Welcome back, readers! I hope you’re enjoying this series as much as I am. I’ve had a lot of feedback from business owners, so today I really want to focus on Business Owner Etiquette. This is just as much for employees of businesses, though, so even if you don’t own a business, keep reading!
The most important part of business etiquette is consistency. The reason Starbuck’s and other chains do so well is that people know they can go there and get the same thing in Dallas as they can in Chicago. Even if you’re a one-location operation, make sure your customers know they will get what they expect. This extends so far beyond food, though.
Keep your hours consistent. The number one complaint I get about small businesses is that customers say they never really know when they’re open. If you have “ish” following a number that is intended to indicate when you’re open, I highly recommend you lose the “ish.” It isn’t cute. It’s confusing. If someone takes the time to drive to your place of business, and you’re not there when they expect you to be there, they likely will find an alternative.
Particularly with small businesses, the profit margin is small. However, sending home employees at 2pm when you’re scheduled to stay open until 4pm because things are slower than you’d like will lose you future business.
Staying on the path of consistency, make sure what you offer remains consistent. Especially as a parent, it’s very frustrating when I order something for my child expecting, say, a sandwich, fruit and chips (because that’s what I’ve received before when I ordered the same thing), and you bring only a sandwich and chips. If you bring something extra, make sure you state it’s extra. Otherwise, it becomes expected.
It takes time for people to adapt to change. Don’t be too quick to pull the trigger when trying out new hours or menu items. Make sure you advertise it well before simply deciding that change doesn’t work. People don’t know what they don’t know.
Keep in mind that your employees are your living, breathing brand. Choose them wisely. Employees should be willing to help and engaging with the customers.
No matter what type of business you run, if you rely on customers, you are in the service industry. Treating your customers with respect and dignity will always give you an edge on your competition.