A brand’s greatest service challenge may actually manifest itself before your customer even walks into your store. A million factors can contribute to changing a customer’s mind from wanting to enter your service environment. This can range from a perennial long queue to a badly located store. The impact of these factors on designing your service strategy is critical. In the process we create an acute condition called ‘unsatisfied demand’ wherein we lose a customer’s business before him ever getting fully introduced to it. So how can the scourge of unsatisfied demand be sorted out with a well crafted service design?
But before you start drilling down to find an answer, you need to understand the kind of incidents and severity of them which are causing the aforementioned, unsatisfied demand. Incidents that will talk about how customers have turned their backs on long queues and in the process a brand. Walking into an ATM with the air conditioning turned to minus 20 and receipts strewn across the floor can leave one scarred about the brand, quite literally. Your day can go quite pear shaped when you spend an hour looking for parking outside that new restaurant while your stomach goes on a disobedience movement, demanding justice and some food. A badly lit coffee shop which is neither romantic or understated but just plain cheap, makes that immense need for a coffee disappear and attraction towards a brand too. The examples are countless yet are so simple and avoidable. These are just the few details brands forget to include in their service design which lead to a very forgettable experience for a ‘could be’ first time customer.
Taking stock of this and then acting upon these situations is not as easy as it seems. Customers can get turned off by very different things and identifying them and tackling them can be the game changer with today’s unpredictable customer. Companies need to ask themselves a couple of questions to get them started down this road. When I walk into my company’s store, is there anything that inhibits my interest to enter? How can I make that first visit as comfortable as possible for my customer? In the answers to these questions, quite possibly lies the key to never losing a customer even before you get to show them what you got.