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University of Illinois Extension community and economic development educator
Sight, smell, hearing, touch, and taste…best known as our five senses. Most of us learned about the five senses in kindergarten or first grade. We gave it more thought in our upper-level science and art classes, but why was this never discussed in our business classes? How did something so basic and essential get overlooked?
Creating an experience that your customers will remember is important! Make their encounter memorable through basic sensory marketing. Does this mean all businesses need to smell like caramel apples and have comfy couches for guests to sit on? Absolutely not. Here are a few tips to help you make sure you are giving your customers an appropriate sensory experience.
Be aware of your personal hygiene and that of your employees. Hair and clothing should be clean and appropriate for your type of business.
Clothing should stay in place. (Remember to wear a belt to help keep pants in place while working, if needed.) Clothing should also not be see-through. (Do the “bend over” check when wearing leggings to make sure the material is not getting thin.) Smell is very important. Too much perfume or body spray can be overwhelming to many. Make sure the scent you choose is not too overwhelming and do not use a scent to try to mask body order. Keep hair clean and not greasy. If working around food, make sure your hair is pulled back appropriately. Playing or fidgeting with your hair while working is also inappropriate.
When people walk into your business, ensure they are not instantly overwhelmed. Too many flyers or posters on doors or windows can be a distraction and give off an unorganized, cluttered feeling. Keep the glass on the windows and doors clean. Make your entryway inviting. A little décor can go a long way, just make sure it does not cause any tripping or safety hazards.
No matter your business type, ensure your floors are clean and the furniture is dusted. Don’t forget to clean the baseboards, light fixtures, and ceiling fans! If you do not care about your place of business, those who come to your business will not care either. Show pride in business ownership. Touch-up paint when needed. Replace entryway carpets or make sure they are frequently cleaned. Empty your trash regularly and make sure your parking lot is clean. (It can be annoying when trash blows onto your parking lot, or worse yet, is left there by customers, but ignoring the problem does not make the trash disappear.)
Only a few businesses engage in the sense of touch, but if your business does, pay attention to the customer’s nonverbal reactions. If you are a hairstylist and your customer is wincing when you do her hair, you may have a customer with sensitivity. Take a moment and ask them if you need to make any changes to make them more comfortable. If you are an auto-detailer, you will not be touching your customers, but you will be handling a significant investment that is very important to them. Make sure you are not slamming doors, jerking the steering wheel, or being aggressive with scrubbing/buffing.
Don’t lose customers because you forgot to think about your five senses! If you heed this advice, you will not leave a “bad taste” in your customer’s mouth.
For more information about how to create the appropriate sensory experience in your place of business, contact me (Valerie Belusko), at email@example.com or call 217-532-3941. I serve Christian, Jersey, Macoupin, and Montgomery counties.