Keep your customers happy: Remove the pips from their lemons

Keep your customers happy: Remove the pips from their lemon

Years ago, my copywriting tutor said to me:Take the pips out of your lemon

"If you’re serving fish and chips with a wedge of lemon on the side you should always remove the lemon pips. Not that anyone will notice that you have. But they’ll sure as hell notice if you haven’t.”

And she was right.

If you squeeze lemon over your fish and lots of pips pop out all over your batter, it's annoying. It wastes time. And It might even slightly lessen your enjoyment of your meal.

It's not a big thing. But it's a pain.

So, why was she talking about lemon pips in business?

These days everyone is busy rushing from one thing to the next. And because of this state of heightened stress, we all seem to have a little bit less patience than we used to.

We’ve learned to expect perfect. To demand immediacy. And to complain, often vociferously, if things don’t go our way.

Customers are more attuned than ever to little irritants.

They notice when things are slightly more difficult than they need to be, or take more time than they should. And it leaves them with a negative impression, even if only a subconscious one.

It may not be something that stops them coming back: A few extra clicks to find what they’re looking for on your website, or having to chase you before you send through a quote.

But on the other hand, when they come across another business that has a slick user-tested website, and always does what they say they will, maybe they’ll jump ship and go to them.

Is it worth taking the risk?

Customers are fickle; make doing business so pleasant that they keep choosing you.

Don’t put up barriers to purchase

If you run an e-commerce store, make your processes smooth. Make it EASY for your customers to find what they are looking for, EASY to find lots of information about your products, and SUPER EASY to make a purchase (1-click ordering anyone?).

Look at your website, as well as your offline processes, from the point of view of your ideal customers.

Whatever business you’re in, whether it’s food, freelancing or selling fork handles online, you need to minimise those little annoyances. Iron out your processes and take pride in making things as EASY as possible for your customers.

This isn’t even about going above and beyond to wow your customers at every turn (although that’s great too!). It’s just about doing the small things right. And doing them consistently.

When Sainsbury’s delivers my shopping each week it tends to be one of three drivers. I’ve got to know them fairly well over the years. they are all very friendly, none of them rush me, and they even help me check the dates on all my fresh items. But one of them is my favourite.

And do you know why?

Because he always makes an effort to push my front door closed when he carries the boxes through to the kitchen. The others don’t, and all my heat flies out the door. It annoys me. Especially in the middle of winter.

Pushing a door closed is not a difficult thing, it takes seconds and costs nothing. It’s a little thing that makes a huge difference to me. And if Sainsbury’s suggested this to all their drivers I imagine it would make a difference to a lot of customers.

Or perhaps others aren’t as bothered as me. Maybe they have other little niggles that could be addressed.

Ask for feedback to get ideas

While you can’t get into each and every one of your customers’ heads to produce individual processes to suit. You can take opportunities to chat to them and ask for feedback. Listen carefully and you might find some thoughtful ideas to improve your processes in small ways. Ways that don’t cost you anything, but that could create a real positive impression in your customers’ minds.

Remove the 'lemon pips'. Keep your customers happy. Don’t give them any reason to go elsewhere.

What little changes have you made to your business processes to make things better for your customers? Do you think they noticed?