By Lindsey Tolino
When I was in middle school, my best friend moved to another school district. She came to me and explained that she was moving. She said she couldnÂt do anything about it and would miss me. I was sad and didnÂt like it, but part of me understood because she came to me and explained the situation.
Sometimes you have to change things in your business. It can be scary because you donÂt want to lose loyal customers or disgruntle employees. Your customers and employees have grown to expect your business to run a certain way and you may fear changing it.
I would have been very disillusioned if I showed up to school one day and my best friend was gone because she moved. I would have been hurt because I thought our relationship meant more to her than that. I would have been angry that she didnÂt care or respect me enough to tell me ahead of time.
As humans, we may feel disrespected, disillusioned and angry if someone changes something that weÂve grown to expect, without telling us ahead of time or explaining why.
This is essential to remember when making changes in your business. You donÂt want to disgruntle your employees or isolate your customers by executing decisions without communicating with them. Your employees and customers hopefully feel a sense of ownership in the business. If you simply change something without communicating with them, they may become annoyed, frustrated and less invested.
Change is difficult for most people. If you talk about it ahead of time, it gives people time to process and prepare for it. Furthermore, if you discuss the reasons for the change, people are likely to be more understanding, even if they donÂt like the change itself.
I grew fond of a counter-service restaurant over the past year. Without warning or explanation, many menu items increased in price by at least a quarter. The restaurant had become wildly popular, so it didn’t seem like the price increase was necessitated because of low sales. As a customer, I felt like they were trying to squeeze every last cent out of me. This may not have been true. But since they didn’t explain the increase, it seemed like it came out of greed.
If the business had simply explained the reason for the increase, my loyalty may have been strengthened rather than shaken.
Unfortunately, even if you let people know your reasons ahead of time, the changes may still isolate customers or upset employees. But discussing it will minimize the discomfort and create a smoother transition. Maybe some of them have even been hoping for the changes youÂre making.
If you have changes coming, discuss it with your team and make sure they know the reasons. Talk to your customers. Let them know itÂs coming and why.
It shows you respect and care for them. If you share your reasoning, it may even deepen their trust in you.
DonÂt drop changes on people. Show them how much you care by discussing it with them ahead of time.