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Get off the Couch, it May be a Matter of Life or Dealth

Getting off the couch might save your life.

Getting off the couch might save your life.

I have become extremely interested in health over the past five years. Two years ago I became a certified personal trainer bringing health to the forefront of my live. Cancer and heart disease have taken at least 10 people in my immediate family.

There is new evidence on heart disease since the 1990’s that has shown that heart disease is irreversible. Basically, it has to do with changing your diet and getting off the couch. It’s not just getting off the couch; it’s getting off and pushing the body. Ever since my two days at Engine 2 and my continued reading about heart disease, the more I am committed to daily exercise. Many of us live a  very sedentary existence. If you are interested in your health, pick up a copy of Engine 2 by Rip Esselstyne.

I remember when going outside was what I lived for. As a kid, I wanted to jump on my bike, feel the wind against my face and ride. To me, it was more than transportation; it was freedom; I was in my own world away from my mother’s watchful eyes. Sitting on the couch wasn’t that much fun.

I wasn’t that much interested in television, and the iPad wasn’t released until 2010. You would think it’s been around for 20 years. Most of us come home, eat dinner and relax on the couch with several connected devices. We can watch television, answer mail and shop in our own home. According to Bob Thacker, former CMO for Office Max, “The consumer is engaging in discovery for not only large things, but for small things also.” That means more time on the couch.

What about those people at work?

If you’re like the rest of us, you’re sitting at your desk for hours at a time. If your job involves cranking out paper, how can you avoid it? What’s worse, when you get home, you’re sitting on the couch until you go to bed.

The British Journal of Sports Medicine studied the health of people who watch TV and compared it to those who don’t watch TV. According to the study, we can expect a reduction of 21.8 minutes from our life span for every hour watched! If you watch six hours of television daily, you’ll live 4.8 fewer years than a person who doesn’t watch television. Apparently, it’s not the television or the iPad; it’s the sedentary lifestyle. We’re all turning into the dreaded couch potatoes.

Walking a working with a treadmill fitness desk.

Walking a working with a treadmill fitness desk.

Many of us sit for 10 hours straight. At that rate, I will be dead before I know it, with my head on my desk. Does that mean us working couch potatoes need to buy a treadmill fitness desk, so we can walk and work? Apparently not only can you “walk and work” but you can eat lunch, answer your phone and lose some weight. Before you run or walk out to get one of these contraptions, you might want to think about it. I’m still not sure how I can walk, eat, talk and use my computer at the same time, there are some other suggestions. It’s obvious that sitting for 6-10 hours straight isn’t good for your short or long-term health. It doesn’t matter what you do, you just have to do something.

Dr. Saurabh Thosar, a post-doctoral researcher from the Oregon Health and Science University, found that five minutes walked can reverse harm caused to leg arteries during prolonged sitting. According to Dr. Thosar, “We have shown that prolonged sitting impairs endothelial function, which is an early marker of cardio-vascular disease and that breaking sitting time prevents the decline in that function.”

So don’t wait for your lunch break to walk. Get up every hour and put on some music, get on your treadmill, get out your hula hoop and get five minutes of exercise.

I just heard my timer; it’s time for me to start my five minutes.

Lisbeth Calandrino has been providing business consulting on sales and customer retention for the past twenty years. She has never forgotten her love for sports and has spent the last 5 years participating in Yoga and is a certified personal trainer through PTIA.

A recent Engine 2 retreat has continued to renew her interest in health.

 

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By |September 21st, 2014|Blog, Health|0 Comments

What You Can Learn From the Crash of 2008

How to keep going after the recession.

How to keep going after the recession.

Ben Bernanke, the former head of the Federal Reserve, said the 2008 financial crisis was the worst in global history, surpassing even the Great Depression.

His statement is raising eyebrows. While the “Great Recession” was scary, there’s a reason it wasn’t dubbed a depression: Bernanke’s aggressive policy response.

“Arguably, the financial shocks of 2008 were bigger than those of 1929. The outcome was not as disastrous because the policy responses were quite different,” said Jeffrey Shafer, a former Federal Reserve and Treasury official.

What happened in 2008 is worth remembering. If you were like me, you were surprised by the turn of events, but maybe we shouldn’t have been. Without much business, I turned to Craig’s list to reach out.

