Roy's Blog: January 2015
January 26, 2015
Many organizations have Employee of the Month awards.
I have no issue with employee recognition; it’s important to shout out those people who go the extra mile and make a solid contribution over time.
But what about customers who go the extra mile? Those who go above and beyond the call to help the organization carry on business successfully?
Don’t they deserve special recognition?
I’m not talking about customer appreciation events that cater to the masses and serve little but to quench the thirst of looky-loos.
I’m referring to individual recognition just like employees are afforded.
Do the same for customers.
Mr Smith of 110 Cedar Drive, Boston, Massachusetts deserves customer of the month if he excelled in delivering benefits to your organization. It may be new sales revenue, a testimonial to your service or it could be referrals.
It doesn’t matter.
Set out the criteria and make a BIG splash about honouring the special people who contribute to your well being.
In fact how about taking it one step further and celebrate employee-customer duos who create magic together?
Sorry, too over the top?
I’ve been know to go there…
- Posted 1.26.15 at 04:14 am by Roy Osing
January 19, 2015
Recently, Target announced they were closing all of their 133 stores in Canada after a mere 2 years of operation and $2 billion in losses.
Here are 6 lessons you can learn from their meltdown north of the 49th:
1. When you decide to expand your operations into a new market, make sure you clearly understand customer expectations. Target assumed the average (no such thing by the way) Canadian consumer was the same as their U.S. counterpart. Not so. Canadians expected prices comparable to what they could find in Target U.S. and we’re sorely disappointed.
2. Deliver an enjoyable buying experience. The stores I visited (rarely) reminded me of a hospital. They were stark and cold with no personality. They didn’t invite people to shop. They had ZERO ambience. You might get people in once for curiosity, but they won’t be back.
3. Give your customers choice. Target stores were devoid of adequate product selection, certainly less than their U.S. outlets. This was a HUGE disappointment for people who were used to shopping in the U.S. and who were familiar with the products they carried.
4. Get your fulfillment processes right. Target Canada had problems filling their shelves. They were always out of stock. If you can’t deliver in a timely manner don’t expect consumers to understand and patiently wait for you to get your act together.
5. Don’t expect a business model that works in one market will work in another. Target assumed they could apply their U.S. operating model to Canada. Not only are their consumer differences, the competitive landscapes are as well. I suspect there was little attention given to how Target could differentiate themselves from other Canadian retailers; how they could stand-out from the herd.
6. Be socially responsible. Target terminated 20,000 Zeller employees before hiring new staff when they opened their new stores. This was viewed as a draconian move and not consistent with “the way we did things in Canada”. With this act, they were off on the wrong foot.
Heads up Nordstrom’s…
- Posted 1.19.15 at 04:52 am by Roy Osing
January 12, 2015
We all know the implications of bullying. Intimidation. Abuse. Harassment. All bad no matter what the circumstances.
In the world of “serving customers”, however, being a bully is actually a role earned through having a strong relationship with another person.
Bullies are effective at building strong, inmate, deep and trusted relationships. They know how far they can go with a customer; how far they can push.
They can get away with a slight annoyance with you because you know it isn’t serious. You can overlook a ‘behavioural blip’ because it is overshadowed by many memorable and fun moments.
If you are in the serving business, these 4 things will allow you to achieve bully status:
1. Put in the time. Obviously if you have just met someone you can’t ‘beat them up’ through borderline actions. And you can’t earn automatic forgiveness for screw ups.
You MUST spend quality time with a person to gain their trust and establish a high degree of currency in their eyes. A challenge with transient markets; very doable with repeat business clientele. No time = No bully possibility.
2. Pay attention to her. Learn her ‘secrets’. Ask questions. Put the relationship ahead of the transaction. If you only have 30 seconds to stop and ‘say hi’, make every second count. I can’t tell you how many times I have been amazed at the fact that Carla, Sarah, Morgan and Kevin at the Fairmont Chateau Whistler have found a way to have a quality nano-chat with us amid the chaos of their shift. Impressive. And memorable.
3. ALWAYS serve her consistently well. Customers are smart and will know immediately if you are insincere. If you grin her (give her the smile treatment) she will get it in a heartbeat and you are done. The thing is, if you are inconsistent in the things that bring her closer to you, distrust will set in. Bring your ‘A’ serving game to every engagement.
4. Make it about a conversation and an engagement, NOT a sale or transaction. Trust that you will be well treated if you deliver the relationship goods to her.
Bottom line: If I FEEL good about the relationship I have with someone, my emotional guards are lowered, my tolerance level goes up and my sensitivity to mistakes is reduced.
I am opened to being bullied and I enjoy it.
- Posted 1.12.15 at 04:32 am by Roy Osing
January 5, 2015
You’ve heard this before: even controversial advertising is better than advertising that gets no reaction at all.
I recall a TV ad I ran once that infuriated people in Manitoba, Canada. Apparently the visual way we represented flat prairie landscape was not complementary to some, and they spoke up (loudly). We received calls and letters and attracted media attention to explain our position.
It was a good thing. Sure we could have caved to the pressure and pulled the ad. But we didn’t.
We let it play and rode the wave of criticism.
It was a good strategy. We were delivered a gift to be able to not only explain our creative approach to the ad, but more importantly talk about the communications strategy and customer value proposition behind it.
Unpaid advertising; “permission” to communicate directly with willing customers - awesome.
Boring ANYTHING sucks to me. I would rather be pissed off at someone or something because at least they or it has got me thinking about what they have to say.
They now have me on their radar.
It’s ok to be contrarian; beats the hell out of being an insipid blend of ordinary.
They key is what happens AFTER the piss-off moment. Where will you take me? What gold will you deliver?
You can’t leave me hanging after triggering my adrenalin response. Use my heightened state of emotion to advance your agenda.
And you can’t attack me because of my response. Be thoughtful. Be in your breath. Be still.
Then respond to take advantage of my vulnerability and turn me to YOUR side.
- Posted 1.5.15 at 04:54 am by Roy Osing