Setting up ground rules is not an easy task. This is because defining a set of ground rules is something that every business owner cannot do themselves. It is always best to leave things to the professionals. This is where an enquirer will be of help.
An enquirer is a person who asks for information or for clarification on a topic. An enquirer can be a salesperson or a lawyer. Whatever be the case, a business that uses ground rules in their business will benefit more in the long run. If you are just starting off, it is important to know that there are some ground rules that any business should adopt. One of these is as follows.
Any business must follow basic formal and informal rules. These rules help define the boundaries of the business and define what is appropriate from both sides. It also gives the customers a good impression of how professional and genuine you are. There are different types of rules that can be followed depending on your business nature. These are as follows:
Formal rules are those that have been laid down by an authority to regulate how business is conducted within a certain framework. For instance, a hotel has to follow the local codes when it comes to giving towels and other services to customers. It can be categorized under government regulation or private association. Either way, these rules are set down by someone higher than you.
Informal rules are those that you create yourself. For instance, you may decide that you are going to serve your customers freshly cooked food. This means that the food must be prepared and served as soon as possible. The customers will appreciate this. On the other hand, you may not want to use napkins or silverware as the way in which you serve food to your customers.
Either way, it is not acceptable and you will be asked to either serve them with plastic cups and utensils or else provide them with paper plates. You can also put a red mark if the customer requests for something that he has requested for or even made. This is considered as an informal rule because you are trying to follow the desires and whims of the customers.
Business ground rules are essential, whether formal or informal. However, there can be differences between the two. Formal business ground rules are enforced to ensure that customers do not face any inconvenience while indulging in business with you. On the other hand, informal rules are meant to ensure that customers feel comfortable.
However, these ground rules are not laid down to any particular set of customers. They are meant to ensure that all customers are treated equally. Formal ground rules are intended to help customers enjoy certain privileges that are offered to them. In informal ground rules, the customers are not given any privileges. Thus, it all depends on you as a business owner as to how you want your customers to treat you.
The most important part of ground rules is to define what ‘customer’ is. Generally, in most businesses, the customers that the general public sees is your regular customers. If you are starting up a new business, your customers will be people that you have known and kept in contact with over a period of time. These customers are your friends and if you treat them well, they will tell their friends about your business and refer your products to their friends and this spreads like wildfire. However, if you are serving the needs of your customers with your product or service, your customers will only have a casual interest in your company and hence you will not have a very good reputation.
Now, when it comes to informal rules, you cannot afford to be informal. It is vital that you present a professional image to your customers and that your services are quick and effective. This will give your customers the impression that you are in the business of professional services only and that you are offering quality services. It is imperative that your customers come away from your services knowing that you are serious about your business. You will have a better chance of retaining your existing customers if you stick to your ground rules and your customers will only refer your services to their friends and relatives if they are happy with the results.
Remember that maintaining your ground rules is not as difficult as it sounds. All it takes is a bit of understanding and the willingness to apply them consistently. At the same time, remember that you do not set out to enforce all your informal rules all at once. It is more advisable that you let certain areas of your services run free and then concentrate on those areas where you feel your customers are being adversely affected by your informal policies. Once you understand the impact of your customers eroding your informal rules, you will be more disciplined in making changes to your services.
Remember that the most important ground rules for your business are those that relate to customers. Always treat your customers with respect and do not take any undue advantage of their innocence and inattention. Always be honest with your customers and offer them the best possible services to remain your best customers. This will ensure that you always retain your current customers and attract new customers into your business.