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Archive for the ‘customer retention’ Category

Why GPS and Spellcheck can’t be counted on – and how it can get into a lot of trouble

Monday, October 20th, 2014

spell check copy

In today’s world of rushing from meeting to meeting many of us fall into the complacent trap of relying too much on technology to take care of us. Cars get lost in western deserts because their GPS sent them on an obsolete road. So there they are, stuck with no gas or water.

But our reliance on spellcheck can easily place our drive for customer acquisition in a desert as well – from bad PR stemming from a spelling error.

Below is an example if what I almost sent out as a follow-up to a meeting with a prospective client. I misspelled the word “obstacles.” Proof reading, I knew that it was misspelled – so I let spellcheck take care of it. Thank goodness, before sending it, I re-read the message one more time. Below is what almost got sent. Can you find what word obstacles was changed to by spellcheck?

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Of course when I read what almost went out, I burst out in laughter. Then the fear set in as I began thinking to myself, what if this actually had gone out unchecked? What if the prospect lacked a sense of humor or worse, was offended? To mistakes, we all react differently. Sharing this story may save you, the reader future unnecessary grief. Next time you and your team start relying too much on Spellcheck or GPS take a pause and make sure that it really makes sense.

WHERE’S THE REST?

Monday, September 8th, 2014

It is no wonder that McDonald’s and the like continue to lose market share. Several days ago I thought I would grab a quick bite to hold me over until dinner. Typical of previous experiences, I was greeted by a barrage of irritating beepers and buzzers reminding the employees of various tasked that needed to be tended to. “Why don’t they use chimes or even more pleasant sounding bells I asked?”   “They want it to gnaw on our nerves the counter person replied as he shrugged his shoulders.”

I went ahead and ordered a chicken sandwich. When I sat down to bite into it, I discovered that there was not much there – just two buns, a slab of deep fried chicken breast and a pickle. When I brought it back to the counter and requested that they please add tomato and lettuce, and “hey, how ‘bout some mayonnaise? “He returned with it (now dressed as I had originally anticipated and then said “.30 cents please?”

Years ago the famous add for a competing chain had the little old lady asking “where’s the beef!?” Today, we are asking, “where’s the rest?!”

Between beepers, buzzers and substance-less sandwiches, I’m not planning to return anytime soon.

John Russell, the Principal of the Russell Consulting Group  seeks solutions for companies interested in retaining or growing market share with a combination of common sense corporate and management decisions intended to improving brand awareness.

Unintended advertising can occur with an act of goodwill

Wednesday, November 13th, 2013

Sweet Love 1

Every year businesses spend a significant amount of capital on advertising. This is generally a necessity if the business is going to grow and flourish. But how much of this investment could be saved by deeds of good will?

Recently I was lost trying to find a location which was not there. What started as a simple fifteen minute errand soon began devouring my days schedule like a wild pig.

Finally in desperation, I walked into Sweet Love and Sugar Britches, a cute store with lots of cool stuff. Walking through the door I noticed the great smell. Behind the counter, stood a pretty woman with a warm smile. “How may I help you she asked?” I explained my situation and with absolute perseverance she bravely launched into over thirty minutes of trouble shooting until she resolved my problem. “Ok, she said, holding up the map she had drawn, began to explain until I understood how to get there. Better yet, she had also ensured that when I arrived, a real person would be waiting to greet me!

She spent real time going on a mission to help me find my missing location. While she did, I was able to walk around her beautiful store and pick out Christmas presents for family members. I can honestly say that I will be back! In addition, I am excited about sharing my experience about finding a great place to purchase cool things with my friends and neighbors.

Next time you are in Round Rock Texas, go a block south east on Mays Street, just past Round Rock Avenue and check out Sweet Love and Sugar Britches. Inside you will meet a wonderful person who is the store’s owner. Bring your wallet because you will definitely end up purchasing something. Thirty minute of her pleasant time and assistance and look: “I am happy to share my story. How’s that for unintended advertising?”

Swweee1

106 SOUTH MAYS ST., ROUND ROCK, TX 78664


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A Lifetime Supply of Loyalty

Thursday, September 26th, 2013

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What is it like to win an unlimited supply of something?

“My grandfather ate Corn Flakes every single day of his life after he got back from WWII. He was a man of routine.

Every. Single. Day. If he was on vacation he’d bring it with him in the mini-packs.

Late in his life, he decided to write a letter to kellogg’s telling them just how much he loved their cereal and how appreciative he was to have enjoyed it his whole life. In return, they sent him (effectively) a lifetime supply”
This excerpt from a recent Quora post shows that for the winner, not much changes – the grandfather ate Corn Flakes all his life and after winning continued to do so. But more interesting is the lesson illustrated here. The money your most loyal customers spend is of secondary importance to the value they add to your brand by championing your business.

Why else would Kellogg’s give their product away for free to someone who otherwise would have kept spending money on Corn Flakes for the rest of his life? They must have known that the grandpa wouldn’t take his lifetime supply into a cave and tell no one. On the contrary, he told his family, his friends and all his colleagues around the water cooler. And now you are reading about it on the worlds largest watercooler – the Internet.

Now should you go ahead and start awarding your best restaurant customers lifetime supplies of free meals? Unless you’re McDonalds, hell no! The economics of a tactic like this don’t make sense for most restaurants. Instead ask yourself how you can elicit a lifetime of loyalty from these customers. The value of the people they tell, the love they show on social networks, positive reviews they give on sites like Yelp or even friends and new customers that they bring in with them, dwarfs the money that they spend themselves in your restaurant.