 

My ad read: “I’m creating my own mastermind group of unemployed smart people. I am over 40, don’t understand social media but am an unstoppable entrepreneur willing to share what I know.”

 

Six people showed up that week ages 23 to 70 with the enthusiasm of 40! We laughed, cooked, drank some wine and shared our stories. We vowed to help each other forge new paths. In our own ways, we were struggling. We had all come from successful careers, but 2008 had changed all of our circumstances. We listened, learned and offered advice. To this day, all of us except one remain close friends. When I got sick with cancer again in 2010, my new friends were around to help. it was the best piece of networking I had ever done.

Whether 2008 was the worst or not, it definitely had an impact on most of us. I don’t know if what I was experiencing was a prelude to the recession but there were unsettling signs in my world. When “bad” things happen, there are those that stick their head in the sand and those that stay on course.

For years, I saw business training declining in my industry. Several of my large customers were downsizing their employees, and it was obvious that something was happening to the consumer. I saw signs of a general “pulling back” and did very little about it. Could I have protected my investments? I don’t know. Large financial institutions were disappearing, and the mortgage industry was going crazy.

My friends were losing their homes and their businesses. I didn’t lose my home or have to file bankruptcy. My mother’s recollection of the Great Depression has never left my mind. It produced a “scarcity mentality” that in many ways has infiltrated my decision making.

Her advice, “Learn how to take care of yourself because no one else will; a scary piece of advice to a nine-year-old.”

The crash has left me with a new perspective about life and doing business. Times are still uncertain, and you don’t want to be on the receiving end of another disaster. Take these tips and weave them into your own life.

1. Stay in touch with the world. There are so many ways to get information these days; don’t ignore trends and what’s going on. Keep yourself and business “as cash rich as you can. Want to make an investment? You can buy a house, fix it up and resell it. Real estate still works.

2. Make your new motto, “change.” The world is moving faster than ever, decide you will go with it and not get in the way!

3. Learn how to network in this day and age. I’ve never been interested in working at the community garden but will teach customer service skills to not- for- profits and small businesses for free. I find it’s better than going to networking events. I keeps me sharp and forces me to continue to read and strategize.

4.Become an avid reader and follow successful people. Like me, many people ignored the signs of the crash. Is there something you are ignoring now? Ask questions, find out what is going on in your community and be part of it.

5. Learn everything you can about your customer. Are you going to training, taking classes and getting smarter? One short book to read is “ZMOT: The Zero Moment of Truth.” It’s Google’s rendition of what the customer is doing.

Who knows more than Google?

Are you interested in a two day seminar: Sales and Product Knowledge/Design? 9/23-9/24, 2014 Burlington, Vermont. For more information and to sign up, go to Mohawk University.

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By |September 13th, 2014|Blog, Change|0 Comments

Once Eva’s Customers, Always Eva’s Customers

Several years ago, I was called in to discuss training with a company in Minnesota. I said I would like to conduct a survey first and find out who were their best salespeople. I wasn’t looking for their mistakes, I wanted to see what worked and what could be the benchmark. If you watch the salespeople, you can get an idea of how the store and salespeople perform. Then you can build a training program that succeeds. You can also turn the best salespeople into superstars.

customersThere was a 43-year-old saleswoman (Eva) who out wrote everyone while working part-time. She was making about eighty nine thousand dollars yearly, working four days a week. Everyone said it was because she was pretty, flirtatious and had a great smile. I assume those were “supposedly” her secret weapons.

It never hurts to look good, and to smile a lot, but I don’t know about the flirty part. I think it was a question of others being annoyed at her success. She was so good she rarely took a walk- in customer and she was always on the phone. I found her quite pleasant and all business. She wasn’t calling customers from years back; she was calling customers she had sold during the past two or three weeks.

She said she loved her customers and worked hard at creating good rapport with them. Since they had spent a lot of money with her, she considered they deserved the best she could give them. She was a kitchen designer and would call and ask how the kitchen appliances were working and what they like to cook. She asked her customers for their favorite recipes and prepared a holiday cookbook for them. Too much time you’re thinking? It paid off for her.

