Kennebec Valley Chamber

Serving the Kennebec Valley, Maine Region

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Friday Report ~ June 05, 2015

I just gotta habit - If you read last week’s blog (of course you did, right?), you’ll remember that the creative juices were not flowing that day. I mentioned that you needed to be doing something completely unrelated sometimes to allow for inspiration to strike.

            So there I was in line at Subway today. There were roughly a dozen folks in front of me and I began to look carefully at what they were ordering. I was feeling adventurous and in search of a new sandwich to try. This is big, as I ALWAYS get the same thing in places like this. I am a serious creature of habit. If it is a chain, I will order what I liked last time. They were ordering a wide variety of items from the new sandwich with guacamole to the Frito thing (yes, Frito corn chips on the sandwich). Some of these sounded exciting and delicious, so I identified a new sandwich. To be honest, as I approached the counter with a new idea in my mind, I got nervous. (There were 4 people in front of me now)

            We become creatures of habit out of fear. What happens when the new sandwich doesn’t taste good? I have wasted $7 and I didn’t enjoy lunch! So how do habits affect us in the business world? There are two key areas in which we can succeed by looking at the habits of human beings. (There are only 3 people now)

First, we tend to get in a rut. Ruts can be good, right? Ray Croc made the hamburger the same way each time. It wasn’t a different burger from store to store, it was identical. This is the secret to franchising. When people see your logo in a location they haven’t seen before, they expect the same excellent service in that location. But permanent ruts can be a problem. If you have ever uttered the phrase, “We’ve always done it like that,” you are putting your business at risk. Things change, people’s needs change, technology changes. Even McDonald’s changes their menu from time to time to meet the demands of their changing world. In fact, just last month they announced a partnership with a delivery service in select areas and added a new menu item, an “artisan chicken.”

The second way habits affect us, is that we need to know that our customers are creatures of habit. Get them once and make it stick. As a business owner, you have only one shot at a first impression with your customer. If a customer does not like their first experience, they simply won’t return. If they enjoy their first 10 visits and there is a problem with the 11th, you have a very good shot at rebuilding that relationship and keeping the customer, but it takes work. (oh no, I’m next)

So pay attention, again, to how you are doing business. Are you making minor changes from time to time to keep things exciting while sticking to your core business practices? Are you wowing the customer on the first impression? Do your customers feel a sense of connection to you and your product or service? If not, fix that.

Since I know you’re dying to find out, I got my usual…. And it was delicious.