For example, a recent study done by UC Berkeley shows that a “a half star rating increase (1 to 5 scale) meant a 19 percent greater likelihood that a restaurant’s seats would fill up during peak hours.”

Even your less than fanatic customers present a tremendous marketing opportunity over otherwise anonymous marketing channels. In Jay Conrad Levinson’s authoritative book on small-business marketing tactics, “Guerrilla Marketing,” he states “it costs six times more to sell a product or a service to a new customer than it does to an existing customer.” The path of least resistance to increased profits for your restaurants lies in marketing to and nurturing your relationships with these existing customers.

The value of your existing customers lies in what you know about them. The more you can learn about them, the more valuable they become to you. In the story at the beginning Kellogg’s knew the grandpa already loved their product so giving him a lifetime supply would yield a good return on their investment. Imagine giving someone a lifetime supply of something that they hated. Like pouring money into a black hole. But there are still ways to valuably remarket to the customers that aren’t yet giving you 5 star Yelp reviews.

Remarketing provides a way to target a group of people who are willing to spend money eating out, already like a particular type of food and are driving distance away from your business. Worded this way, most restaurants would jump at the opportunity to throw their marketing dollars at such a segment, and yet marketing to their existing customers is so often overlooked!

Compare the targeted approach to a recently broadcast radio advertisement I heard for a steakhouse here in Austin, TX. We can use some back of the napkin math and assumptions to show how a lack of targeting bleeds value out of such a marketing activity. The funnel below illustrates how all the things that the steakhouse doesn’t know about the people listening to their ad (i.e. whether or not they eat meat), depreciates 99% of the value – right out the gates!

 

This isn’t to say that you don’t need marketing targeted at new customer acquisition, but it is foolish to think that your marketing relationship with your customer ends when you finally get them to step in the door. That is where it starts. Take a long term view of your restaurant’s success and nurture these relationships as they are your most valuable asset. In all your marketing and business activities you should consistently exude excellence and authenticity. Your customers will take note, and reward you tenfold.

 

tapsavvy

About the Author

Brandon is the Chief Product Officer at TapSavvy, an Austin-based software company which offers restaurants tools to manage their reputation and grow their business.  Through the TapSavvy Web App restaurateurs get a real-time view of, and respond to what customers are saying in their restaurant – leveraging deep customer insight to improve operations, conduct staff evaluations and market their business more effectively. ”
 

 

Marketing Strategies and Customer Retention

Wednesday, July 10th, 2013

What good is a business concept without advertising?

What good is advertising without returning customers?

And what good is success without a long term strategy?

Effective advertising needs to reach your intended market – it requires consideration for the ideal ingredients to make this happen.

Maintaining and growing customer share is a result of perceived value, great service and an engaged team who are there to serve

Success comes when you offer great products and services and as a result, the customer falls in love with you!

Now – you have built a solid model for growth – knowing how and where to grow is the next part that is both fun and tricky.

However, “we have streamline seats!”

Monday, June 3rd, 2013

Recently I spoke to a friend who works with United Airlines about his employer being at the bottom of the list with recent customer satisfaction surveys. “How is it that you guys have the uncanny ability to find yourself at the bottom I asked?”

He began explaining that the merger between United and Continental has been less then harmonious. “They have wiped out large swaths of the United flight crews he began. So most of our team has been on extended furloughs. When we do work, it is fewer hours then before the merger. Our old United hub, which use to service all of the flights to Hawaii have now been cut to one. Flight crews from Continental are carrying out the other flights. So perhaps one of the reasons why they are at the bottom of the list he continued, has more to do with how they treat us. We get a call that we are to be up by 5:00 am so that we can take off for a 7 o’clock round-trip which takes eleven to twelve hours and then by the time we get back are told that we need to plan on getting up again (same time) for a long international flight. So here we are, trying to keep passengers happy while we are IV-ing on coffee to ensure that we don’t end up sleep walking through the trip.”

So much for the happy merger.

“Oh, and it gets worse, he continued, here is a customer service doosie for you, we have been given strict orders from corporate not to let passengers know that if their 4.99 Wi-Fi fails, then they can get a refund. They need to go to the United website to find out about this!”
After listening to him, I then brought up the other news about how the airlines are still squeezing even more seats into coach. In addition, making the toilets smaller.

“Oh, yea, he agreed. But you see, it is all about how it is presented. We call them Streamline Seats!” Sounds sort of nice don’t you think? He asked sarcastically. Of course, there is the standard corporate propaganda that we hear so much of these days about how it is all in the name of saving the earth – you know green? – smaller seats are good because they have less weight and in turn require less fuel.”

He rambled on, sharing his more frustrations where it was easy to conclude that perhaps one of the reasons that they are at the bottom of the heap is a reflection of how they are also treating their staff. This conclusion is an easy to make, and we see it every day where companies that become too big to balance their budgets with the needs of their customers and employees have an uncanny way of hurting their long-term performance.

And regarding the rationale for why seats are smaller, as with other businesses making boxes smaller, or suggesting that your towels at the hotel you are staying at needn’t be refreshed daily – really has less to do with going green (saving the environment) but saving green (money to their bottom line)