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20 03, 2016

The Customers Aren’t the Only Ones That Have Changed

By |2017-03-03T12:06:48-05:00March 20th, 2016|Categories: beliefs, Blog, Change, Reaching the Consumer, Success|Tags: , , , |0 Comments

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CUSTOMERSI keep hearing the customer has changed how we cope with them. Think about it, we’re talking about ourselves.  It’s been a slow transition, so slow that we really haven’t noticed. We are so stressed out thinking about what we have to learn about our customers, we forget how we’ve changed.  If you examine your path , you won’t be so stressed  about the customers.

Let’s start with your phone. What type of phone are you using? When did you finally give up your ‘flip phone?’ Several of my friends still have a flip phone and are adamant about not changing. It makes me think, am I that stubborn? It’s hard to give up something we’re used to; if you’re still using your flip phone, you might examine what you’re missing.

Do you prefer texting to talking on the phone? I find it less intrusive, and I can reply quickly. The same people with the flip phones think that texting is ‘impersonal.’ Texting gives an additional way to get in touch, and it’s often easier. Have you asked your customers what they prefer? Let’s not assume we know, let’s ask them. If they prefer a phone call, honor it. Again, it’s not because they’re old they don’t want to give up what makes them comfortable.

Do you still have a fax machine or do you scan and email?  I had to return a document to a national company, and they asked me to fax it. I told them I got rid of my fax machine three years ago and scanning is easier. They were insistent I fax. They didn’t have a reason other than the fact: “That’s how we do it.” Are you still telling customers ‘that’s how we do it?’ Is it time for you to move forward and  make some changes?

Are people asking why you’re texting the person next to you? Often texting to someone during a meeting is a smart thing to do. It’s better than interrupting the speaker and what you have to say is essential. Isn’t it great that you can actually communicate without interrupting the rest of the world?

Are you still using the same-old  lines, can I help you? Today it’s more appropriate to ask the customer what they’ve seen online that they like. It’s a short cut to understanding how they shop. My experience is that salespeople still ask how they can help you when we know the whole world is online before going into a brick and mortar store. Help the customer cut their shopping time in half, find out what they already know.

communicationCommunication is the key to all of our transactions; nothing has changed. What has change is technology and how it is impacting our world?  The more you learn about technology the less stressed you will be.

For more on how technology is impacting all of us.

Lisbeth has been helping customers build sales and marketing strategies for over 20 years. Understanding and using today’s technology is one of the keys to success.

 

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23 02, 2016

So You Think You Understand Romance?

By |2017-03-03T12:06:49-05:00February 23rd, 2016|Categories: Advertising, Blog, Marketing, Motivation, Reaching the Consumer|Tags: , , , , , |0 Comments

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What is romantic to one is not to everyone else.

What is romantic to one is not to everyone else.

The only way you know if you’re good at it is the response you get from your target audience. Roses seem to be the flower of choice for Valentine’s Day, but not everyone likes roses.

The key is knowing your audience.

Let’s talk about something we all understand; pricing. Pricing merchandise is more than a system, it’s an art. What makes  the Tag Heuer,  Monaco watch sell for $25,000, on sale ; don’t you wonder what it costs to manufacture the product?

In some ways it looks like many other watches except the face is very unique. More than the look is the romance and history behind the watch. Yes, you can say it’s the name, but  how did they build it?

This is how the watch is explained:

In 1969, TAG Heuer released the first automatic chronograph, and broke with tradition by creating the first square waterproof case to house it. The Monaco became an instant icon on the wrist of legendary actor Steve McQueen in the 1970 film, Le Mans. TAG Heuer continues to break all the rules with the revolutionary Monaco V4, the world’s first timepiece with a belt-driven transmission.

Notice the first line, speaking about an “automatic chronograph with a square waterproof case to house it.” When I first read it I wasn’t sure it was a car or a watch! How about you?

 

Check out this description of a boring black dress:

 

Typical product description:

 

The boring Indie dress.

