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Business Information by Gladys Edmunds

Business Information by Gladys Edmunds
Gladys Edmundspacer pixel At age 15 Gladys developed a travel service that would prosper for more than 30 years. She is a national award winning entrepreneur, keynote speaker, author and columnist. Visit her at

Zero In On The Benefits Your Business Provides

Zero In On The Benefits Your Business Provides

Dear Gladys,

I’m planning to start my own business after graduation next year. I will be getting my MBA. And, I have read a lot about customer service. Much of what I’ve read seems to say that customer service is about being nice to people. However, there must be more to it. There is no way that a potential customer can know if your employees will treat them nicely until after they have entered your business. So, what is it that drives a customer to walk through the door?

Thanks – C.A. Henderson

You’re correct in your thinking; there is more to getting and keeping a customer than just being nice.

One thing that will bring customers in the door is the value they have placed on the benefits offered by your service or products. In other words, what does your product/service offer the potential customer? An experience that I had years ago while celebrating Mother’s Day is a good example of what I’m talking about.

Sharon, my daughter, invited me out for Mother’s Day brunch. Sunday morning I arrived at her house hungry and ready to get to the restaurant. I found her in discussion with my granddaughters on where we should eat.

I suggested the restaurant at a private club. I told them that the buffet brunch would be delicious. My daughter wanted to make Mother’s Day special so she suggested a new, upscale, overcrowded, downtown restaurant, and my granddaughters added that if special was what we were looking for we should go to McDonald’s.

We finally arrived at a decision to have brunch at a suburban family-style restaurant. It was not overcrowded, and the price was right, which suited me, and I reminded my daughter that the most important thing about the brunch was that I was with my favorite girls, which suited her, and they offered the French toast sticks like the ones my granddaughters enjoyed at McDonald’s.

I offered to drive, and a similar situation occurred in the car. I popped a jazz CD into the player. My daughter pulled from her purse a CD by Jamie Foxx. And my granddaughters shouted from the back seat that they wanted to hear Lil’ Bow Wow.

What we have here are differences in what we value and the benefits we derive form those values. People don’t buy products and services; they buy the benefits those products and services offer. And they walk through your door because they know that you have what they want. And, you have it because you know they want it.

What that means is that you should know who you are serving and why. Markets are constantly changing. I remember when my daughter was 6 years-old and she saved her allowance to take me out for a Mother’s Day dinner. We went to McDonald’s, and she was thrilled to pay for the both of us.

Well, guess what? Both of those customers’ taste have changed. Today I look for simple elegance. My daughter is into fashionable things and whatever is “in.” And my granddaughters just want to have fun.

Our restaurant recommendations were based on our lifestyles. And our lifestyles lead us to place values on the things that are beneficial to us.

An entrepreneur who wants to get folks in the door and keep them coming must know who his customers are, what they want, and give it to them.

Read other business articles by Gladys Edmunds

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