For some who work at a job, they may never have had the wish to go work for themselves. But for those who have had this dream, one of the appealing things about being your own boss, so to speak, is the idea that you can make your own hours and you’ll have tons of customers. This doesn’t always come to fruition, but it’s the idea. How about those team members who make up the teams that make these dreams a reality?
Last week I wrote about knowing who your customers are. As an employee of a business you may also assume that the only group of customers are the ones who come into your business and spend money. The boss has probably preached repeatedly about treating those people like gold, even when he or she speaks badly about them when they walk back out of the door.
One of the things that appeals to me about owning my own business is that the world is my customer base. It’s great to have an almost unlimited number of customers in the world. No matter how well you run any business, you are inevitably going to lose customers so having a large customer base means you have a greater chance of being successful.
In my mind this is far better than having just one customer, which is exactly the case when you work for someone as an employee. Think about it - if you are an employee of a business you have one customer - that business. We all lose customers here and there but if you lose your only customer, you are unemployed. Depending on your line of work and where you live, this can be a serious problem. Of course sometimes it’s a reason to celebrate.
Yet I see so many people with just one customer who treat that customer so poorly that their losing this customer comes as no surprise.
As a huge fan of Facebook I see plenty of people post things about hating Mondays or how they just dread having to get up in the morning and go to that “stupid job.” I wonder if those people think about where they get the money to pay for the cell phone plan that lets them buy that cell phone and post how much they hate their jobs?
Recently I was in a retail business and asked the person behind the counter where another type of business was, since they didn’t have what I was looking for. The person behind the counter said there were no businesses of the type that I was looking for anywhere around. I have this huge collection of wisdom in my pocket called a smart phone and I proved this person wrong. I’m never going back to that business that hired the team member who clearly didn’t care about anything.
In another case, I went into a really unique business that was very well stocked with all sorts of terrific specialty items. This was a destination business that people in the theater world from miles around raved about.
As I walked through the door the lone team member was very fascinated by whatever was on their smart phone. A few times I walked by her just to see if she was still staring at that phone and she was. So I started to let my mischievous side win and started dressing the mannequins in the store in the costumes that they sold.
I figured at some point she was get annoyed with me and actually provide service, but I might as well have been invisible. So by the time I left there were several provocatively posed mannequins dressed in outlandish costumes, most from the “ask for assistance” roped-off area. I finally got bored with my own mischievousness and left without making a purchase. She never said hello. She never said good bye.
My curiosity got the best of me so I emailed the store through their website and shared my experience. I wonder if she still has that one customer that is, or was, her employer? I hope not. I never heard back from them, either. My perception is that nobody cares at this business, which is what I shared on Yelp.
Every interaction with a customer is an opportunity to make that customer feel like their business matters, whether it’s the customer who walks through the door or the one whose name is at the bottom of your paycheck.
Through so many free tools you can be a better you and make your customer, the company you work for, much happier with what you do. And when your employer and their customers are happy, they tend to make your life better.
Everybody has the choice of whether to treat their customers like gold or like a lump of coal. But life’s better for everyone if they choose the golden option.