The boring Indie dress.

Indie Dress

 

The Indie Dress features a cross-over neckline and empire bodice. Made from 18.5 micron New Zealand merino wool. Side slash pockets. Relaxed Hood. Machine washable. By Ibex.

YAWN….

Product description with personality

Indie Dress

Free yourself from fussy when you pull on the Indie. Cross-over neckline and empire bodice move easily from well-dressed to “WOW,” but never compromises on easy care and comfort. Made of the finest blend of merino wool from only the best and happiest New Zealand sheep. 18.5 micron means wool so fine that there’s zero itch. Side slash pockets, relaxed hood. Machine washable. By Ibex.

Tips for ‘romancing your products:

1. Make it personal, ’ how would my life change or be different if I bought your product?

2. Why should I buy it; what makes ‘IT’ different than a similar product?

3. Why can’t I live without it?

“Whisper more sweet nothing in my ear. You may think actions speak louder than words, and a picture is worth a thousand of them, but you’d be amazed at what the right words can accomplish.” Jeff Greenhouse.

Lisbeth has been helping businesses build marketing and sales strategies for over 20 years. To schedule a consultation or have you speak at your business, reach her at 518.495.5380. www.lisbethcalandrino.com.

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14 01, 2016

Is Your Customer Wearing an Invisible Cloak?

By |2017-03-03T12:06:49-05:00January 14th, 2016|Categories: Blog, Building your business, Customer Experience, Customer Service, Marketing, Reaching the Consumer|Tags: , , , |0 Comments

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Is your customer invisible?

Is your customer invisible?

My friend said she went into a local high end lighting store the other day; despite there were sales people walking around, no one approached her. It was almost as if she was wearing an invisible cloak.  What kind of customer experience is this? The salespeople may have been busy or maybe they didn’t see her, but does that matter? My mother used to say that she had to “have eyes in the back of her head” when I was little. That’s what salespeople need. They must always be on alert.

She had never been in the store and was in desperate need of a part for a chandelier. Yes, we are closer to developing an invisible cloak, but that’s not what I’m talking about.

I just read an article about how customer service should be invisible; I don’t think so. If you’ve got superb customer service everyone in the world should know about it. By the way, we are close to producing an invisible cloak; then what will happen to our customers?

When it comes to developing a working invisibility cloak, we may not be at Harry Potter level yet, but today’s newest breakthrough is nonetheless impressive.

A team of researchers led by Xingjie Ni—a nano-engineer at Pennsylvania State University—have just unveiled an fascinating invisibility cloak: one that takes the form of a sleek skin of nano-material.

 

We talk about providing a great customer experience; how can that happen if we don’t make a connection? Great customer experiences don’t just happen, we have to make them happen.

 

“Why didn’t anyone wait on me; she asked, didn’t I look right?” There was a hint of sarcasm in her voice, but I think there was some truth in her question. My hunch is you’ve had it happen to you.

Here are 2 simple ways to keep your customers from feeling invisible:

  • Approach your new customer immediately. If you’re with another customer, politely ask them if it’s okay for you to greet the customer coming in the door.
  • Make the customer feel like an old friend. If you can offer them a place to sit or a beverage they will feel acknowledged.
  • Connect with them in other ways. Complement them when you say hello, notice their smart phone of tablet.
  • Be proactive. Can you reach out to your customer before they get to your store?

I know these may seem simple but they are common courtesies that are often forgotten but go a long way in building a customer relationship.

Lisbeth has been helping businesses build positive customer experiences for the past 20 years. To speak with her about your business, call her at 518-495-5380.

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27 07, 2015

Why do Businesses say Stupid Things to Their Customers?

By |2017-03-03T12:06:52-05:00July 27th, 2015|Categories: Blog, Customer Retention Strategies, Customer Satisfaction, Customer Service, Marketing, Reaching the Consumer|Tags: , , , , |4 Comments

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no cookingOn my way to the gym I pass this restaurant; today the sign outside says “No Cook.” I’m assuming that means they’re not open. Why would you put that sign up? This is just a ridiculous thing to post for your customers. What’s the point? What kind of customer service can a restaurant deliver without a cook?

