Change is hard. Whenever you make an adjustment to your services, your website, the menu on your phone system, or your actual product, it's not uncommon for your customers to cry foul. Generally, people like routine and are creatures of habit. Change causes stress and, frequently, resistence.
Earlier today I was walking my dogs and we usually pass a pre-school while we're out. All the kids love to come to the fence to say hi to my little dog; he just loves kids and barks to let them know he's arrived. This morning, my little furball barked and all the children came scampering over to the fence. All of them were smiling and trying to pet him, except one little boy who was screaming and crying. My first fear was that the daycare folks would think my dog did something to the child, but one of the yard monitors quickly told me, "It's his first day. He's not very happy"
A kid's first trip to pre-school can be traumatic. For the very first time in their lives they're with total strangers, away from the people they know, and forced to stay in a strange environment where nothing and no one is familiar. Change is hard; no matter how old (or young) we are. Sometimes we'd all like to scream and cry and stomp our feet when change hits us upside the head. Unfortunately, as we grow up this kind of behavior is frowned upon.
The reality is your business is going to make changes. Sometimes they're for the better and sometimes you'll think they're for the best, but they turn out not to be.
Customers like to feel as if they're in it with you. They oftentimes feel like partners or even investors. They don't like to be surprised, inconvenienced, or annoyed. They want to be included. If they're part of a change, or adequately informed about it, it goes down smoother.
The next time your business is thinking of making a change, remember your customers. Can they be part of it? Can you seek their advice? If that's not possible, how can you best inform them of the change? Can you email them about it in advance? Can you guide them through the process with some simple education?
As adults, we're not supposed to throw temper tantrums like the kid on his first day at pre-school. However, in this age of social media, we all know that those outbursts manifest themselves in a different way: snarky tweets, hateful Facebook updates, critical blog posts, and more. Change is hard, but it doesn't always have to be traumatic.
Photo Credit: Photobucket/B. Mahfood