Value the customer.

Posted: December 4, 2011 in Uncategorized
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A restaurant owner wants to compete with the new bistro that just opened down the street.  She decides that a makeover is in order.  She works with a consultant who advises her on the optimum seating arrangement, the tables and chairs, lighting, even the carpet – all to help the restaurant run more efficiently and enhance the diners’ experience.

We need to think the same way in developing public spaces.  Are we enhancing the customers’ experience?

The customers are the residents of your city.  The visitors to your city.  The businesses, too, are customers.

Too often I see good ideas for public spaces poorly executed.  “We need a place for people to sit,” I can imagine a civic leader saying.  So he opens the catalog and picks out an institutional bench that will withstand even the most determined vandal.  Next, he will meet with another staffer and walk along the sidewalk and with little consideration of how people behave or the patterns of sun and shade or opportunities for social interaction, they will pick locations for the benches.  Then benches are cast in concrete where they will remain, for better or for worse, until the next good idea comes along.

Stores and restaurants go to great lengths to make sure customers enjoy their experience.  They value their customers.

Cities should value their customers even more.  They should take their good ideas seriously and get the help they need to make sure they are executed properly.  Before everything is cast in concrete.

 

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