I typically make it a habit to frequent a variety of businesses within one vertical, as opposed to sticking to one brand or company.
I find this offers excellent education and opens my eyes to countless opportunities. For example, I won’t just visit one gym, I’ll check out several. I won’t just go to one coffee shop, I’ll test them all. And I won’t just go to one restaurant, I want to go through the individual experience they each offer.
Through that research I’ve noticed something very important: the good ones are pros at Exit Management.
What is Exit Management? And no, I’m not talking about exit interviews when someone quits. (Although that may offer some value, just not for this context.)
Exit Management is everything that happens from the moment someone gets up to leave your business and walks out the door.
Listen, a customer is only truly made when they buy a second time, and if you drop the ball after you’ve taken their money and delivered the goods, you’re about to lose a customer.
Maybe it’s just me, but there’s nothing that makes me feel more important than when I get out of my chair at a coffee shop and, as I walk towards the exit, a staff member takes a split second out of their day to look up and cheerily wish me a wonderful day.
Yet, so many times I’ve walked out—even when the place is dead—and the staff is busy busing tables, making coffee, talking amongst themselves, or doing other busy work that, yes, needs to get done, but doesn’t directly produce a customer.
I know… I know… the staff is hard to train and they couldn’t care less about the customer and you’ve told them a thousand times to say bye and golly they just don’t seem to listen! Well then, Mr. Business owner, either FIX the problem, or FIRE the problem.
I don’t mean to sound negative, but blaming the staff is poor business management and nothing more than passing the buck. Own your business, own the results, and own the process. It’s YOUR business, not the staff’s, and it’s up to you to make sure you’ve got a great culture and staff who believe in what you believe.
Remember, hire character, teach skill.
And for heaven’s sake, please make sure to bend over backwards when the less than satisfied customers leave! Just the other day I was having a conversation with a friend and fellow business owner and she was going on about her experience at a local coffee shop that just opened. Her experience was poor, the wait was long, the latte was burnt, and the staff was less than friendly. As a fellow business owner, she wanted to give the new coffee shop owner some honest, helpful feedback because she WANTED to be a happy customer. The owner was stiff, shrugged the feedback off, and didn’t put any effort into listening.
She visited a few more times as a show of good faith and to “give them a chance,” and the owner all but ignored her presence. This story has now been shared with many of her fellow business friends, and I’m sharing it here (even though I’m keeping the company name private).
Had the owner taken a few minutes out of their day to genuinely listen, or at least acknowledge my friend as she exited the building perhaps this entire scenario could have been avoided.
Here’s one more quick story…
As most of you know, for 13 years I was in the fitness industry, and I always made it a point to ask each of my clients (as they walked out) how their workout was, and wished them a great night. EVEN if I was packed with customers at the front desk, I’d take a split second and make eye contact, smile, wave, and even say, “Have a great night.”
This was a crucial piece of the business puzzle, and it allowed us to have not just customers but a loyal following we often referred to as our extended family.
Since I’ve sold that business, I now frequent Goodlife, and let me tell you, aside from a handful of staff, most never acknowledge me when I leave.
Is it really that big of a deal? Well, if someone opened down the street and—with a bit of decent marketing—attracted me for a trial and they paid attention to me, I’d be easily seduced into joining. At Goodlife, I feel like nothing more than a number, but what I crave is to feel like a wanted and meaningful member.
Ask any good restaurant waiter and they’ll tell you that how they end the night, how they wish the patrons off, makes ALL the difference in determining if they’ll not only come back, but ask for that specific waiter again.
It doesn’t matter what business you’re in, there always comes a point when your client needs to exit your business, and you need to make sure that you manage that exit.
To your success,
PS – Not able to supervise at all times and not sure if staff is actually doing what you ask? It’s time for some mystery shopping and a culture analysis. Reach out to me and let’s get started—you may be shocked by what you discover.
CEO RYS Group
The Blais family enjoying the views at Lake Tahoe.
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