This week we have a guest post from the brillaint Paul Chapman, Paul is a small business marketing expert, speaker, mentor and strategist who regularly speaks at events all over the UK. A multiple business owner in his own right he has a unique way of looking at things and works with a vide variety of businesses across the Midlands and beyond.
So now its over to Paul……
Running a business is difficult at the best of times, so it really makes me cross when businesses try and make it harder for themselves. And one of the things I find most frustrating is when they make it really hard for people to pay them.
I have seen it before when businesses expect me to go to their website, download a form, print it off, fill it in, find an envelope, find a stamp, and drop it in a post box just to buy a one off item – the reason? It saves them a handful of pence on the charges. Result to them – they are leaving the control of their income in the hands of someone else. Result to me, I get grumpy and either don’t buy or buy from someone else.
And this week I saw it again. An all to common example of people making it hard for their customers to part with their cash but also a cracking demonstration of the right way to do it.
At the start of the week, I went for a meeting in a nice country pub. It was way out in the middle of the sticks, with nothing (and I do mean nothing) around for miles. I went to get us some drinks (a tea and a coffee – it was still early!) and the amount came to £4.76. I rarely get round to carrying cash and on bringing out my card the man behind the bar told me that it had to be over a fiver to pay on a card. I said I had no money made a joke about there being no cash machine for at least 20 miles…which didn’t seem to help. I asked for some biscuits to go with it – “the kitchens shut” (I wasn’t suggesting he whipped me up a fresh batch!) . So we have this strange impasse where I am stood there trying to give this man some money and he keeps saying no.
Fast forward a day and it’s the same situation again (I never learn) lovely lakeside café (interestingly with a cash machine) – tea and a coffee and again it comes to about £4.30. Out comes the card but it needs to be over £5… I’m expecting the same comedy fight but this time with a big smile the lady says, why don’t you try one of our delicious homemade cakes? So I do – in fact I try two (it seemed a bit rude just turning up with only one for me). Result for them me spending £7.30 result for me a great experience and a lovely cake.
What was happening here is that one business owner was thinking and one wasn’t. One saw the card charge as a limiting factor the other saw it as an opportunity.
The country pub were just not thinking, it’s a destination place, people don’t just pop by so when they do, the pub needs to make it as easy as possible to take as much money as possible AND give a great experience that will make it likely the customer will go out of their way (and pass all the other pubs) to get to theirs. Charges are a part of business life but lots of people now don’t always have cash so you need to find ways round it and the café did just that – for the cost of some flour and delicious sticky chocolate they took nearly double from me and certainly more than enough to cover the charge and ingredients and they made a happy customer who will keep going back…