Sunday, June 15, 2014

6 mistakes that companies make

Companies across the US, Europe, and Asia makes mistakes all the time. I'm not necessarily thinking about the big mistakes, like Coca Cola's introduction of "New Coke" back in 1985 -- which, by the way, I first tasted on a trip to a meeting of IPMS Ocala (Florida) or Pizza Hut's body spray. I'm thinking of the small mistakes that most people don't notice, such as the local restaurant whose employees can't give clear directions to their location.

Businesses in the scale modeling industry are not immune to these mistakes. We spend a lot of time discussing model accuracy -- and we should -- but I can't help but notice the simple things that companies do that could negatively affect their businesses.

Here are a few that I've seen. (The list does not apply to hobby shops.)

1. You show us CAD images of a new model when it's too late to make changes based on our feedback. Although I would argue that no company is obligated to incorporate customer feedback into their products, it's frustrating to see a model using, presumably, the very CAD images that will generate a kit and know that our feedback won't be reflected in the final product. Many manufacturers are getting better about this, but sometimes a simple line drawing or artwork is a better alternative.

2. You don't provide high-quality images of your products on your web site. Modelers face a huge number of options when choosing where to spend their money, so one of the best ways to entice us is by serving up good images of your models or aftermarket.

3. You have a section on one of the big discussion forums (e.g., ARC, Britmodeller, etc.) but don't keep it up-to-date. I know that's a time-consuming commitment, but an inactive forum makes your business look inactive. Stay on your customers' radar; post often.

4. You announce a new product on a discussion forum but fail to provide your web site or purchase information. This seems obvious to me, but it happens.

5. You don't accept PayPal. People complain about their fees and T&Cs, but PayPal has become the de facto standard for making electronic payments. Using PayPal won't make you a millionaire, but I suspect it will generate a few extra sales every month.

6. You publicly bash other manufacturers' products. It's unprofessional. Focus on producing high-quality products, and everything else will take care of itself.

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