She went places no one else dared to go. Most salespeople were afraid if they called their customers, there would be complaints. That didn’t bother Eva; to her, it was a good thing.

Eva said I won’t get any referrals, unless I make sure things are right, and they continue to stay that way. A kitchen cost between twenty to fifty thousand dollars and she felt she should treat them as if they just bought a Mercedes or Lexus. Since the kitchen wasn’t coming in for service, how would she know if they still liked it?

She had a system, call in a week, and call in a month and again in three months. Remember their birthdays and cook dinner for one’s whose kitchen cost over thirty thousand dollars. You can trust me that no one else was doing that. She had a service called Followyourcustomer that automatically created “touch” points for her and sent them out. The cost was eighty nine cents for three hundred names. To Eva, it was all worth it. Her theory was to not let them out of her sight.

Was she worried about being a pest? No. Unless they told her to stop calling, she knew she was doing the right things.

On her day off, she played golf with her “best” customers. Why not she said, these were the friends she had created.

Eva’s motto: “my customers will always be my customers.”

 

Did I tell you that all of their friends were her customers also? She was all about building solid relationships. Some of you would think she was overstepping her bounds. She knew if she followed her customers literally, she would never have to wait on another stranger.

Eva’s customers and friends will always be “Eva’s customers.”

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By |August 26th, 2014|Customer Satisfaction|0 Comments

“Don‘t Squat with Your Spurs On and Other Things we do to Sabotage Our Success”

Sometimes we do stupid things even when we know they’re stupid!

I love “Old Cowboy Wisdom,” even though I’m not a cowboy. How many times have you done something so stupid you wondered why you were doing it?

These day’s businesses still think they are in control of what the consumers think and do. It’s just not so.

Consumers are in control and more empowered than ever. They are creating their own experiences wherever they go and are demanding something unique no matter what the venue. They expect every retailer, not just major ones, to create an emotional experience for them every time they show up. Consumers want to be cool according to their standards of “cool.”

Last night, I went to our new Whole Foods Supermarket. It’s only been open for a month, and it’s still nicknamed “Whole Paycheck” by some of the locals. To compete as a supermarket you really have to work hard. Not only do you have to have great food and prices, but you have to come up with things no one has thought of. (I think I mentioned that Hannaford Brothers Supermarket had a gym within the store.) I wasn’t very impressed except for the produce department. The vegetables were arranged as if they were smiling from the shelves. That alone made them look like they should be more expensive. As I was checking out the clerk noticed there was no price on my candy bar. I explained I would go back and get one with the price on it. She said it wasn’t necessary I could have it for free! I told her I didn’t want it for free, but she insisted. Just because they made a mistake (or had they?) it should be free? To me this wasn’t terribly smart.

  1. Think you’re not  allowed to make mistakes; if you give it away to the customer, you must have high enough margins to let it go by. Smart customers get that. If you’re dumb, how long will you stay in business? This isn’t Whole Foods.
  2. Finish your sales presentation telling the  customer “To have a nice day.” Really, this is another overused expression.
  3. Think that you shouldn’t have amazing events that make customers want to come back “again and again.” I was surprised to see they had Rip Esselstyn author of “Engine 2 Diet” talking about how to eat healthy by eating green and was signing books. There wasn’t a seat in the house, and he must have sold 100 books at $27.00 a book. He was also hawking his two-day  seminars. Don’t think there’re many vegetarians, think again.
  4. Greet each customer the same way with some canned presentation. You and I both know that customers are very distinct  and want to be treated like they’re special. Spend time talking about different ways to greet your customers. Treat everyone as if you’re dying to get to know them.
  5. Never follow-up with your customers. If you believe once they’re gone,   they’re gone,  and then  you’ll be left with few customers. The customer in front of you night be linked to your next customer.
  6. Don’t update your technology.  Do you think that paying for high-speed internet  is something you don’t need? Not having it is just frustrating.
  7. Don’t think you need to train your new staff? If you’re still pairing them with your  old geezers, you’re ruining your business. Infuse new staff with wonderful ideas and a glowing picture of where your company is going.
  8. Are you throwing away your customer surveys? These should be taken seriously, and random customer should be called for more information. My dentist receptionist made me wait 45 minutes to pay my bill. Instead of paying the bill I left them a note that said my time was as important as theirs. They called me at least four times before I spoke with them.
  9. Let all your calls go into your voice mail. I called the continuing education division of the schools today to find out about a particular class. I called at nine this morning and never got any kind of return message.   I actually called two departments. Isn’t this how they make money? Doesn’t anyone answer their phone?

