne for a few minutes and just look around. What is your bathroom communicating to you? To your customers?
Is it well lit? Is there paint chipped on the wall? Does someone clean behind the door?
All too often I see ledges of baseboards or corners that are filthy because the focus by the employee and the training that they’ve gotten is to fling a bleach mop around. Gross.
When a bathroom is clean, well kept, and a pleasant space to be in, you are communicating that that is the same type of attention to detail that is being used to prepare the product or service the customer is going to receive.Samantha Irwin
Where is the Gum?
One last challenge if you have seats in your place of business. Sit down at each place and run your hands along with sides of your table, and along the handles of your chair.
Does it feel clean? How about the door handle to the bathroom, and your front door? Check those out as well. Is it communicating to your customer what you wish?
Wrapping it Up
Taking a look at the physical space that your customer inhabits is difficult but very rewarding! The physical space is a vital part of the customer experience where you can communicate much to your customer. I love this step because so many businesses miss the mark, but when I do find a business that hits the nail on the head it is such a joy. Let’s raise the bar and put your business into the lead!
Place your business above the competition!