How to Alienate Customers: Give a Little Less than they expect
This rant started over a can of coffee.
Do you remember when a 3# can of coffee was filled to the brim – so when the can opener cut into the top the delicious aroma of coffee grounds wafted up to give your nose a treat?
Did you notice when that 3 pound can was no longer full to the brim – and instead of holding 48 ounces of coffee, it held 46 ounces? Did you notice again when it went to 44 ounces, or 42 ounces?
Then did you notice when the can got a bit shorter?
Have you noticed that the “big can” of coffee now holds only 26 ounces? And that yes, it costs a bit more than the 3 pound can used to cost.
Of course coffee isn’t the only product that is being offered in smaller and smaller containers while the price rises. Mayonnaise is another one. The jar looks the same, but that big bump in the bottom means a couple less ounces inside. What still appears to be a quart is now only 30 ounces.
I could understand and even accept seeing the prices go up. We all know that it costs more to produce goods and get them to market when fuel prices keep rising. But why try to hide the fact by offering a little less and a little less while trying to pretend that nothing has changed?
Why not come right out and say “We need to charge more now” – and then do it? At least consumers wouldn’t feel like the manufacturers think we’re fools who can’t tell the difference between 48 ounces of coffee and 26 ounces. At least we wouldn’t feel like they were deliberately trying to deceive us.
What does this have to do with your business?
As independent marketers, we need to do just the opposite of what these major corporations are doing – which is giving us less for our money than we’ve come to expect.
If we want our independent businesses to thrive, we need to give a little more service than customers expect.
This week I visited a store where every employee was on their toes, watching the customers and offering assistance any time someone appeared to be searching for something. They were busy doing other things, but with one eye on service at all times.
What a refreshing contrast to the “big box” stores where getting help almost means tackling an employee as they hurry past with their head down – avoiding a chance at eye contact.
What you can do to give a little extra depends upon the products or services you sell. But my bet is that if you think about it, you can find a way to give an extra bit of service that will come as a welcome surprise to your customers.
If people are going to talk about you and your business – and they will – wouldn’t you rather they told friends and family how you surprised them with more, instead of with less?