Are You Open for Business or Erecting Barriers?

 In Business, Business Operations

How many times have you had to check to see if a store is open before heading out for a shopping trip?  Do you have to guess a restaurant’s operating hours?  With so much commerce ensuing online, venturing out for a real-life trip to the store can be quite an adventure these days. Enterprises that aren’t carefully monitoring all resources that customers use to make decisions might just be creating barriers to new business.

We recently embarked on an effort to find some local, hometown businesses who could supply us with a few items on our shopping list. Those of us old enough to remember the phone book may briefly entertain finding the info we need in the yellow pages, but today, such a search instead begins on the internet. Finding the requisite web page for a business  is pretty easy, but trying to identify when the business is open becomes a real treasure hunt!

Recently, we searched all over the home page of one internet site to find the business’s operating hours.  Then we tried some other sites. In some, but not all cases, we were finally able to, find the business hours of the store.

Is requiring a long, lengthy search the best way to advertise your business? Or are you erecting barriers to new business by not making it easy to get the info?

Yes, of course many stores have an “email contact” page. There, you can  enter information, send along, and trust that someone would get back to us with answers.  That is not what we were seeking.  We wanted and needed to know when the business was open and when we could come and shop. To us, an email exchange was a barrier to our business.

Some businesses are only open Monday through Friday, 8am to 5 pm.  In these cases, because we work and could not get away to visit, we were out of luck.   In no case  was any provision made for an “after hours” visitation or a  Saturday appointment; and Saturday is ideal for lots of shoppers as its’s the day off. So, limiting hours or availability is also a barrier.

Marketing 101 stresses the importance of identifying and enticing new customers.  However, if you make it difficult for them to learn  what days you are open and what hours there is customer service, you turning the prospect away from your door and no doubt toward a competitor down the street!

Here are some tips to capture interest and convert it to business:

  • Ensure that your website has your hours of operation easily displayed on your website.
  • If you are willing to meet customers after normal business hours to address their concerns, say so. Be clear. Be available.
  • Tell your prospective customers exactly how to contact someone at the firm after hours to either buy a product or receive a service or perhaps even just to answer a question.

Do not make it a scavenger hunt for  potential clients who want to do business with you!   Prominently display your hours, appointments times on weekends and after hours, your phone number, email address and other specifics about your availability on your website. Remove the barriers to new business!   People are always willing to buy. It’s up to you to  make it easy for them to do so.

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