Q: What’s wrong with this photo?
A: It’s a photo of a paper towel dispenser that was installed in my office building restroom this week. The problem is that the dispenser was installed upside-down, with the slot for the towels at the top. Last time I checked, gravity pulls paper towels down and not up. So, unless you are 7 feet tall or have a really skinny hand with long fingers, you’re never going to get a paper towel out of this dispenser.
Q: What does this photo tell you about growing your business?
A: Our businesses are not about us. Your business is not about you. It’s about your clients and customers.
The person who installed this towel dispenser forgot this critically important lesson, or may be never learned the lesson in the first place. Would you not think to actually put some towels in the dispenser as part of the installation process and test whether the dispenser works? I sure would have. I would have also checked the placement, the height and the metal edges to make sure the dispenser was functional and safe. In short, I would have taken 60 seconds to live the experience my customers would experience to determine whether my clients would be well-served, under-served or poorly-served by this dispenser. If it is worth the money and time to install a towel dispenser to serve my client’s restroom needs, then it is worth a few extra minutes to serve my client’s restroom needs well.
The baseline question, however, is this: What processes, procedures and steps have I put in place to judge, measure and gauge my clients’ experiences working with my company? How about a survey? Better yet, how about a confidential survey from a third-party? How about having trusted friends and family test and evaluate my products and services, on the condition that they agree to be brutally honest in their responses, comments and feedback?
Whatever system you put in place to measure your clients’ experiences in interacting with your company, the first step in the process is to recognize the need to think more like a customer and less like a business owner or manager. Said differently, the best business managers think about the customer first and the backroom operations last. Profits never flow when the customers don’t show. It’s all about happy customers and clients. So start thinking like a client today, and you’ll increase your odds of profitability tomorrow.