What clues does your store send to customers?
Retailing veteran Leonard L. Berry, founding director of The Center for Retailing Studies at the Mays Business School, Texas A&M University, has written a book, Management Lessons from Mayo Clinic, with former Mayo marketing director Kent D. Seltman.
In a chapter, “Orchestrating the Clues of Quality,” the authors say that customers are detectives.
“In interacting with organizations, customers consciously and unconsciously filter clues embedded in the experience and organize them into a set of impressions, some rational and others more emotional,” the men write.
These clues fall into three categories: functional, mechanic and humanic. Functional clues, they say, concern the technical quality of the services. Mechanic clues come from inanimate objects and include sights, smells, sounds, tastes and textures. “Facilities, equipment, furniture, displays, lighting, and other sensory clues offer a visual presentation of the service, communicating without words,” the authors write.
Humanic clues come from the behavior and appearance of employees — their verbal and body language, tone of voice, level of enthusiasm and appropriateness of dress.
An experience is inherent, the authors says. In other words, for better or worse, your customer will have an experience in your store. But, the authors point out, a positive experience is not inherent. You have to work at that.
So, perhaps it would be helpful for you to consider the clues a customer encounters in your store. Once you identify the negative clues, do something to change them. When you discover positive clues, accentuate them.