Some business problems apply to all models.
Have you ever checked into a hotel and discovered that the key card you’ve been given doesn’t work? Annoying, eh? You have to schlep back down to the front desk, dragging your bag behind you. …
Imagine you own a hotel called NEWS. Every room has a bed, a table, a chair and a bath (collectively, the news report), but the rooms differ in design and style, because, you’ve learned, some guests prefer one style, some, another.
In our hotel of news, some readers have their report delivered to their home on paper, some read it on their phone, others on their tablet or their laptop. Some prefer podcasts, others want newsletters sent by email.
Every one of those “rooms” has a door. How well are those doors working?
I stopped at the local weekly’s office last Friday and bought a copy, thinking I’d find a house ad inside or a postcard insert that I could use to start a print subscription. No form. Nor could the folks in the office start a subscription for me. I’d have to call the chain’s regional headquarters, I was apologetically told, or go online.
I subscribe to the digital version of an out-of-state daily. When I try to log in using my cell phone or my tablet, the font size of the log-in box is too small to read.
How common are problems like these? How many doors to the rooms we are so feverishly trying to design are hard to open? One wonders.
Want to test your doors?
- List the ways new readers become subscribers (i.e., your doors).
- Design a one-page form to capture all of the problems that new subscribers might encounter (plus “other,” for problems you can’t foresee).
- Ask friends or family members who aren’t subscribers to help with a two-week test. Assign each a particular “door,” give them the form and ask them to subscribe and use their subscription for at least two weeks (you can reimburse them and cancel their subscriptions when the test is over).
- Collect the forms. Evaluate the results. Prioritize the problems.
- Fix what’s wrong. (If you don’t know how and can’t afford to hire a vendor, see WHAT IF below.)
- Repeat steps 2-5 until your doors all open on command.
WHAT IF you don’t know how to fix a door or can’t afford to hire a vendor to fix it for you?
Your humble blogger would like to suggest a novel approach to that problem. In their weakened state, could local papers begin to help one another? We’ll always want to compete on the news report, of course (may the best news report win!). But couldn’t we help solve common business problems, share solutions? Chances are, whatever “door” issues you have are shared by others in your state. Why not use your state press association to brainstorm and share solutions?
Just a thought. Because we want all our NEWS hotels to stay open.