De­liver premium ser­vice through place

Sunday Independent (Ireland) - Business & Appointments - - FRONT PAGE - Ac­cess, house­keep­ing, hy­giene stan­dards, and health and safety Mer­chan­dis­ing stan­dards Sig­nage Ad­ja­cen­cies in re­tail Am­bi­ence and senses Ef­fort Wifi Or­der process De­liv­er­ies

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.

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