Businesses like people only get one first impression. Business launches and grand openings are done with expectations from customers that there will be a few glitches, but that for the most part the experience will be smooth sailing. When something goes wrong, there are a few bits of forgiveness that go along with the glitch, but when there are multiple glitches that happen because of poor planning, businesses lose their chance to make a great first impression and can ultimately cost themselves valuable customers.
Here are a few lessons learned about a business launch from this and other business launch experiences.
Aim to exceed customer expectations
Setbacks and mishaps will happen. No doubt. But when your business aims to exceed expectations you can not only catch as many of these setbacks before they happen, but also have a solid backup plan to rectify any potentially negative situation as it arises.
Put the customer experience before all and make sure you do everything in your power to give that customer a positive experience with your brand. Even when an issue arises initially, more can be said about how your company handles that issue than the issue itself. With fast response from customer service agents, fast fixes from the development team or staff and extra efforts to make a problem right your brand will create a great first impression.
Know your money makers
At the restaurant, beer glasses were kept empty for far too longs. Alcohol is the money maker in most restaurants and by not training the staff to keep glasses full (for as long as was safe and not overly intoxicating to anyone) the business ultimately lost money.
Knowing where you make your money and how you make your money are vital to a successful launch. You, as a business owner, need to know where to cutback and what areas must have constant attention drawn to them at risk of losing profit. This does not always have to be in product either. A software company with one singular product must still be aware that the cost of acquiring a new customer is almost always higher than keeping current customers. Therefore, investing in positive customer experiences up front will ultimately lead to more profits down the road.
Constantly seek feedback
One thing that shocked me while we were at the restaurant (and we did spend a few hours there due to long wait times to get in and for our food) was that we were not once approached by management to find out how our experience was going. While we did see plenty of managers, including four eating lunch, no one asked us about our experience.
As a business owner, manger or even employee, you should always be seeking feedback whether from a survey, follow-up e-mail or personal phone call. This shows the customer that you care and value their business. It also gives you a proactive approach in resolving any unspoken concerns that may have otherwise gone unaddressed.
If you are looking to launch a product or business, use these tips to make it as successful and smooth as possible. What lessons have you learned from a product launch?