There’s no such thing as business as usual; only business the way the customer wants it.

Lisbeth has been a coach and business consultant for over 20 years. To schedule a call with her or have her speak with your staff, reach her at Lcalandrino@nycap.rr.com. http://blog.timesunion.com/success/author/lisbethcalandrino/.

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By |August 8th, 2014|Blog, Success|2 Comments

“Don’t I Deserve a “Twisty” With That Bag?”

Saturday I stopped at what I thought was a farmer’s market. You know the cry now is, “Buy local.” I picked up a few vegetables for my gazpacho and took them to the counter. Like you, I was out having another customer experience.

“You can put them in a plastic bag, “I said.

“We don’t have any, “she said.

“Paper will do just fine,” I said.

“Don’t have it,” she said.

“Well a twisty on that bag will do.” I said.

“Don’t have them,” she said. Okay no bags, no “twisties” and not really a local market. I should have guessed the eggplant was $5.00!

Yesterday I went to the grocery store and couldn’t find my low salt tomato juice. I went to customer service and asked if they might get it for me, and she said, “I don’t know” and walked away. Now what would you have said? How about a big smile, some questions about “why” and then “Of course I’ll tell a manager.”” Don’t forget a tag online, “Give me your phone number, so I can call you when it gets in or let you know what happens.”

As a customer, I don’t care what you do with my request, I just care that you acknowledge me and my concerns. If you’re store is convenient, I’ll probably continue to shop at your store anyway. I can stop drinking the tomato juice, make my own or get it somewhere else. Just let me know I matter.

I don’t care if you throw out the customer’s request and call to tell them you’re never going to get the product. Just do something. Doesn’t anyone train on these things?

  1. “A smile and thank you for your inquiry or request.”
  2. “I’ll look into it for you.”
  3. “How come it’s important to you?”
  4. “We’re glad you shop here.”
  5. “Let me get the manager now and she what she/her says.
  6. “How often do you shop here?”
  7. “We don’t want our customers going anywhere else.”
  8. “Thanks for giving us a chance to find it for you.”

The customer experience is about making the customer feel valued and important. Acknowledging other humans is the nicest thing we can do in our society.

Lisbeth has been a coach and business consultant for over 20 years. To schedule a call with her or have her speak with your staff, reach her at Lcalandrino@nycap.rr.com. http://blog.timesunion.com/success/author/lisbethcalandrino/.

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By |August 4th, 2014|Blog, Customer Experience|0 Comments

How to Talk Crazy Customers “Off the Ledge” and Other Tactics

It is about them.

What to do when people are out of control.

The other day I was at Dunkin’ Donuts when a customer started yelling. The store was packed; he was a big man and pointing his finger at the clerk’s nose. His beef was he hadn’t gotten his toasted muffin or tuna fish sandwich. The manager was trying to explain that her oven wasn’t working, and she was sorry for the inconvenience.

The more she explained her side of the case, the worse it got. It didn’t matter what she said, he continued to berate her in front of the other customers. I thought about putting my hand on his arm in hopes it might calm him down. (I knew it wasn’t a good idea, so I didn’t do it.) I thought he might have a gun, and we would all be history. At this point, people were putting their heads down and leaving. I considered the same but realized there was a lot for me to learn. This was nothing about customer service; it was about a crazy and berating customer.

The clerk gave him his money back and explained she would give him the rest of the order for free. This wouldn’t satisfy him either. He slammed through the door and ran into the parking lot still yelling. His partner wasn’t impressed; she started screaming at him for not bringing the order; so much for a pleasant ride to the Catskills.

Was there anything else she could have done? She was upset, shaking but not on the verge of tears. It was obvious she was well trained but “not that well trained.”

