I am sure you have heard the term “Open Door” policy. It mostly pertains to businesses and organizations where the boss suggests that his or her office door is always open to employees if they have any suggestions, challenges or questions to discuss regarding the operation or organization. It certainly is a good policy to help promote communication, exchange ideas or offer suggestions between managers and staff. It often helps make the staff feel involved in the business practice.

However, what if you had an open door policy for your customers? Imagine a business where the customers can  walk right into a manager’s office almost any time of the day to offer suggestions and provide feedback? Well, there is one company that does just that.

I presented a workshop to the small business merchants of the wonderful downtown area in Newark, Ohio. My goal was to help them attract more visitors and customers to their businesses by showing them how to create a magical shopping experience.  I spent considerable time evaluating their downtown city area and was given a tour by their mayor and other city officials. We visited shops, businesses, restaurants, museums and banks. One particular bank I visited caught my interest. While inside the bank I couldn’t help but notice that there were no doors on the President and Chairman’s offices.  Just a wide opening.

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I spoke to the administrative assistant who was stationed in an nearby open cubical and asked about this unusual set up. She explained to me that the president has an “Open Door” policy for both their employees as well as their customers. He wants to encourage people, particularly the customers of the bank, to stop by and share feedback. He has had this “Open Door” policy for over 30 years and it has helped him keep in touch with his customers by letting them know that he is always available to them.  She also explained that he uses a conference room for private meetings and discussions but most of the time while he is at work he encourages both customers and staff to drop in.

That is amazing! This bank president truly understands that customers and staff are valuable assets to the success of any business. He demonstrates this by committing himself to be available to them when ever he can. Do you think the bank’s customers appreciate that? Do you think it creates an environment built on open relationships where anyone can have access to the president of this bank? How do think the employees feel? In most large banks and companies the employees rarely see the president nor would they ever have easy access to speak to that person.

Here are a few tips that you can do to be more accessible or available to your customers and staff.

  • Keep your office door open as much as you can.

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  • If you really need privacy to get work done, post a sign on your office door stating when you are available.
  • Make yourself available during the busiest times of the operation and day to offer encouragement, recognition and support.
  • MBWA- Manage By Walking Around. Get out of your office and be available to engage your customers and staff, even outside of your business office or shop.

Even if you are in the product or service business, your main focus is really being in the relationship business. What better way to demonstrate this and help build those relationships with your customers and staff by implementing a true “Open Door” policy in your business. Try it! I promise you the valuable feedback that you will receive from both your customers and staff can help make your customer experience “Magical”! Good Luck!

Always Wishing You Magical Success!