do you really need to tell people what to do with avocados?

Do you really need to tell people what to do with an avocado?

When the local grocery store was purchased, their ads changed. Historically, pictures of the product and the sale price were listed. Just the facts. Now, the use or medicinal properties are shared. Oranges are touted as being a good source of vitamin C.  Avocados are great for spreading on toast. But most shoppers already know that.

People look for unique perspectives or the specific information they are looking for. They don’t want to hear what they already know. And that’s the challenge for businesses. Providing useful or thought provoking information.

what is your customer experience?

Amazing customer service at the local high school

One of the local high schools recently held a plant sale. The kids learned how to grow plants from seed and sold the starts as a fundraiser. Upon arriving, I was greeted by one of the students who escorted me through the greenhouse. He showed me where each item I was looking for was located, put my selections in a box, escorted me to the check out, then put the plants in my car. The service was fantastic! I was so impressed, I shared the experience with family and friends.

Creating raving fans is easy to do. And it starts with amazing customer service.

How are you creating amazing customer service in your business?

change isn't always good

Are businesses ceding customers to third parties?

A lot has changed through the pandemic. And as a result, many implemented new systems to serve the customer better.  In some cases, those systems introduced a third party between the business and the customer, who now controls a significant portion of the experience. And doesn’t allow for purchasing or making reservations a guest, without a profile being completed.

At some point, “you may like this” recommendations may be made to the customer. Will that lead them elsewhere? Is having a third party controlling the experience (and collecting their data across a range of companies) better for the business or the third party? And does that system make life better or worse for the customer?

we've always done it that way means it is time to change

Change. Are you getting the results you want?

The local grocery store was acquired a few weeks ago. And all the expected changes are underway. Will they kill the business? Time will tell. The store never sold farm raised fish before. Now it does. It never used to sell canned goods with lots of things that can’t be pronounced. Now it does. The produce section was extensive and turned over rapidly so everything was really fresh. That seems to be changing too.

People shopped there because the store did the work for them.

That’s the thing in business. Customers choose to spend their money in places where they see value. Where their needs are being met. When those conditions change, the customer base changes. It’s up to leadership and owners to decide whether the outcomes of the changes are the ones they desire.

is bureaucracy getting in the way of solutions?

Is bureaucracy getting in the way of solutions?

A massive development is going in on the major road to the freeway. The project is developing an area that was previously undeveloped, requiring all sorts of new infrastructure. As part of the development, the road completely closes for 15 minutes, cars are let through then it closes again. If you hit the closures wrong, you’ll spend 30 minutes waiting for each back and forth trip.

The county doesn’t consider the road closed, so detour signs are not placed out, nor are signs about intermittent closures. One time while I was waiting, they explained all the rules as to why they can’t notify people of the closure, allowing them to take a detour.

The situation is a classic example of how bureaucracy gets in the way of providing solutions. The same can be found in businesses. Rules exist that make doing the job harder and less efficient, or provide lots of friction points for customers.

Is bureaucracy getting in the way of solutions in your business? If so, what is stopping you from getting rid of it?

are you taking more time than you need?

Are your products user friendly?

This past weekend marked the annual spring forward an hour. Along with that leap comes the ritual of adjusting any clock that does not adjust itself. For me, one of those is in my car. For some strange reason, my car has two clocks. One of which is very easy to adjust. The other, I’ve not been able to figure out after reading the manual and looking online. So, for part of the year, it is off an hour.

The funny thing about my car is it illustrates the spectrum of user friendliness. On the one end, a product that is easy to use without any instruction manual. On the other, so difficult that even with a manual, it is difficult to operate.

Which end of the spectrum are your products?

how are you making sure you aren't trimming the wrong things

How are you creating a place for ideas to grow?

After an inch or two of snow, the weather was cold enough to keep the snow from melting for about a week. Which led birds to find food a different way.  The birds, that are not normally visible, were everywhere and nipping off the buds that were just emerging. They just moved through each limb, removing every single bud. Nothing was left.

In business, cutting off the new growth in every single part of business can stop new products or services from reaching their potential. The most successful businesses have a place where ideas can germinate and grow. They know that is the lifeblood of their business.

How are you making sure you have a place for ideas to grow?

do you know when the window will close?

Do you know when the window is open and when it will close?

The last few days have been so foggy, the sun was not able to burn through. Today was different. The sun was bright and shiny against a brilliant, blue background, which made for a lovely drive to my favorite hiking place. In the distance, the clouds were so thick, they obscured the mountains. But that was in the distance.

As I started my hike, the sun streamed through the trees. The water, the green of the trees, the sun and the blue sky all played against each other in a beautiful way. But as my hike proceeded, the fog rolled back in and dulled the brilliant colors against a grey background. The window closed.

In business, the same happens. We see things on the horizon. Sometimes they come to pass and other times they don’t. Knowing when the window is open and when it will close is the key to success. How good are you at predicting when the window is open and when it will close?

who is making a bee-line for you

Who is making a bee-line for you?

There’s a gray cat that is periodically out and about. The first time he made a bee-line for me, I thought he was heading elsewhere. He wasn’t. He was headed straight for me. He rubbed up against me, purred and got a few pats. And now every time I see him, he makes a bee-line for me.

Some companies have customers that do the same. People just make a bee-line for them. They want what that company has to offer. And they are so exited about it, they tell everyone they know. How about your company? Are you so compelling people make a bee-line for you?