One of my biggest gripes that happens with bricks and mortar businesses is in regards to opening and closing times.
Businesses that close at 5:30pm, but already look closed at 5:15pm.
Do you think that makes the customer feel comfortable or uncomfortable? It’s obviously the latter, and making customers feel uncomfortable is a problem for business.
Here are three examples:
- Being in a cafe and they start taking the garbage out and stacking chairs while you’re there (within the advertised opening time).
- Being at a retail store that starts shutting down computers and is more focused on packing up then helping you.
- Taking the signs in from outside before you’ve closed so to anyone passing by you look closed already.
You might think it’s an efficient use of time because business is slow in the last 15 minutes, but let me promise you that giving a customer a substandard experience certainly won’t start attracting more customers. You’ll just end up getting quieter and quieter.
Think of the big brands, they generally have a 10 minute and 5 minute call ready for their doors to be closed at that time. There’s a consistency, but they don’t reduce the experience you’re getting so they can get out early.
The benefit behind a bricks and mortar store is that you have the opportunity to immerse your customer in an experience that online stores can’t match.
How good is that experience if you’ve already started packing up or if you’re not ready when people arrive in the morning.
Your customer experience should be like an event. You don’t rock up to a concert and they’re still setting up. The stage is set before you arrive. You don’t want the magic to be tainted because some of the musicians were just hanging out in front of the curtain before the curtain opened.
And there’s another danger – they stop coming because you look closed!
If you’re paying rent for a bricks and mortar store, it’s important you look open when you’re actually open – especially if you’re paying premium rent at a site that has good passing traffic.
Life’s too busy for customers to remember when everyone closes, so if you look shut I just don’t stop. It’s that simple.
Be open when you’re open, and close when you’re closed. If you don’t want to stay till 5:30pm then set the expectation that you close at 5:15pm and delight them if they come to the door and you grab something for them.
Whatever you do, when a customer interacts with your business give them the full experience and your full attention.