Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Frontline employees are your main comms channel

Many studies indicate that people working in retail as well as in restaurants are the lowest paid employees. They also have the highest turnover rate.
At the same time, they are crucial for the interaction and the relationship with your customers. Customers highly appreciate it if these employees know your name and your preferences. The better this relationship, the more likely it is that customers will return, over and over again. It is also more fun and rewarding for employees to work in an environment in which they are valued themselves.
From a customer’s point of view, I have a relationship with these employees rather than with the manager, the director or even the brand.

So, I think it is crucial to be aware of this important position of frontline employees. Employers should carefully work on the empowerment and the appreciation of these employees.

Are you valuing the capacity to build relationships with your customers?

Enthusiasm drives Excellence!

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Who are your buyers?

I know, it seems like an obvious question.
But still, many retail stores are still considering everyone who walks to be their potential customer.
Let me give you an example. I had a visit from a US friend. She wanted to buy an orange shirt from the Dutch national football team for her husband. So, I pointed her to the official Nike shirt, which costs more than € 100,-, but is completely recycled and is Dri-Fit. Both features are not marketed at all.
So, to an outsider the only difference between this shirt and other, much cheaper, shirts is the price. In that case, the official shirt is loosing the game. My friend ended up with buying a €5,- T-shirt. I did mention that that cheap shirt is not recycled and that is probably manufactured by child labor in Bangladesh. But that had no results.

That is what happens when you compete on price only, then the consumers will only go for the lowest price.
However, there is a huge difference between conscious buyers and impulse buyers.  If you market to conscious buyers then you have to make sure to communicate all the sustainable features from the entire supply chain. You have to help your customers in making a conscious decision.

Are you marketing all your benefits to your specific audience?

Enthusiasm drives Excellence!

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Let some real customers do the testing, upfront

A few days ago I did buy a combination ticket (entrance, train and bus) for visiting the Keukenhof. The Keukenhof is one of the main attractions here in The Netherlands. As a flower show, it is open for only 2 months and has already received 900.000 visitors this year.
So, you would expect a seamless approach for selling me the combination ticket. That was, unfortunately, not the case. The number of clicks and visits to different sites is way too much. It starts at the Keukenhof, then to the Spoordeelwinkel (the shop from the railway), then to the bank, then back to the Spoordeelwinkel. And when you think that you are finished, you do receive separately two confirmation mails (from the railway, respectively the Keukenhof). Via theses mails you have to go to the respective sites and PRINT the documents! Yes, it even is mentioned that showing the docs on an electrical device is not valid!
This buying experience took an hour or so. And then I had to take the printed docs with me on the trip.

Yes, technically it all worked, but it wasn’t easy and  it didn’t give me the feeling that they have done their best to give me a super experience, right from the start.

That nuisance could have been prevented, by simply asking some customers upfront  to test the buying process and letting them share their experience.

Are you using real customers/prospects to test your services?

Enthusiasm drives Excellence!