Saturday, June 30, 2012

Are You the Priority or the Option?

As a former retailer, I have come to understand that customer relationships make or break your business. You may provide superior products and services. Your place of business may be modern, clean, well-stocked, and have great signage. You could have hired the most qualified staff. The business may have a strong presence in the community. You have invested in a great advertising campaign and the customers have responded. Things are going well--or so you think.

After the first year, you notice that sales have consistently dropped. The number of customers have diminished. The customers who remained are spending less than they did before. The staff isn't performing as well and most are late for work and out of uniform. What happened?

What you put into your business is exactly what you will get out of it. It is critical to take care of the people who shop with you as well as the people who work for you. They are human after all. They have needs, worries, and problems that need resolution. If you don't do a good job of responding to their problems, some will be very vocal and lodge complaints. They will make you do your job. Others will give you another chance, but will seek out the competition to compensate for your shortcomings. And then there are those who won't make a fuss. They won't make suggestions on how you could improve. They will just stop doing business with you and tell everyone they know why.

Personal relationships are no different. The worst thing that you can do is to take the people in your life for granted. If you ask for more favors than you return, ask for help but offer none, and include them in the work while excluding them from the fun, then they will remove themselves from your circle.

In this life, it is incumbent upon each of us to give as good as we get, if not better. The lesson here is that you cannot expect others to make you a priority when you treat them like afterthoughts.

Be good to yourself~and others! More next time...

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