Being infatuated with it is not.
Loving your business demands commitment, focus, and the willingness to “work on the relationship” in a way that strengthens your company and enhances the experience of your customer.
Infatuation is defined as a foolish, extravagant, feeling that doesn’t always require sound judgement. You put your business on a pedestal. You believe it’s the brightest, most beautiful thing in the world – so much so, that you almost dare people to “compare” your business with the competition.
And that is where the danger lies.
Nine times out of ten, the things you believe about your business AND the competition are skewed. Seriously skewed.
You think your customer service couldn’t be better. You love the displays in your retail store. You think the competition’s employees are not nearly as nice or as well trained as yours. You believe you have the absolute, best-of-the-bunch, world-class business in your category.
Then why is the competition beating the pants off of you?
It’s time for you to take a serious look at your PEF – Personal Experience Factor.
1) Mystery shop the competition. Go out on your own and spend some quality time at each of your major competitors’ locations. Don’t just walk in and out – hang around, window shop, and get a sense of atmosphere. Look at inventory, and how it’s displayed. Check out the lighting. See how many employees greet you and ask if you need help. Try to absorb as much about the business as you can. When you go back out to your car, write down notes (or record them into a voice recorder) immediately. You don’t want to lose a thing.
2) Send a troop of mystery shoppers out on a mission. Either recruit customers who you know can be objective, or hire a company that specializes in mystery shopping. Develop a comprehensive questionnaire (there are many examples on the Internet) and send out the troops to visit the same locations that you did.
Then – here’s the hard part – sit down and compare their findings with yours. You’re probably in for a shock. In all my years in the marketing industry, only ONE company has had a healthy sense of self and knew what it had to do to compete with other businesses. Make a set of good, solid notes, being sure to highlight those finding that greatly differ from yours.
3) Finally, go back and shop the competition one more time. This time, look at it through the eyes of a customer. Review your notes before going inside. Look for the good things, from the perspective of trying to learn from this business. After you leave, see if you can jot down a few things that your staff could do to improve the customer’s experience.
Be in love with your business, don’t be infatuated by it. Infatuation means you have a big blind spot, one that could prevent anyone from falling in love with your company.