Customer Satisfaction

The Power of the Talking Bubble

The Power of the Talking Bubble

Remember the talking bubble from the cartoons? It occurs to me that there is a lot of power in that bubble. In fact, the whole intent of word-of-mouth efforts is to get your business in your customer's bubble.

How much money do we as business owners spend getting our ads up in lights, in a magazine, on TV, or online? Fact is, consumers are more jaded than ever and better at ignoring all that expensive advertising.

The real power is not up on the billboards or on the airwaves. The real power is in the bubble.

If you are not regularly staying in touch with your customers someone else will. How do you stay in touch? Learn more

What You Don't Know Will Hurt You.

What You Don't Know Will Hurt You.

I was in a hobby store yesterday buying model rocket engines (think venture scouts making jet propelled barbie cars). Anyway, I noticed a new restaurant had opened up in the same strip mall. While the attendant at the hobby store was ringing up my 24 rocket engines I asked him if he had tried out the new restaurant. His response:

"It's [bleep!]"

Not sure that I heard correctly and a little taken back at the language I said, "Excuse me?" He went on to explain that he hadn't eaten there but a fellow worker had and she had been sick the rest of the day. He also said his manager had ordered a taco and it cost him six bucks and was no bigger than what you can get at Taco Bell. As he handed me my receipt he concluded emphatically once again, "It's [bleep!]" I thanked him and made my way to door once again marvelling at the power of word of mouth.

Think about what happened there. Put yourself in the position of the owner of the new restaurant that just invested multiple thousands of dollars and has been open now for just a few weeks. I doubt he or she has any idea that virtually right next door someone who has never even been in the restaurant is giving out negative recommendations (with neighbors like that who needs enemies...).

It gets worse, studies have shown that irritated customers are five times more likely to vent to a friend than a store rep and on average they will tell four friends. It doesn't say anything about how many people those four will tell, but here I am telling all of you. The study did report that those told about a friend's bad shopping experience are up to five times as likely to avoid the store in question as the original unhappy customer! (read about it here)

What's the solution? First, strive to make every customer experience remarkable. Right behind that has to be a system that consistently invites each customer to tell you how they felt about the experience.

With modern technology, there is no excuse for not inviting your customers to give you feedback. I recently rented a car from Enterprise. A week later I got a call asking how the experience was for me. Phone calls can be expensive, so use the internet. Set up an online survey and hand your customers a card directing them to the url to tell you what they think. Of course there is always the written feedback card. Just make sure you review the feedback regularly and respond to it. The only thing worse than not asking for feedback is asking for it and not responding.

Certainly not all of your customers will respond, but enough will to give you an accurate idea of how things are going and give you the opportunity to "save" a few that were about to tell their four friends who will now be five times as likely to avoid your business!

The growth of your business will be determined by what your customers say about it. Do you know what they are saying? Learn more

A Tale of Four Failed Restaurants

A Tale of Four Failed Restaurants
What is the most compelling thing about your business from your customers' perspective? Is it remarkable?

I visited my home town recently and noticed that four, fairly-new restaurants were out of business. Restaurants going out of business is certainly not news--it happens all the time--but these four should have survived and thrived, but didn't.

Case #1: Joe's Crab Shack. Located at perhaps the busiest intersection in the area, Joe's opened just two or three years ago. Joe's is a chain of restaurants. As the name suggests, they serve crab and other seafood in a fish camp atmosphere.

Case #2: Lucky Buns. I believe this was a local entrepreneur's project. Built a beautiful building (see picture) on a nice busy street near a freeway off-ramp. The food was hamburgers and ice cream.

Case #3: Chevy's. Also seemed to have a great location and built a nice building. Chevy's is part of a chain and serves Mexican food.

Case #4: Juanita's. Another Mexican restaurant. Pretty good location in a busy commercial center. They built a very nice building to provide that "old Mexico" feel.

All four restaurants opened with great fanfare and significant crowds. Within a few years they were all closed. Why? I have no inside information. I haven't talked to the owners or any one else, but I have a hunch. In addition to remarkable facilities, good locations, and plenty of publicity they all had one significant thing in common: mediocre food.

I lived in the area when all four restaurants opened. I ate at three of the four exactly once. I never ate at the fourth because I had friends that did and told me it wasn't that great. In the restaurant business location and atmosphere may bring them in, but it is the food that brings them back.

How does it apply if you are not in the restaurant business? Make sure you know what will bring your customers back and then focus on making that aspect of your business remarkable, the rest will take care of itself.

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

Zero to $2 Million in One Year!

Zero to $2 Million in One Year!

Another example of the power of promoters. Shade Clothing sells undershirts for women that are longer than normal for those that aren't interested in showing the world their belly button. It was founded in September 2004 and in its first year of business it sold more than $2 million dollars worth of modest undershirts.

Listen to this quote from Chelsea Rippy, one of the founders:

Our main source of advertising is women telling other women.

In addition to selling through traditional retail channels, Shade focuses on finding promoters and giving them the tools, and the incentive, to spread the word. They call them "personal shoppers." From their website, here are the benefits of becoming a personal shopper:

Become a Personal Shopper and:
• Earn 15-20% commissions on all orders placed through you.
• Earn commissions on client orders placed online using your personal shopper code.
• Offer your clients access to exclusive products and discounts.

Additional benefits include:
• Set your own schedule
• Your parties posted on the Shade Clothing website
• Sales materials from Shade Clothing
• Discount on product
• Exclusive access to the Personal Shopper Online Management System

In return, Shade gets literally hundreds of customers that love their product, telling their friends and associates about it. Hard to argue with the results.

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

Is your company remarkable? Is that good?

Is your company remarkable? Is that good?

On the company the effect is like being assimilated into the Borg, but for users of their software it's like having a friend with a malignant brain tumor. You're going to have to say "goodbye" soon to an object of your affection.

I'm talking about the affect that Microsoft has on software when they purchase the company that makes it. Two cases that come to mind are PowerPoint and VirtualPC. Now there's another candidate, iView MediaPro. iView announced yesterday the assimilation. Maybe iView will be an exception. They have made remarkably great software for a decade or so. I love what they do.

Dang!

Being remarkable is important to a business. Make sure your business is on the right side of the "remarkable" scale.

The growth of your business will be determined by what your customers say about it. Do you know what they are saying? Learn more
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