Sometimes our customers really want to do business with us but we just make it too difficult. As Donald Trump reiterated over and over in the season premiere of The Apprentice this week, "… it’s all about the point of sale."
I experienced this problem just yesterday. Instead of taking the time to make coffee at home, I thought I’d treat myself to Starbucks. Our local franchise is located a short drive away, inside of an Albertson’s grocery store. Upon approaching the counter the clerk ("barista") told me that her cash register wasn’t working, therefore she couldn’t serve me.
You’re kidding me, I thought. I pointed out that her register was literally surrounded by a dozen or more Albertson’s cash registers, but apparently the partnership between Albertson’s and Starbucks doesn’t allow each company to help the other out in a bind. So I offered cash. Almost exact change, but round up just to be safe, and keep the change. Nope. How about an extra buck or two just so I wouldn’t have to go search for a coffee elsewhere. Sorry. She refused to take my money… while the fresh coffee brewed right behind her.
I wanted to give Starbucks cash business, even with some additional profit. I wanted to take some of their excess, perishable inventory off their hands for significantly more than it was worth. But they didn’t want it.
So I went elsewhere, and not only did they lose my business for the day but they have a customer who will be a little hesitant about taking the risk to drive to that store again. Starbucks could have taken my cash and kept a paper journal until the register was fixed. They could have engendered considerable loyalty by even taking less from customers intending to charge their drink.
Great products and fantastic marketing will bring customers to you, but you still have to make doing business an easy and pleasant experience. What sort of pain do we put our customers through when they have already decided to give us cold hard cash?
Something to think about as we value stream map our processes. Keep the customer in mind, and specify value from their perspective.