Last Sunday we had a mini crisis when we discovered, two hours before my parents’ Diamond wedding party, that my son’s suit trousers had not made the journey to Somerset with his jacket. I’d checked he’d packed a shirt and tie and thought I had checked for trousers. Clearly not. I had assumed that the trousers were in the suit carrier with the jacket.
That got me thinking about how dangerous assumptions can be in all aspects of life. We assume that our people are motivated by money when what they often want is recognition or development. We assume that our customers want to pay the lowest price when what they might want is higher quality or better service. We assume that clients will want to pay for a service because we think they need it when they will only buy what they want. We assume others understand what we are saying when actually they think we are speaking a foreign language.
So how do we avoid the danger of assumptions? Here are a few of my ideas, why not use the comment box to add yours?
- Ask for feedback from staff and customers
- Conduct market research to identify customer wants
- Ask sufficient questions before making a sales pitch
- Learn to read body language so you recognise when your message isn’t hitting the spot
- Double check everything
A flying visit to M&S in Weston Super Mare and a very helpful sales assistant saved our day last weekend but next time we go anywhere I will not be making any assumptions about the packing. I hope my 15 year old son has learned the same lesson.