Referrals!  They are hard to come by, but even easier to lose when the conditions aren’t right. Take for example the desire for a customer to do business with you, but you and your business make it difficult.  

Recently I went out to breakfast at a local diner.  This diner has great food, however, they aren’t always my first choice for one simple reason. They make it difficult to do business with them.  Let me explain.

About 30 years ago, these new fancy things hit the consumer market. ATM/Debit Cards.  Since then, the decline in the use of cash has dropped drastically. It’s rare that I carry cash. I’m not a fan of it, and I don’t love the change rattling around in my pocket.  

Credit Cards

Preferred payment typeIn fact a 2016 consumer survey, reported that 11% of consumers prefer to use cash instead of credit cards or debit cards.

According to Aeropay “One group that clearly prefers to avoid carrying cash is Millennials. In a study conducted on 1,500 Millennials about their spending preferences, 40% of them said they would stop using cash in all transactions if they could. They prefer using cards and apps because of convenience, even when it comes to making little purchases at convenience stores and coffee shops. They cannot use cash to buy things online and they cannot connect cash to their favorite apps.“

Areopay continues to say in this article “Even the youngest generation is preferring cards over cash. Nearly 60% of Generation Z consumers, the oldest of whom have not yet graduated from college, prefer to use cards over cash. Adding this number to the Millennials who prefer cards and apps over cash, could result in ATMs going the way of pay phones in the near future!”

So why does that matter for this diner? You guessed it, they are cash only.  I had forgotten this when I entered the restaurant, took my seat and ordered.  There were no signs on the door, tables, or walls. So when it came time for the bill, I was reminded that it was cash only…of course this was AFTER my card was sitting with the bill ready for checkout.

I now needed to leave the restaurant, find an atm, get cash, return, and checkout.  A huge inconvenience for me.

If you are only accepting cash, you might want to rethink this process.  According to the TSYS survey, in only one case did consumers prefer to pay with cash as their form of payment, and that was with consumers making less than $25,000 per year for their entire household income.  Most businesses do not focus on this consumer bracket because there is not a lot of expendable income to spend with businesses.

Card Types

Tap into the mindset of the consumer for a moment. For Example, I’m less likely to refer someone to this restaurant simply because of this cash-only policy.  In my book MORE…Word of Mouth Referrals, Lifelong Customers & Raving Fans, I talk about the first pillar in your personal CarePackage being Over Deliver. To do that you need to understand what the expectations of your customer are BEFORE the transaction so that you can ensure that you exceed that expectation during the process.  A sign stating Cash Only on the door would set the expectation, and allow me to choose another restaurant. The lack of messaging and signage results in “standard expectations” when it comes to a restaurant experience. Since most diners accept credit cards, that became the expectation.

Complicating the buying process for your customer can result in a less than positive experience before they buy ultimately meaning that they may predetermine not to return, and not to refer your business to others.  They might still carry on with their current transaction because they are already there, have a need, and would prefer not to have to go somewhere else to get that need filled.

Don’t mistake a purchase for satisfaction and openness to referring in the future, that’s a mistake many business owners make, and it results in a misunderstanding that the current policies and procedures in place are working.  They’re not! – Click to Tweet