Customer Relationship

One More Chapter in a Great Story

One More Chapter in a Great Story

About six months ago I wrote about a small, bricks and mortar business that had successfully implemented and was enjoying the fruits of an online system that increased word-of-mouth marketing for their business. You can read the original post here. In a nutshell, the business is a haircut salon for men--a Sportclips franchise to be exact. The owners, Chuck and Joan Matheny, were using Promoterz to 1) Collect feedback from their customers, 2) Establish an "opt-in" email relationship through which they could communicate directly with their customers, and 3) Give their customers an easy way to tell their friends about their store. Top line result: more than a 20% increase in revenue.

Here is a new chapter in their saga:

Corporate SportClips introduced and has been encouraging franchisees to promote a "Season Ticket" concept. Customers willing to pay for six haircuts in advance get a free upgrade to MVP service on each of those haircuts (MVP includes a hot towel and shoulder massage among other things). Because several hundred of the Matheny's customers have asked to receive updates about the store by email, promoting the Season Ticket with an email seemed like a natural. Think about the value of Chuck's email list: because he had reached out to his customers and provided a way for them to opt-in, he could now communicate with those that wanted to hear from him directly and at absolutely no cost. He didn't have to wait for them to come into the store or pay for an expensive ad.

Rather than just encouraging the customers to come in to a store and ask for a Season Pass, we decided to put the technology to the test and offer the customers a quick and simple way to buy the card directly online. The email included a "one-click" buy button. Customers could opt to have the card mailed to them or come into the store and pick it up. The test has been a great success. Several customers have purchased online and the orders continue to come in. Cha-ching! A new online revenue stream for a bricks and mortar business.

Small test--significant implications. Here is a small "old industry/bricks and mortar" business that has figured out a way to use the internet--not as a glorified yellow-pages ad, but as a tool to generate new revenue streams, increase repeat customer visits and collect new leads--all of which have a direct impact on the top and bottom lines.

The real "no-brainer?" The Matheny's used Promoterz to do all of this. The cost: $50 per month per store.

The Happiest customers tell on average 8 other people. Who are your happiest customers? Promoterz knows. Learn more

Complaints Happen

Complaints Happen

If you are in the service business--for that matter if you are in any business--no matter how hard you try to be perfect, sooner or later a customer is not going to be pleased with the service they receive. The inevitability of it shouldn't discourage you from trying to be perfect, but when a mistake happens the recovery should become job #1.

That dissatisfied customers tell their friends is a fact. How many they tell on average varies depending on the study referenced but it is somewhere between 4 and 10. One study notes that those they tell are 5 times less likely to come to your business than the original dissatisfied customer. Ouch.

But there is hope. According to Restaurant Hospitality "Rule-of-thumb numbers show that roughly 60 percent of complaining customers will eat at your restaurant again if you resolve their service issue, and almost all customers (96 percent in some studies) will come back if you solve their problem to their satisfaction and do so quickly."

What is the best way to resolve issues? Hospitality cites a study called “An Examination of Guest Complaints and Complaint Communication Channels: The Medium Does Matter!” out of Cornell University School of Hotel Management. It concludes that nearly fifty percent of unhappy guests want to talk to the boss. Free drinks and comp meals are nice, but what they really want is to let the boss know.

So how easy do you make it for your customers to let you know about the service? You can't always be in your business. Do you make it easy for them to contact you? You might be surprised what you learn and you will certainly have the opportunity to "save" good customers.

Plug from our sponsor: The Promoterz system is one easy way to make sure customers always have a direct link to you and you have a direct and convenient way to respond to them. The system invites every customer to provide feedback online and immediately notifies you and your managers of feedback as it is received.

More happy customers. More repeat sales. More referrals. Learn more

When "I don't know" is a Good Answer.

When "I don't know" is a Good Answer.

Had a chance to go to lunch with Tom Miller yesterday. Tom has been in the franchising industry for years and is an Executive Vice President with Murphy Business. In his own estimation, he is a "legend in his own mind." Actually, he has an extraordinary sales record and is considered The Authority on franchising throughout the business brokerage community.

