A restaurant took its most popular item off the menu. It had been on there a long time, and the owner decided it was time to make a change, even though it was his guests’ favorite dish.
A company changed its invoicing terms. It wanted to tighten its terms to get paid sooner, with larger penalties for late payment.
A retail store changed its return policy. What was once considered a flexible, customer-friendly return policy became a hassle for the customer.
These changes are the reasons some customers shared when they were asked, “Why don’t you come back anymore?”
If any of these businesses had taken the time to ask their customers about the changes they were considering before making them, they would have realized that it would cost them business. They still might have decided to move forward with the decision, but at least they would have been prepared for their customers’ reactions.
I recently heard someone say, “Don’t forget what got you to the dance.” This was a derivative of the saying, “Don’t forget who brought you to the dance.” When you change who brought you to what got you, it takes on a different meaning.
Referring to who brought you implies you should appreciate and remember who you are with, such as customers or employees who have supported you. When you refer to what got you, it means what we did to get someone to dance with us in the first place. The dance is the metaphor for your business, and what got them to the dance is why customers keep doing business with you.
The point of this is to think about changes you make that aren’t customer-focused. Any change, even if you think the customer will like it, could be opposed and cause friction. For example, a software company made changes to its product that they thought the customer would like. They were wrong. Many customers complained, and some even left.
Contrast that with another software company that announced the changes it was making in advance. It promoted the benefits, and at the same time, warned that customers would have to relearn parts of the software. However, how they went about it made their customers excited about the change, regardless of the friction.
Whenever you make a change of any kind, consider the impact on the customer. Will they be happy, unhappy, or will they even notice? You may still choose to make a change that negatively impacts the customer, but you’ll be prepared for the fallout. The point is to know and prepare appropriately. Remember what got you to the dance. Often, that’s why the customers continue to dance with you.
Shep Hyken is a customer service expert, keynote speaker, and New York Times, bestselling business author. For information on The Customer Focus™ customer service training programs, go to www.thecustomerfocus.com. Follow on Twitter: @Hyken