We Set The Temperature, We Don't Adjust To It Anticipating diverse customer needs takes thought, intention and mindfulness and it's not something that comes without work.

By Emily Washcovick

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

The Sparkle Bar

Behind the Review host and Yelp's Small Business Expert, Emily Washcovick, shares a look at this week's episode of the podcast.

Anticipating diverse customer needs takes thought, intention, and mindfulness. It's not something that comes without work, and Alex Bradberry, owner and founder of The Sparkle Bar, is well aware of what it takes to create a truly inclusive experience for her customers. In this week's deep dive, Alex, who we heard from in episode three, lends us her expertise on the matter.

"Time is the most valuable kind of currency, so when people are giving you theirs, it's important that you think about all of the details they may consider, even if it's not something that we face ourselves." With this in mind, Alex runs The Sparkle Bar in a way that ensures all of her customers feel good about the choice they made to patronize her business.

In fact, it was the motivation behind her business. "I had been to places that didn't have a [makeup] shade that matched me, so when it came to our business, we wanted to make sure that we had a shade for every single person—that no one would have an experience when there wasn't something for them. It was very intentionally done."

People have different needs and learning what those needs are isn't always easy, but that doesn't mean it's not worth doing. Each day, as you meet new customers, think about what you can take away from the situation that might be useful in your business. For Alex, it's about these moments with her customers, coupled with a constant devotion to education and learning. She prioritizes "staying aware and learning about your clients—taking part in the conversations, reading different publications, and listening to different podcasts all to stay culturally informed and aware of what's going on in the world."

It's that attitude that sets Alex apart as a business owner and The Sparkle Bar apart as a business. This type of commitment to diverse customer needs is something all businesses should strive to deliver. Alex and her staff enter every situation reminding themselves that "we set the temperature, we don't adjust to it." Rather than waiting to fix a problem once it's already an issue, Alex works tirelessly to anticipate her customer's needs and create solutions ahead of time.

Here's a quick look at some of this episode's learnings:

  • Put yourself in the customer's shoes. Walking a mile in someone else's shoes is always good advice, especially when it comes to their experience with your business. For example at The Sparkle Bar, Alex spent significant time thinking about the chairs she selected, ensuring that no matter who you were, you would feel comfortable.
  • Educate yourself and listen. Possibly the most important part of anticipating diverse customer needs is taking the time to understand and learn what those might be. This takes time, work, and a willingness to make actual changes in the way you operate your business.
  • Look at each person as an individual. Each person will experience your business differently, so try to envision those experiences and how you can put your customer at the center of each and every one—as Alex says, "keeping your client at the forefront and thinking about how you can continue to serve them is the formula for success.

Listen to the episode below to hear directly from Alex, and subscribe to Behind the Review for more from new business owners and reviewers every Thursday.

Emily Washcovick

Small Business Expert at Yelp

As Yelp’s Small Business Expert, Emily is meticulously focused on helping local business owners succeed and grow. Her expertise lies in customer engagement, reputation management, and all things digital marketing. Through speaking engagements and thought leadership, Emily shares industry insights that entrepreneurs in any business category can leverage for the growth and well-being of their businesses. She is also the host of Behind the Review, a podcast from Yelp and Entrepreneur Media, where each episode features conversations with a business owner and a reviewer about the story and lessons behind their interactions.

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