My girlfriend called me through to the bathroom last night while she was in the shower.
Never one to refuse an invitation, I promptly made my way to the bathroom only to find her wrestling with a half-full shampoo bottle.
“Can you get anything out of that?” she said, handing me the bottle and panting from the exertion from her impromptu haircare HIIT circuit.
Judging by the weight of the bottle, there was clearly a lot of shampoo still to be used, so I flexed my manly arm muscles and proceeded to help my damsel in her tress distress…
“Have you tried just shaking it out of the bottle?” I asked pragmatically, while gently tapping the bottom of the bottle adopting the quintessential ketchup technique.
“Yes, I’ve tried, but it just won’t budge. I’m not buying that shampoo again – half of it is wasted!”
My gentle tapping had now crescendoed into a full-on hulk smash…
“WTF?! This bottle is made from some kind of Wayne Industries, Oscorp, Planet Krypton super plastic!”, I yelped as my manly arm muscles failed to so much as dent the surface.
Defeated and frankly flippin’ exhausted, I retreated out of the bathroom pondering the scenario that had just unfolded.
The shampoo in question was a particular favourite of my girlfriend’s – I know because she’s mentioned it a few times (yes, I listen). And yet, despite the quality of the shampoo, the brand just lost a loyal customer because its product was difficult to use.
It’s not a complicated concept: make life difficult for your customer and they won’t hang around long. Actively work to make life easier and you’re more likely to create fans for life.
All the shampoo brand had to do was change its packaging. Its product was good, so good in fact my girlfriend was willing to spend a little more to buy it, but it let itself down in the delivery (or lack thereof).
I’m sure the brand had the best of intentions and it may well change its packaging in the future (my girlfriend has provided some feedback in the hope they take it on board), but in the meantime, they have gifted a customer to a rival brand (one with “soft, squeezy” bottles).
They may never be able to win back that lost customer (if the other brand provides a good product and makes life easy, why would the customer switch back?). Even if they do, it costs a lot more money winning back lost customers than it does to simply keep them in the first place.
This is the reason my business partner and I created Make Life Easy (MLE Ltd). After 15 years working in senior management in the commercial cleaning industry, we realised everyone seemed hell bent on making life difficult – for themselves and for their customers. Processes were slow, data was missing, communication was sketchy – the industry needed a shot in the arm.
Our technology is designed to make life easy for cleaning business owners (our customers) and, in turn, help them to make life easier for their customers (facilities managers, single or multi-site operations managers etc).
Our business is focused on commercial cleaning because that’s what we know and where our expertise lies. However, I believe the philosophy applies to every industry. It’s important we as business owners focus on more than just our product or service – we need to understand how it interacts with our customer.
It’s no longer enough to just “do what it says on the tin” (the shampoo cleaned my girlfriend’s hair, but it was unreliable because she couldn’t get it out of the bottle and lead to a lot of waste). We need to consider exactly what our customers need and proactively offer ways to help them.
It’s not enough for your processes and ways of working to just get the job done (the Wayne Industries, Oscorp, Planet Krypton indestructible plastic bottle stored the shampoo – it technically fulfilled its task). We need to evolve to focus on making life easier for our customers beyond just offering them a product or service.
Consider how your customers access and interact with your product or service – are you making life easy for them?
Is your business using an indestructible plastic bottle or a soft, squeezy container?