Deliver premium service through place
Place can mean different things depending on your business model.
YOUR PLACE — this is when a customer comes to your premises, such as a restaurant, hotel, retailer, motor dealer, bank, government department, hospital, clinic, solicitor’s office, etc. In these cases, place is everything to do with the physical environment. (B2CS)
CUSTOMER’S PLACE — this is where you are delivering your physical or digital goods to your customer’s premises, such as if you are a manufacturer, distributor, wholesaler, tradesman, consultant, developer, etc. Then place is more about your route to market. (Usually B2BS). Your car park, entrance doorway and reception of your premises should be clear, uncluttered, welcoming and easy to access. How would you feel if you arrived in to a store and the aisles were cluttered or too narrow for you and your child’s buggy, or if the floors, ceiling or walls were dirty? The customer is intent on spending money with you, so treat them with the respect that they deserve. Whatever business you are in and wherever you aspire to be in your competitive matrix, when is it ever OK to have poor standards? Why not step outside and walk back in to your own premises with the mind of a customer. What do you see? What would you change?
Visual merchandising is the manipulation of attractive displays, merchandising to engage customers and to boost sales. Merchandising is about presenting your product in its best possible way to appeal to the customer. This might be a physical product on a shop floor, a set of brochures on an exhibition stand, or the credentials presenter in the hand of an estate agent. In all cases, you need to think about visual appeal.
There are three tiers of hierarchy for signage, 1 Navigational — to help you move around a large space such as an exhibition, department store or hotel 2 Category — to clearly identify product categories, eg to separate laptop computers, smart phones 3 Product signage, to explain the product specifications
When you go to do your weekly grocery shopping, you are unlikely to find the detergents on the same shelf as the bread. Apart from the health and safety issue, it just doesn’t make sense. To address this, you have to get inside the mind of your customer and their buying ‘journey’. Non-retailers can learn from this too. Find cross-selling opportunities in whatever way you can, such as your website, brochures, correspondence and other collateral.
Today we know so much more about how customers buy. We know, for example, that customers are often influenced more by emotional (heart) issues than practical (head) issues. The use of senses can impact that, which are sight, sound, touch, smell and taste.
In this time-poor world we live in, customers will punish you if they have to apply more effort than is reasonable to buy from you. That might apply to the waiting time on a call, the queuing time in a bank, the difficulty in getting to your premises, parking challenges, public transport constraints, online purchases, return policy, and so on.
One of the first things that people do when they arrive to a new place, destination or venue, is to check for wifi. Always-connected is a new reality in their lives and businesses might ignore this at their peril.
If you are a B2B such as a distributor, manufacturer, tradesman, consultant, estate agent, then place is more about your route to market and how well that represents your brand. Do you offer choice that suits your customer such as online ordering, telephone or face-to-face?
In some businesses, the only person that a customer meets on a regular basis is the delivery person. If that person is employed or contracted by the company, they should be trained on their role in delivering great experiences. Grooming, tone, language, behaviour all have an impact. If you outsource the service, then you should agree an SLA (service level agreement) with the outsource provider to ensure that your customers get an experience that reflects your brand.