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It’s always good to take the time to review your own business, and that’s what I have been doing this month.

This year, I’m choosing to focus my business review in one particular area: ‘customer experience’.

Or, as we call it in the Evan-Cook household:

The Wendy House Trap

When our kids were tiny little dots, we (and by we, I actually mean, my husband and his Dad) spent about 100 hours one misty autumn weekend building a ‘wendy house’ (aka a playhouse if you’re a young person).

It was expensive, but it was cute. It had two floors and a balcony.

We imagined our boys using their wonderful little imaginations to while away happy hours playing pirate games and pouring imaginary cups of tea for each other. They’d soon be contentedly engaged in building a cache of happy memories to fall back on in old age.

“Yes!”, we exclaimed, “they’ll LOVE IT!”

Did they love it?

No, they did not.

They went in that thing for about 25 minutes.

We couldn’t understand it.

“Go and play in your wendy house!” we’d say.

Flat refusal was their only reply.

One day I decided to bend myself in half and lever my Gulliver like-self up the rickety ladder to re-evaluate the wendy house with my own eyeballs. I wanted to figure out why they weren’t using it.

Here’s what I found: splinters, spiders, piles of musty, dead leaves. It was cold, it was dark, it was dirty, it smelled bad – like a wet towel left to fester. It had nothing in it, and it was entirely DEVOID of fun.

I couldn’t wait to get the hell out of there.

Finally, I got why they weren’t using it – wendy houses are rubbish! It was a horrible place to hang out.

Not only that, but, we had a perfectly good actual house with heating, lighting, snacks and a mountain of toys just 30 yards away.

Why on earth would they want to play in that spider-verse?!

Soon afterwards, we gave in and converted our money pit into a garden storage shed.

Here’s what we learned though: we hadn’t been using our empathy skills. We hadn’t thought about what they would actually like to do. We hadn’t thought about what we really dislike, and realised that they might really dislike those things too.

Sadly, many businesses fall into the wendy house trap, too – by creating an offering without thinking about whether it’s something that people genuinely want to buy.

And, this means, surprise, surprise, that people don’t buy it.

Business review

When I sit down to consider our customer experience, I’m going to be asking myself a few questions about our services to make sure we’re not also tumbling into the Wendy House Trap.

Maybe you’d like to try my questions out, and use them to evaluate your own services and customer experience? You know, to make sure you’re not delivering a service with added spiders.

Wendy House Trap avoidance questions:

  • What have I learned about my clients in the last year?

  • How can I use what I’ve learned to make the features of my service even better than they already are?

  • If I were my own customer, what would I love about my service?

  • What would I hate about it?

  • What can I do for my customers as part of my service that would truly delight them?

I’d love to hear what you uncover as a result of this empathic analysis.

Drop me a line when you get the chance and let me know what you’ve found out.

I may be able to help draw on key elements to make sure the pathway of your business is heading in the direction of happiness for your customers.

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