An Excess of Choice

There are a lot of competing businesses out there, whether it is woodworking, telecommunication, hardware stores or RC (radio controlled) vehicle retailers. So it can be a relief for the customer (and very surprising on behalf of the retailer) when one puts up its hand and says (or implies) “I am really not interested in your business- I don’t need you as a customer”.

I’ve seen it a fair few times recently, and it doesn’t seem to matter the industry, it tends to go the same way. You walk into a store looking for a product, or you are looking for a bit of expert advice, and to make some anciliary related purchases.

Let’s say in this instance it was an RC car. The shop keeper claimed he owned the same model (although the electric version), and asked where it had been purchased (being that they no longer stocked that brand – apparently a falling out with the importer).

Then, without any understanding of the customer, claimed he would never have sold a nitro car to someone unfamiliar with nitro engines – they are just too hard for the inexperienced to learn. Then after begrudgingly providing some basic supplies (air filter oil, a couple of clips) I was brushed aside for some other customers that were apparently more important. (How does one learn about nitro engines if one never gets to own one?)

I was looking at spending a $hundred or so when I walked into the shop, and with every likelihood that there would be future vehicle purchases in the future. (If a novice to a hobby is prepared to shell out $450 or so for their ‘entry’ vehicle, how much more could be gained by fostering the relationship??). Instead, I will forget that business exists- no further sales, no potential referrals.

This situation may have been about an RC car, but as I mentioned at the top, I have seen pretty much the exact thing in woodworking as well on a number of occasions.

All the advertising in the world achieves one thing- a customer standing outside your shop door. What you do from there, how you manage the customer’s needs and expectations will be the difference between a sale and the loss of a valuable asset (and indeed the only real asset a business has) – a satisfied customer. A satisfied customer is a gold mine- they will keep coming back, coming back, (referring others along the way) and the more that asset is fostered, encouraged, the more they will return and purchase from you, potentially bigger and better each time.

Drive them away, and don’t bother wondering why in 10 years time your business has failed. It would have died of 1000s of micro cuts- each customer ever so subtly encouraged to take their business elsewhere.

If anyone was wondering, for our 10th wedding anniversary- my wife got Pandora stuff, and some NZ glassware. I got a GV Cage.

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New Year’s resolutions

Nup, not a fan of them, simply because I can’t think of one I ever stuck to. What is the point of setting a ‘resolution’ if it is doomed to failure? Perhaps I should set some that by their failure, I will achieve my real goal (and if they don’t fail, I’ll have managed to stick to a resolution for once)!

I will not write a book in 2012
I will not loose weight and get fit
I will not make a blog entry every day on both Stu’s Shed or Stu’s Darkroom
I will not make $1,000,000 (ah well, if it doesn’t happen, at least it will be one resolution I’m sure to keep!)

I also had some thoughts about Stu’s Shed as well, prompted by a recent comment of one of the site’s readers: Terry, a payment from Rockler from the affiliate page (the ‘Shop’ tab) and that it is still only for US companies Rockler and Amazon, last night’s post on ‘Buying Timber’, and a general desire to revitalise the site.

Simply, I want to start putting out more posts that added together are start-to-finish on working wood. Starting with choosing timber, choosing tools, preparing and dressing timber, machining operations etc. Along the way I may actually finish some projects I have either started, or have planned to start! There will still be plenty of time for other content- commentary, reviews, opinions, news, and I may even find time to get some podcasts out there as well!

So I’m not sure what the final resolution for 2012 should be:

I will not get any sleep
or
I will take things easier

Because one is likely to be the result of trying to get everything done, and the other is a conflicting desire. Anyone know a good cloning company?

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