  1. There’s a point where she should have shut up. The customer wasn’t listening, didn’t care and wasn’t logical.  He was very emotional. There’s no point trying to defend yourself.
  2. You can agree with the customer. So he believes you’re stupid for not having what he wants, and he believes he’s entitled. I don’t know what he would have said, but the rest of us would have enjoyed her approach and logic.
  3. It would have helped if she had raised her voice instead of retreating into her rather quiet approach. A loud “you’re right “might have helped. It’s called “talking the customer off the ledge.” Power it up, not with the same anger but with matching volume. Who knows what’s going on in his life?
  4. Don’t make the fire any hotter by explaining anything. A simple “sorry” is enough.
  5. Don’t take it personally. Sure this is tough to do, but it really has nothing to do with you. I watched an episode at the bank that was quite amazing. I didn’t hear the original conversation, but I did hear the teller say to  the customer if he said that again, she  would come around to the front and “pound him! “Okay she was fired but I had a feeling he might have been really out of line. Do you want more information on this subject? Check out this article, “10 Ways to Deal with Difficult Customers.”

Lisbeth Calandrino has been helping businesses to build loyal customers for the last twenty years. To have her speak to your company or schedule a consultation, reach her at Lcalandrino@nycap.rr.com or check out her web site, www.lisbethcalandrino.com.

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By |July 27th, 2014|Blog, Customer Service|0 Comments

Want to be Successful? You’ll have to do your own Pushups

“You can’t hire someone else to do your push-ups for you.” Amen. Like your physical training program, you must take responsibility for your own mentoring program if you expect to gain anything from it.

Nobody wants to hear this but becoming a success takes work—lots of it. It also takes a lot of follow through which most people don’t like to hear either. If you pay attention to both, it’s likely you will be able to accomplish what you want.

These are really simple rules, so why don’t we “just do it?”

Many people talk about being rich but when you look at what they’re doing, you know it won’t make them any money. Most likely, they know that too. To get rich you have to invest your money before you spend it.  According to what I’ve read, most people have habits that cause them to fail financially. My mom used to say it’s a simple formula: you need to spend less than you make. Then you will have some left over to invest. I know this is a tough one; there are so many things to spend your money on with new things coming out every day.

If you want to be successful, you will have to spend lots of extra hours working at your trade. You need to ask yourself, do I have the gumption to keep at it and give up other things? It seems that both success and financial freedom require giving up something in the present to get what you want in the future. You will have to endure names like “workaholic, cheapskate and other unflattering descriptions. You must be willing to take consistent action and get out of your comfort zone. Dreaming will not get you much except maybe a good night’s sleep. You must take your dreams and turn them into actionable items.

I was listening to a friend of mine talk about her illnesses; most of which are fictional. Yes, she has a bad back but who doesn’t? She has been told to take Yoga and water aerobics to stretch her tight muscles.  She continues to go from doctor to doctor to get some sympathy and the magic pill. Why doesn’t she just do the work? She won’t because effort is out of her comfort zone. Her middle name should be “the easy way out.”

We’re all guilty of looking for short cuts. I have a friend who won’t train his dog to learn simple commands. He doesn’t care if the dog jumps on you, nips at your hand (he taught the dog to play rough) or doesn’t come when his name is called. (Of course he doesn’t know his name, why should he come?).  His owner is unwilling to do the work to socialize or make his dog successful.   Maybe it sounds silly when I say “successful” when talking about the dog, but he needs certain skills to live in society. One wrong move and he will be back in a shelter and considered not adoptable.

If you want results, you will have to take action. You can’t let things happen to you or say, “I’m not lucky.”

The sad thing about all of this is that we are all destined to become successful but only a small portion of us will make it.

Some of you are cuter, richer and smarter but not of this guarantees success.

You need to do the right things to get the results you’re after. How will you find out what you should be doing? The best thing is to learn from someone who is successful. Once you know how they did it, just apply the same strategies. At l least, it will put you on the right road. You may not get it exact the first time, but few successful people do. Just get a plan and keep at it.

I hate the expression “no pain, no gain” but it’s probably so. Be willing to sacrifice and you will get the rewards.

And like I said, you’ll have to do your own pushups.

Lisbeth Calandrino has been doing training and  mentoring for over 30 years. Join her in Panama City, FL for two days of workshops: sign up at http://www.mohawkuniversity.com/2DayPanamaCitySeminar2014.aspx

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By |June 20th, 2014|Blog, Success|0 Comments

How “Social” is Your Business, Really?

