It doesn’t mean that every snazzy corporate slogan about enabling value or delivering tomorrow today is there because they want to capture you.
Not everyone wants to get your business…
I walked into a store the day before yesterday, to purchase some paint products. This store has been around for years and I have walked past it, many a time.
So in I went with purpose. Selected my purchases and off to the counter. RM92, he says. Can I pay by cheque? No. Can I pay you by credit card? No. It is a company cheque, not a personal one. No.
I really need this urgently, I plead.
“Why don’t you go to the ATM and withdraw the money?”
Why won’t you accept a company cheque, I ask.
“I don’t know you.”
And that’s it.
I can understand that being the local store-owner that he is, that he might be wary about accepting cheques. But he limits himself by not getting any credit card facility (and what excuse do we have in the age of paypal) and only wanting to transact in cash. He is also very happy to lose the business. He is not concerned with whether you were planning to buy more. He is not concerned with whether you would come back to his store. He is not concerned about customer service. He is also not concerned about looking for options to make this transaction happen, nor any bad press consequent to this from referrals or word of mouth.
There are some positive elements here. Firstly, this store owner is sure of what he wants and does not want. Consequently, he is happy to accept the results that may ensue. Secondly, you have choice in whether to continue to do business with the store or not to. That is important.
But here comes the bad bits. There are good and bad elements to the different transactions we engage in. Rather than a point blank denial or refusal, it would make more sense to engage with the customer than reject him outright. Around us, people and organisations spend tons of money, time and resources every day, finding ways to engage with the world at large. People are looking for new ways to connect, to inspire and to make you think of [insert product]. From 2 minute commercial slots on tv, full page colour spreads in the newspaper, networking gigs at conferences and roadshows to twittering, social media and email blasts.
But… there are many occasions when it is not about us going out to the customer. There are many occasions when the customer comes to us. There are many occasions when the customer will choose to engage with us on their own and will be prepared to spend time with us. Occasions when they will be prepared to devote some attention to our service or product.
Do we know it when it happens?
Do we have a plan for when it happens?
Are we treating everyone the same?
Are we throwing the baby out with the bathwater?
Are we assessing the situation accurately?
Have we got it covered?