Snowed in? This is a tremendous opportunity for businesses to get closer to their customers. You don’t get many opportunities to deliver that “Red Hot Customer Service” so grab it when you’ve got the chance. This is the time to become “extra-ordinary.”
Instead of hiding in your business until the snow and ice go away, actively go after your customers. A friend sent me this photo from Fairway which says it all. I love the sign, “It’s Snowing! And We’re Open! Smart and neighborly. My friend Tony loves Fairway for just this reason and we always make a stop when we’re in New York City. Imagine, a stop in the supermarket! But he’s right it’s worth a visit. By the way, many of the foods are kept in “cold areas” so they have coats for the customers! I’m hooked too.
This is also the time to get some free publicity from the radio and television stations. Let them know you’re open to help.
Yesterday the Atlanta jail kitchen cooked up food for those stranded at the Trailways bus station. Sure it was part of the emergency services but it’s still interesting and newsworthy.
The question is, how can you help out and try and do some business? In times of crisis you and your business can shine. Just go do something.
How about a big sign that says, “come in and get warm.”
Last week I opened my door after a huge snow storm and someone had shoveled my steps. In Albany, New York, you are required to shovel the sidewalk in front of your house or be fined. This morning while shoveling out my car I decided to clear the snow off the car behind me. Why not? I would do it more often but I don’t always have enough energy.
What can you do?
Declare a “snow cookout” and serve hot dogs, hamburgers or marshmallows grilled outside in front of your store. I remember in the late 80’s, when my sister and I owned a store in Hudson, New York, this is exactly what we did. We put the grill in front of the store and stated grilling! It was amazing how thankful people were for a hot dog and a hot cup of coffee; especially the snow plow operators. By the way, you don’t have to wait for a catastrophic event to do some cooking in your parking lot.
Post the photos on your Facebook page and invite your neighbors to stop for a visit. Retailers have told me this can have negative effects; that instead of feeding customers they are feeding the homeless. Does it matter who you feed? It’s a wonderful gesture and will certainly make you and your employees feel better while waiting for a possible customer. If you manage to get a customer shouldn’t they be treated to something?
With the economy the way it is, many of your customers are having a hard time. When I was in Atlanta this week I saw people trudging through the ice and snow with their children looking for a supermarket. I’m still overwhelmed by the story of Ted Williams, the homeless man characterized as “the man with the golden voice.”
Have a “snow and ice sale” for the next week? I remember a flooring store in Cleveland that would seriously flood once a year; I guess you would say it was a bad location. It was a perfect opportunity for a week long sale.
Call the local TV station and tell them you have hot, coffee/chocolate/tea for all emergency people in the area. Maybe you can give away blankets, coats or in someway help out. Neighbors helping neighbors. McDonald’s in Atlanta has been open for all the emergency agencies and are getting free public announcements.