 

Social media is social by nature. It is about developing relationships and rapport with customers and potential customers. By doing this the sale will come eventually. And that sale will also come with brand loyalty and support for life.

Business are scurrying to set up social media pages, just like they did with websites when they became all the rage. They know they need them, but unfortunately, all too many don’t know why. They believe that simply having a social media page is enough.

Big deal, so you have a bunch of likes. It doesn’t take much to like a page; all it takes is one click of a finger. It’s not a suicide pact, it’s just a click.

Social media has turned into the next savior, and businesses are so desperate to “modernize” that they’ll even have their fourteen year olds set up their accounts for them. But, then they complain that they don’t work and are a waste of time.

See the Value of Establishing Your Business’ Social Presence

If you’re not social offline, it’s doubtful you will be social online. Not being social online is instant death. Social media is set up for conversation and interaction.

Sadly, businesses are too busy to maintain their social presence; they say they have “bigger fish to fry.”  They’re too busy setting up booths at local trade shows, sending direct mail post cards, running ads in the newspaper and ignoring the online chatter.

They also choose to believe that because they don’t use social media their customers don’t either. We have a tendency to project our reality on everyone around us. We believe, or want to believe, that everyone thinks like we do.

My hunch is that if you use Facebook, you know others who use it, and if you don’t, you prefer to believe they don’t. By the way, both are true: Some do and some don’t, but according to Forrester Research, 81% of people who have a computer use social media in some form of another.

Social Media and Reputation Management

If you are a B to B company, you have fewer customers than a retail business and the relationships need to be managed. The B to B purchase is a highly considered purchase; it’s not like going to the supermarket.

Before a company changes to a new supplier, they want to know everything about them – including their reputation. All of this can be done online. If you choose not to show who you are online it’s your loss.

Social media demands a new level of cooperation between the marketing and sales department. No matter what you sell, you have to know what everyone is doing in the marketplace. Salespeople need to share with marketing what people are saying, what they’re buying and why their buying. Your brand is constantly being exposed to social media and is likely to be searched on social media if marketing is doing their job.

Social media is about humanizing businesses and people. Kinship and stories drive customers. Everyone wants to know about everyone else. If you want to develop bonds that drive customers to your business, you will have to build some transparency into your business and “get social.”

Lisbeth Calandrino has been providing business coaching for businesses for the past twenty years.  Her new book, “50 Events to Drive Traffic to Your Store” will be available on Amazon in June 2014. To have Lisbeth to provide training in your store, reach her at Lcalandrino@nycap.rr.com or 518-495-5380. Join Lisbeth in Panama City FL, for two days of “jammed” with sales techniques. http://www.mohawkuniversity.com/2DayPanamaCitySeminar2014.aspx.

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By |June 8th, 2014|Blog, Social Media Marketing|0 Comments

Strategies are Nice but Results are Better

According to Nunes and Dreze, the head start loyalty card helped customers mentally reframe the completion process; the fact that they didn’t have to start something from scratch played a huge role in their motivation to complete the card.

Everyone says customer retention is a critical part of their business, but few actually follow through. Customers who continue to come back and refer friends are better than any advertisement you could run in your local newspaper.  Unfortunately, most businesses are focused on new acquisition and usually ignore customer retention.

Here is an interesting statistic on customer retention:

According to Bain and Co., a 10 percent increase in customer retention results in a 30% increase in the value of the company.  Wow, only 10%?

How will you get your customer retention moving forward? Here are a few strategies to make it happen.

Stay connected to sold customers. This can be done with newsletters, special officers and events. You know the expression: out of sight out of mind. A happy customer is likely to refer a friend.

Find ways to reward your sold customers– often. The other day I saw an ad for my cable carrier; the introductory price for new customers was really cheap. It’s a lot lower than what I’m paying. What do I have to do, opt out and go back in as a new customer?

Customer service is a marketing function. Marketing should look at all of their programs and make sure they are staying focused on sold customer. It’s been written that poor customer service accounts for 70 percent of customer loss. Customer service strategies should be pervasive throughout the entire company not just sales and customer service staff. Typically poor customer retention stems from bad leadership. If the owner doesn’t think, it’s important, why would anyone else? Customer service should be an ongoing conversation.

