Helping Customers Make Good Decisions

Does anyone really grasp how many decisions the average customer is making on a daily basis?

Everything they do involves a decision right from breakfast to were they want to go on vacation. Their minds are constantly being called upon to make choices. But how many of those choices are they really prepared to make? And as I look around I see few businesses focused on helping customers make good decisions.

Sure they can easily decide what to have for breakfast, what to wear and how to spend free time. These shouldn’t be show stoppers. Other decisions like what kind of car to buy, whether to register for another pricey conference or how they want to cast their vote for president this year, take lots more thought.

Looking at things differently

Right now, I’m looking at things through the eyes of a customer. I’m in the process of remodeling my home. Room by room, wall by wall, I have to make thousands of decisions every single day. Many of these choices are close to permanent. Everyone looks to me for all the answers, “Where would you like this wall? How large do you want this door opening? What type of floor were you thinking about for the kitchen?” It just goes on and on…

I found myself in Lowes working up the kitchen cabinet plan for my new kitchen layout. As we’re working through pricing, I was given the price for cabinet installation. I was astounded. The installation cost was one-third of the price of the cabinets. This seemed extreme. I asked several times to make sure she hadn’t made a mistake with the quote, giving her plenty of time and opportunity to explain the reason. No explanation was given. There was no thought to helping customers make good decisions.

The following Saturday, I was in Home Depot with the kitchen design specialist. Finding cabinets I love, we talk finances. She quoted me the same price for installation as Lowes!

This could have been the answer

I asked why the price is so high. She explains the entire process including:

  • conducting onsite measurements
  • submitting them to the designer
  • returning to remeasure to make sure the design will work
  • ordering the cabinets
  • an onsite check when cabinets are delivered to make sure they’re all there and not damaged
  • installing them
  • then measuring for the counter top
  • providing a temporary counter top while I wait for the real thing
  • then installing the finished counter top
  • bracing it
  • taking the temporary one away
  • installation includes a 5 year guarantee

All of a sudden the price that seemed very high in Lowes appears to be a bargain in Home Depot. Same exact price, different sales techniques. I felt that she was schooled in helping customers make good decisions.

Why am I telling you this?

As entrepreneurs, I’m not sure we understand the challenge our clients face making so many important decisions. I think we need to find ways to make it easier for them to run their businesses and run their lives. We might consider adjusting our products, services, processes, and procedures to be more customer friendly.

Another good idea is to have explanations ready when customers have questions. A well-developed sales and pricing strategy should not be a mystery to employees. Armed with the “why” they could easily move a “shopper” to a “customer.”

Happiness sells

Considering the customers and striving to make them happy will give you the advantage. Don’t be afraid to scrap entire processes in favor of the customer experience. Those processes probably didn’t work for you anyway.

While we can’t force our clients to act in one way or another, we can focus on helping customers make good decisions.

Comments: 6

Comments (6)

  1. Josephine Geiger February 2, 2012 at 10:05 am Reply

    OMG – this is so true!
    A cost is only the sum of the parts, but if you don’t understand what goes into the process, product or price, you have no concept of the value.
    I will begin immediately with a re-write of my policies and work to educate my potential clients about my artwork so they better understand what it is I really do.
    Thank you for the eye-opener!

  2. Troy Breiland February 2, 2012 at 7:03 pm Reply

    Great advice. Explaining the process often helps customers ask the right questions and can lead to additional opportunities. It’s easy to forget that consumers are solving problems too!

    • Lauri Flaquer February 3, 2012 at 12:25 am Reply

      I love the point that you’ve made here about explaining the process helping people to know what questions they should ask. This is a valued practice for both buyer and seller. Unfortunately, many businesses are just to “busy” to make that kind of investment into their customer needs. Doesn’t make sense to me.
      Thanks so much for your comment an your thoughts, both are much appreciated.

  3. Joe March 21, 2012 at 11:02 am Reply

    You should do a post about how to diplomatically collect a past due bill from a client. By diplomatically, I mean collect the money and still have a chance for future business with the client.

    • Lauri Flaquer March 21, 2012 at 1:02 pm Reply

      Hi Joe,

      That’s a great idea. Let me think about this. I’ll let you know when it’s up.

      Thanks so much for the suggestion. As a blogger I am writing what I think people are interested in learning more about. Your ideas are extremely helpful and I welcome you sharing any that you have. Also, this is a great way for you to get valuable information from someone who provides information for a living.

      So you now have a personal invitation to send your questions, in the form of comments. I’ll do my best to answer them.

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