April 14, 2014
Music provides business lessons.
The Grateful Dead informed us on how to create a unique competitive claim. “You don’t want merely to be the best of the best. You want to be the ONLY ones who do what you do.” was proclaimed by Jerry Garcia in the day.
The title one-liner from The Eagles’ Hotel California tune shouts out the imperative to keep customers “in your hotel”.
The message is cool. It’s mysterious. It’s haunting. It’s foreboding. It’s dramatic. It’s scary. It’s suggestive of a clandestine move.
Here are 8 actions you can take to prevent customers from “leaving your hotel”:
1. Don’t be concerned about what the competition is doing; focus on the action that YOU need to take to enrich the stickiness of your products or services.
2. Action to prevent leaving must be taken FAST. The time it takes to get to check-out and leave the building is short; rapid innovation of offerings your customers love is mandatory.
3. Abandon the conventional; take risks with “out there” solutions.
4. Give ‘em something more. Move ‘em to “another room” with added value. Transform them into another world where a new reality intrigues them to stay.
5. Intercept them as they make their way to check-out. Don’t follow up AFTER they have left. Know they intend to leave and disrupt their intentions.
6. Give them a NEW experience that makes them want to stay. Give them something so dramatic that it will take their emotions to a new level.
7. Make it personal. Speak to THEM specifically. What works for Mr. Smith won’t work for Mr. Jones.
8. SURPRISE; SHOCK; JOLT; AMAZE; FRIGHTEN them to stay. Do whatever it takes.
Too much attention is given to the threat of others taking guests from our hotel; what are we doing to prevent them from leaving?
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April 6, 2014
Addiction isn’t a casual interest or a take-it-or-leave it attitude.
When customers are addicted to a particular organization they are “all in”. They have a habit of dealing with the organization through thick and thin. It is that tough to kick. It’s like looking both ways before crossing the street. They just do it without consciously thinking about doing business with someone else.
Every organization covets the customer who will habitually buy from them.
The issue is, they aren’t just out there to be taken. There isn’t a tribe of addicts for the taking.
They have to be created.
And the problem today is that most organizations are so driven to make the sale, they don’t focus on doing what is necessary to turn the casual buyer into the raving fan with the habit.
Here are 5 things you can do to help your customers develop the habit for you:
1. Don’t focus on the sale. If you do things right you will not only make the immediate transaction, you will earn a revenue annuity stream for a long time to come. This is all about changing the culture of the organization away from short term gratification to building the capability to earn in the long term. As long as quarterly earnings drive behaviour, the need to create addicts will take the back seat.
2. Recruit relationship-building sales people. Look for demonstrated accomplishments of this competency. If you don’t have frontline folks leaning the right way, habits will not be formed.
3. Look at your front end systems. Is it easy for a customer to enter your realm and get what they want? Is your web site easy to navigate? Can they reach a human being if they need to? Do you force people through an IVR with a dozen questions to answer? SIMPLIFY your processes. Make them human friendly. People don’t give a damn about your internal issues!
4. Have a strategy when you screw a customer over (and you will). Recovering from a service OOPS! has amazing implications when it comes to creating addictive behaviour from your customers. Fix it + SURPRISE ‘em is the formula that will turn a postal customer into an addict. If you do it right they will forget that you screwed them over in the first place.
5. Declare a policy: we don’t care about our competitors! We care about our customers and believe that if we do a great job at serving them, we won’t have to worry about the hordes at our door. The fact is, when you are worrying about what “the bad guys” are up to, you are nor concentrating on the experiences you have to create for your customers to turn them into addicts.
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March 31, 2014
Why is it that certain people are more successful than others?
Is it because they are more intelligent? More academic degrees?
It’s because the winners have a “with a twist”‘attitude.
They approach things differently than others.
They see what someone else is doing and asks themselves “what twist could I add to make it stand-put, to make it uniquely me?”
How someone else approaches a problem or challenge is viewed as the bar they seek to vault over.
They don’t conform to the expectations of others. They look for a SURPRISE opportunity to demonstrate that their DNA to go beyond what is expected.
The “what the hell are they doing?” response to their actions is an indicator of success.
Add your twist.
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March 24, 2014
“The Best” describes someone who conforms to expectations more closely than the rest of their herd. Spells more accurately; answers history questions more correctly; obtains the highest mark in the math exam.
“The Best” does a masterful job of performing their task according to the rules of the day. They colour inside the lines perfectly.
There are certain professions where conformance to “standard operating procedure” is vital: landing airplanes and performing heart surgery come to mind as functions that require “in the box” thinking and performance (until something goes wrong at least).
In business, however, conformance is NOT what drives success. It drives mediocrity and sameness in the herd.
Organizations who consistently succeed are brilliant at inventing a new box to play in.
They create NEW lines to draw in.
They are masters at non-conformity and contrarianism. They focus on breaking away from the herd.
Don’t press yourself or others to be “The Best”.
Honour weird, odd, quirky, strange, “out there”, ridiculous and unusual.
They will get you to where you need to go.