Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Measure twice and cut once

The title to this post is a phrase I’m sure most of you are familiar with. It’s a common phrase in carpentry and repair reminding you to take accurate measurements (measure twice) so that you get it right the first time (only cut once). An inaccurate measurement can cause a number of problems. If your measurement is off, and you don’t catch it, you may not be able to assemble the finished product or may have a structurally unsound finished product. Assuming that you catch the mistake, you will end up wasting time by having to re-cut the item. If you’re as lucky as me, you will have cut it too short and therefore have to start again with a new piece having rendered the first piece unusable, wasting time AND material.

The same concept also applies to customer service. If you ask enough of the right questions, you will ensure that the customer’s needs are met in one visit. My customers occasionally joke with me about how they were “assaulted” with questions when they walked in the door. Our associates are trained to greet every customer that walks in the door and ask them what we can help them find. I wouldn’t call that being assaulted, but they are definitely being questioned as they walk in the door. It’s merely a matter of recognizing the customer (our paycheck), guiding them directly to what they need (saving them time), and pairing them with an associate trained in whatever their project entails (1 on 1 customer service).

Asking enough of the right questions not only saves the customer from making unnecessary return trips, it also builds the customer’s confidence in your abilities. The questions you ask show the customer that you understand the project, have the necessary project/product knowledge, and can help them complete their project. Their confidence in you increases as does the likelihood that they will seek you out (and your business) for help in future projects. You have strengthened the relationship that you have with that customer and increased their loyalty to you and your business.

Not every project goes as planned. Even if you do ask all the right questions, there is always the possibility that another issue may come up as the project is being completed. I have joked with customers on their third or fourth trip to the store in one day that I was going to get them an associate name tag because they were spending so much time in the store. It’s a constant reminder to make sure I am doing everything I can, and asking all the questions I can, to make the most out of their visit.

Some of my customers may joke about being “assaulted” at the door with questions, but they can’t say they didn’t receive customer service. Asking all the pertinent questions gets them to the right aisle, for the right product (or service), and helps them complete their project. Asking those extra questions (measuring twice) ensured that they only had to make one trip (cut once). Until next time…