Imagine walking for one and a half hours on a hot and humid day in a busy estate carrying 5 kilograms of dry maize in a bag pack searching for a milling shop. Every time you see a cereal shop, your heart skips a beat.
Your dream to feast on a healthy meal later that day winks at you. Your mouth wets faster. The smell of hot dust changes to that of a well-done Kenyan Ugali (mealie meal). You pop into the milling shop and the sound of the grinding mill orders you to pull out your bag of maize from your bag pack. The cereal dust-covered attendant peeps to see what you are up to. Your attempt to speak to him is nullified by the booming grinder.
You mouth the words, “How much is…”
He turns off the mill and stares at you inquisitively, “What can I do for you dear?”
“Can you grind my maize right now?” You shout, forgetting that the mill is off.
“Why didn’t you say before I turned off the mill? I can’t turn it on for that!” He retorts pointing at your 5 kilograms of maize. The sneer on his face nullifies the worth of your maize to his business. It’s a waste of his precious time and electricity. What made you think your tiny bag of maize could change his life?
You gawk at him confused. Should you walk out and search for another shop or face him and give him a piece of your mind?
You pick the sooner. The latter obviously a stupid idea.
“Was I supposed to guess that I shouldn’t wait for the mill to go off?” You scream. “No clear instructions to alert new clients!”
“Everyone in this estate knows that. It’s common knowledge!”
Oh no he didn’t just say that to you! You scan the shop once more to make sure you didn’t miss a sign instructing you when to ask for milling services.
There’s none. Not even a ‘Welcome’ mat on the floor. How bizarre?
“Nobody will turn their mill on for that.” He points at your bag with a twisted lip once again; the X-rated sneer. “Not even in the main market”
Beaten pants down, your heart sinks to the bottom of your grumbling stomach as you stuff your ‘small’ bag of maize back into your bag pack. Giving the gentleman one vengeful glance, swearing underbreath never to return to his shop.
This crap happened to me a few days ago and I haven’t stopped plotting the ultimate revenge for the attendant. Torching his shop lingered for a while but my soul couldn’t let me. Research shows I’m one of the million victims that got a mental burn from his filthy customer service.
So I came here to vent and reprogram his punishment.
But first, how can you use clear instructions to lure clients into your business?
7 Must-Have Instruction Signs For Your Workplace
Every business owner suffers ignorance at least once in their life. But their fate is overturned when corrected and the correction applied. Think of the many times you have been saved by an instruction sign hanging on a wall.
These innocent instructions dictate your fate. Ignore them at your own peril.
- Operation hours
Clarity on your opening and closing hours saves your clients time and money. Help them plan around your operating hours and when to visit your office. It will save you angry calls.
- Order of operation
Like in the case of the milling shop, indicating the order in which you attend to your clients eliminates confusion. It also shows how organized you are. #pro
- Entrance and exit
Never leave this to guesswork. It makes navigation around your workplace easier and safer. Save your clients the embarrassment of getting lost in your office. Worse still, walking through a closed glass door!
Label every service station to help your clients to access them faster. Save them the discomfort of having to ask, “Where are the bathrooms?”Remember to label what works and what doesn't. Click To Tweet
- Access to rooms
“Staff only” is safer than a late apology, especially when your client pops into the staff changing room. Save yourself the shame of having to tell them to leave. Define where they can or can’t go.
- Comfort juices
Free Wi-Fi, free drinking water and free charging points sometimes sound like a trap. Assure your clients you’ve installed such for their comfort. Don’t wait for them to ask if there are conditions for their usage.
- Hilarious caution
Some instructions make coexisting easier. Like warning colleagues not to eat your homemade sandwich! Or to stop tossing cigarette stubs on the floor.
Final Thoughts On Clear Instructions
Clear instructions save you money, time and relationships. If people ignore them, add a little flavour to the signage. Humour drives the message home faster. But never assume people know your rules.