Seth Godin writes an entry I found thought-provoking enough to post nearly in its entirety:
“I am in Santa Elena, CR. Off the map. No paved roads by choice. Few locals and lots of ecotourism (read tourist town which is really hard to get to). If you like frogs, bugs, toucans, and zip lines through the rain forest, it is a great place.
There is one bus to the coast at 6am each day. Mostly filled with tourists heading to surf or see the leather back turtles (I will be on it tomorrow). Right across the street from the bus stop is a panaria (bread and roll shop), which opens at 6am. Everyday 20 to 50 people who just scrabbled out of bed to make the bus on time. Opening 10 minutes earlier would mean sales. Just 10 minutes ealier. I know I would buy. I will buy tonight before heading to bed, but many more turistas will not have planned ahead.”
How can you open 10 minutes earlier for your market? What small change could you make to be more in sync with your customers? I think this example shows quite how simple it can sometimes be to improve your customer offering.
Locally, the number of shops I see open at odd hours, missing out on the rush of people walking right past their “Closed” sign, wishing it was open so they could quickly pop in and pick up a few things.
And online, where business runs 24/7, what about the sites who only accept certain credit cards when they could open their system to accept a wider range (for example, British sites that do not accept Switch/Maestro cards)? The extra business they could drum up by enabling customers to use their debit card would make up for the cost of improving their booking process many times over!