As we talked about the selling process, specifically to small business owners, he noted that in the "early days" he sold direct mail. He learned quickly, that nobody wanted to hear about his business, but they loved to talk about their own. So when he'd meet with a likely prospect and they asked what he was selling, he would respond, "I don't know yet. Tell me about your business." As he learned about the business, it became obvious if there was need--and what he was selling.

So how much do you know about your customers' or your potential customers' businesses? Is learning about them part of your sales process or are you more focused on making sure they learn about you? Are you learning enough? According to Tom here is a key indicator: "If you need a closing technique you haven't learned enough."

The average American consumer discusses brands 56 times a week. Are they discussing yours? Learn more

It's not easy not liking tomatoes

It's not easy not liking tomatoes

For those few of you out there that don't like tomatoes you know what I'm talking about. "Why don't you try this fresh one from the garden? They are so good!" But the result is always the same, once the slimy seedy acidy insides hit my mouth its over.

I know all the arguments for liking tomatoes..."How can you like salsa, ketchup and spaghetti sauce and not tomatoes?" Sorry, they taste different.

Put yourself in my place. Everytime you order a burger you have to special order, and half the time they blow the order so you are picking off the tomato yourself. Like that's easy...the carcass comes off pretty well but the seedy sludge left over reminds me of trying to wipe up...well, it is too gross to specify. (Let just say it happens when kids have eaten then you drive through a winding canyon.)

Ever try to get a salad without tomatoes? There is no pulling those out, the tomato fluids are lost in the forest of lettuce, just waiting to get you.

I would like to love tomatoes, I have tried, honestly. I would love to have a life where I enjoy them. But I don't. No one seems to accept that. There is always a bit of judgment as you tell them you would not care for tomatoes.

I heard once that they were a member of the nightshade family. A very deadly plant. Ever wonder who tried those first? "Hey, Eb, give these a try..."

My favorite places to eat are those that are happy with a "special order" or the ones where you have to pay extra for tomatoes (why should I pay the tax for others tomatoes?).

OK, this is going somewhere. The point is we all have different tastes and preferences. And no matter how much we educate or communicate, those tastes and preferences remain. And trying to change them is like trying to teach a pig to sing, it wastes your time and annoys the pig.

Think about your business. Do you have customers that prefer things a little different than the rest? Do you have policies or people that just refuse to change.? This is a great chance to give them a bit of your own "secret sauce" where you show them you take care of the customer. Sometimes things shouldn't be changed for the special case, but if your competitor will change for them you know where your customer will be.

Do you remember your customers on their birthday? On their anniversary? Do you give special notice to recently acquired customers? Promoterz does. Learn more

How will you be viewed?






I love optical illusions. It is fascinating how our minds can be tricked. The good folks at grand-illusions have a dragon illusion that you can download and build yourself. Here is a video showing the illusion in more detail.

This seems to be another example of the brain assigning a symbol to something (see earlier post) to make processing lots of information quicker. In this case, it seems the brain "knows" that if a dragon is looking at us that its nose would be closer to us than its eyes. It is called the "Hollow Face Illusion".

Just as our brain can interpret what we see as two completely different views, it appears it does the same thing with people. For example, let's say you are looking at a playground and you see a child climbing up a slide. You also see an adult in the shadows hiding behind a nearby tree peeking out and watching the child.

If you don't know this adult chances are you will remember being taught "stranger danger!" and you will immediately become suspicious that this might be a predator. However, if you knew this adult you would assume that they are playing hide-and-seek. Two completely different conclusions from the same situation. Obviously, previous experience colors our perception.

Inevitably you, or someone in your company, will make a mistake. At that point your customer's view of you will determine the conclusion they draw. If you are a stranger they may view the mistake as a callous disregard for customers from a company that only cares about its profits. However, if they have had several good experiences with your company they will be more likely to give you the benefit of the doubt.

If your customers only hear from you when you are selling something you are missing out on a chance to build trust and change from being a stranger to a friend. Why not send a non-salesy greeting to them on their birthday, let them get to know you, it is good insurance for future mishaps and it is what friends do.

When you pass out a Promoterz bounce back card you automatically build an accurate customer list, increase repeat sales, increase referrals and prevent lost business. Pretty powerful little card. Learn more
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