Quit talking and start listening! Try to tune into what your customers are saying daily.   This way, you can stop problems before they begin.

I was buying paint at The Local Paint Store this morning. Lyle, the paint maven, told me not to worry about the age of my paint; as long as the paint wasn’t frozen it would still work. Wow, I said, I thought I would have to throw it out.

The paint maven said, “It looks and smells good to me!”  I didn’t know the smell had anything to do with it; nice to know that someone cares about my pocketbook.

We are in the “participation economy: and we need to take our service to another level and constantly look for ways to be innovative. Consider finding ways to bring your customers together so they can share experiences with one another.

Lisbeth Calandrino has been providing business coaching for businesses for the past twenty years.  Her new book, “50 Events to Drive Traffic to Your Store” will be available on Amazon in June 2014. To have Lisbeth to provide training in your store, reach her at Lcalandrino@nycap.rr.com or 518-495-5380.

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By |May 30th, 2014|Blog, Customer Retention Strategies|1 Comment

Don’t Let Your Customers Get Away From You And Other Bad Business Practices

 

Set a better mousetrap for your customers.

Set a better mousetrap for your customers.

I was listening to an interesting discussion about the “casual dining” groups of restaurants the other day, i.e. Red Lobster and Olive Garden just to refresh your memory.  Is it surprising to learn they’re losing business?  When was the last time you couldn’t wait to go to Olive Garden?

Things have changed but it doesn’t seem like they noticed.

 It  appears that people are dining out less; they’re also dining in different places. 

The millenniums aren’t really interested in going to their “grandmother’s restaurant,” think about it. They also are eating less and are looking for what they consider “healthier food.”

Red Lobster has changed the outside of the building, added  a canopy and moved the bar closer to the entrance. Still business continues to spiral down. Of course, I hear the lines to Red Lobster in certain parts of the country, Florida, for instance, are still unbelievable. It’s still not enough business. Personally, I am appalled by the lobsters in the tank by the cash register.

Casual dining in general has been hit by the economy. It’s no longer fast and the food hasn’t changed for years.  

Where is everyone going? They’re going to “fast casual restaurants ” lead by Panera’s. The perception of Panera’s is healthy, faster and customizable food. If you don’t want potato chips, you can have an apple with your ½ sandwiches and soup or salad. You can use their WIF; we know their left-over bread, and pastries go to the food Pantry.  MyPaneras’  club lets you know when they’re holding events, having tastings and offer baking tips.  

What does this mean to your business?

If your business has been around for a long time, like our “casual restaurants” have, you should know the latest trends that might affect your business.  It’s not hard to pay attention to  your customers and the trends; you just have to ask them.  

The casual diners are jumping ship and going to places like Chipotle where the look and the place is different.  How did they miss it?  You can’t sit around and do nothing while the world is changing and expect to thrive.     

You need to check out the trends. Your next customer is the Millenniums; they think differently and want distinct things. They also want everything done fast.   You can only live on your old customers so long before they disappear. Once this happens, it may be too late to change.  

Survey your customers, the new ones.  Ask them where they’re hanging out and why, what do they think about retail and what changes would they like? I’ve mentioned before that my grocery store recently put in a “wellness center.” This is definitely something “out of the box.”

Survey the customers whom you’ve lost. The average business loses 10% of its customers yearly. If our “casual dining restaurants” had done some interviewing they would have learned interesting things for their business.

Get to know your customers.Apparently Target has built a mathematical model to predict when its female customers are going to give birth!. Maybe you don’t know your customers that well but by doing surveys and holding events for your customers you will get to know them better. Hold events in your store that will make your customer feel like they belong.

The best thing a business can do is find ways to get emotionally involved with their customers. This doesn’t mean marrying them, but almost.

Lisbeth Calandrino has been providing business coaching for businesses for the past twenty years.  Her new book, “50 Events to Drive Traffic to Your Store” will be available on Amazon in June 2014. To have Lisbeth to provide training in your store, reach her at Lcalandrino@nycap.rr.com or 518-495-5380.

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By |May 18th, 2014|Blog, Competitive Advantage|0 Comments