When was the last time you stopped to think about how your clients see your business? Do you ever visit your own website, walk up to your booth, or view your tweeted images with a detached, objective eye, like a stranger would?
Despite our best efforts, we don’t see our businesses as others see them. I see my business through my filter; you see your business through yours. And everyone else sees them through theirs! It’s likely that your clients see the wear and tear that you are trying to ignore. It’s possible that they see the outdated photographs that you’re putting off updating. You’re probably used to the clunky navigation on your website–that you meant to fix three months ago.
This month take some time and review the elements of your visual brand as objectively as you can. Think of yourself as a stranger, discovering your business for the first time–and try to see what they see.
Here’s some things to consider as you put yourself in your client’s shoes:
A) When you’re an exhibitor at a special event
Is your booth/table so crammed with things that it’s just overwhelming? Think of it this way: do you really need to set out every pen, every mug, every single brochure and postcard you brought, as well as a vase of flowers and a bowl of candy? Why are the flowers and candy there? Are they relevant?
You may see “necessary giveaways.” A visitor to your booth may see an avalanche of clutter. You may think “everyone likes candy/chocolate. And it’s a friendly way to start a conversation.”
Something to think about, that a client recently shared with me: He had a booth at the recent Ottawa Home Show. And there were several folks who were there simply to gather candy and chocolate. I mean, not even bothering to say hello or be subtle. Just grabbing a giant handful, dumping it into their bag and walking away. Without even making eye contact.
B) If you’re a store owner
Is your sign easily visible from a distance? It might just be too small. Or some lights might be burned out, making it difficult for people to see your store when it’s dark.
If you do business in the evening, make sure people can see your sign when it’s dark at 5 pm on a January evening. Otherwise, they might just give up.
C) Does your medical office have walls that are littered with special notices and reminders?
I loved my previous doctor, but she and her staff had a habit that really annoyed me. Everytime they needed to communicate something to patients, they would just print up yet another sheet of paper with the information and tape it to the wall. There were notes taped to the filing cabinets. And the reception desk. Even down the hall.
It got to a point where it looked like graffiti and it simply didn’t look professional.
If you own a medical or health related clinic, keep it neat. People sitting in the waiting area do notice how you keep the area. And it shouldn’t be an avalanche of paper posted all over the place. Find a better way to communicate with your clients.
D) What kind of website experience are you providing?
Does your website blare music that can’t be shut off? Do images take forever to load? If you sell items online, is your ordering process easy or does it test someone’s patience? Left unchecked those are things that just might have people running to your competitor’s website.
Keep in mind that these days people visit your website as their first “test” and to see if they want to do business with you. If you turn them off during their first 10 seconds, they’re not likely to look at you any further.
All of these things matter because people see us -and our businesses- differently than we see them ourselves. We are used to the way we do things. And we get used to the little annoying things that keep popping up. We put up with them. But a visitor might not. A potential client will simply say “to heck with that!” and move on to your competition.
So put yourself in your client’s shoes. It’s their experience that matters, so make sure you provide a great one.