Here’s an excerpt from a story in today’s news:

Hundreds of Indian rail passengers got more than they had bargained for when the driver of their train asked them to get out and push.
It took more than half an hour to move the stalled electric train 12 feet so that it touched live overhead wires and was able to resume its journey, officials said on Wednesday.
A train’s momentum usually allows it to continue moving through neutral zones.

It occurred to me that many businesses today “make their customers get out and push“. Does your business?
For example, does your company hide the contact phone numbers on the website making it harder for customers to call? Do you require them to submit an “incident” form? That’s an obvious way businesses make customers get out and push.
Do you keep them on hold for long periods of time waiting for support? When they finally get through, will they get an answer or will they have to wait further for an email or call back? Will THEY have to call several different numbers to reach the person that can help? Will they have to leave numerous messages in voice mail boxes before they get action? Will they have to wait 6-8 weeks for a repair? Will they have to box and ship the defective item you sold them in order to get your product working? (Sound painfully familiar?)
How easy is it for the customer to buy from you? Is there anything you can do to make it easier for the customer to spend money with you? How much pushing does a customer have to do just to buy something from your business?
It is URGENT that you ask yourself these questions and address them. You must constantly evaluate your business and ask “are we making the customers do ANY of the pushing?”
If you want to separate your business from your competition, be remarkable. Don’t make your customers push your train through your “neutral zones”. Customers should always ride in style.
Shameless Promotion: Neutral Zones are not always easy to see from within. I can help you spot them. Eliminating the neutral zones will give your business a competitive edge. Guaranteed.
Chris Reich, Author of TeachU’s Business Talk Blog