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"Be Your Own Customer"

by Dave Balch, "The Stay-at-Home CEO"™

(c) 2002, A Few Good People, Inc.

Do you actually use your own product or service to see how well it works? I am constantly amazed at the number of products that are simply "unusable" for one reason or another. 

For example, we purchased a large spill-proof water bowl to bring in the car when we take the dogs. For $30, it ought to work(!), and it does. 


It is nearly impossible to remove the lid for cleaning. It is very well made of heavy plastic, with a perfect 'snap' fit. Oh, the illustration shows that it CAN be removed but not HOW, so if there is some special trick to it, I have no way of knowing. I believe that it is not possible to remove the lid without hurting yourself or the plastic. 

Don't these people use their own product????? If they did, they would know of this major shortcoming. 

I am also reminded of a brush that my wife purchased for cleaning out the tubs that we use for the horses. They have little tiny handles which are actually loops molded into the plastic, but who has hands that small? You'd never get a 10-year-old to do that kind of work! We both end up with scraped or sore knuckles every time we use it. Again, don't these people use their own products?  Maybe they are made in Japan, where people tend to be smaller, but even that's no excuse in my opinion. 

Which brings up an exception to my caveat; if you would not be considered to be part of the market for a product, you're off the hook! You, personally, that is. But you still need to make sure that your products are usable by those for whom they are intended. 

And while we're at it, do you ever call your business to see how it sounds? It amazes me how large corporations spend millions of dollars trying to create an image of quality and caring and then hire someone at minimum wage to answer the phone. Then, when you call, it sounds like they're annoyed, or they are rude as they connect you. 

What about your music on hold? Is it too loud? Is it too soft? If it s a radio station, IS IT TUNED IN PROPERLY????? 

Maybe you have a recording for your customers to hear. Is it a good quality recording? Is the meaning of the message clear? Do your callers have to listen to more than they need to? 

I am constantly annoyed when I call the local movies and have to sit through a description of their location. I think that most callers to a theater are regular or local callers who already know where it is; how about putting that information at the END OF THE RECORDING so the only ones who need it have to hear it? Or make the directions an option: "Press '1' for directions". 

This is starting to sound like a rant. (!) My point is this… THINK FROM YOUR CUSTOMER'S POINT OF VIEW. Use your product or service as they would. Call and deal with your business as they would. 

Do you like what you get? If not, fix it.

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