It brings up all kinds of thoughts for me.

  1. They don’t pay their help very much or why would the cook leave?
  2. There will be no food until they get a new cook; will the new cook be good? Should I even try it?
  3. When the new cook comes, will there be a sign that says, “New Cook?”
  4. They don’t sound very resourceful, why not just start cooking? There must be someone who works or owns the place that knows how.
  5. Why do we care about your cook? It’s your problem now it’s mine.

Why would you share any of your misfortune with your customers? Consumers don’t care about your problems only that you make them feel good.

Actually, I would have liked it better if the sign says, ‘cook quit or cook fired.’ At least, I can get a laugh about it. It reminds me of the nursery that had the sign, ‘closed during the winter,’ of course; we know that. Why not the sign that says, ‘can’t wait for spring?’

There was another sign on a restaurant door that said, ‘closed because of lack of customers.’ I guess that’s my fault; nasty implications with that sign.

Why not be positive with your customers? Why not close because you’re giving your business a face lift, or you’re having a face lift? My friend had a sign on her restaurant that said ‘owner taking a cruise; she needs it. Thanks for being my customers see you on July 1.’ Those of us, who know Carmella knows she works really hard and deserves a vacation.  We were all excited to welcome her back and ask about the cruise. She even came with gifts for her ‘regulars.’

Customers always want to know, ‘what’s in it for me?’  There’s nothing in it for me when the cook leaves. We all listen to the radio station, ‘what’s in it for me.’ WIIFM. If you do something that inconveniences the customer you can be sure they won’t be happy.

If you can’t make the customer happy, at least make them laugh, or  hold their hands to improve the customer experience.

 

Lisbeth Calandrino has been helping businesses build sales and customer service strategies for over twenty years. To have Lisbeth consult with you, reach her at Lcalandrino@nycap.rr.com.

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26 04, 2015

An Update on What Value Means to Your Business

By |2017-03-03T12:06:53-05:00April 26th, 2015|Categories: Blog, Customer Satisfaction, Motivation, Reaching the Consumer, Repeat and Referral Business, Success|Tags: , , , , , , , , |0 Comments

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What makes you different and what is it worth?

What makes you different and what is it worth?

Everyone talks about value but what does it really mean? Simply put, it means going above and beyond what is expected. For instance, giving out cookies and hot chocolate during the holidays in your business can be considered added value. Cookies add to the festivities and are unexpected by the customers. Will all customers think they are added value? Probably not the people who are on a diet or don’t eat chocolate chips. Value added is a marketing and sales strategy for your business. It helps customers remember you, build repeat and referral business and build differentiation.

Before you can deliver, you have to know your customers, and what they expect. Yes, customers want to be treated with courtesy, feel that prices are fair for the marketplace and expect your place of business to be inviting. If you can’t deliver what’s expected, how can you go above and beyond and deliver the “added value?”

Once you know who they are, then you can go forward trying to figure out what you can do that they would like.

So added value is something the customer gets and finds delightful. Imagine giving your customers a beautiful winter blanket on a beastly hot summer day. The blanket is worsted wool, with horse blanket fringe as well as being soft and warm. Delivered in the summer, it isn’t valued, in fact, becomes a problem. You might say, “I wouldn’t care when I got the blanket, it’s so magnificent. “ Despite your excitement, many of your customers would not be feeling the same. So treating the customers using your standards may not be adding any value nor getting any points from your customers.

Instead of thinking what’s of value to you, find out what’s of value to your customers. For any of this to work, it must be determined within the context of your customers.  Of course, we all have fixed budgets, but we still have to look at the customer’s criteria. I go into the gym daily. It has become an important part of my health plan. One of the things, besides all the people I know is the coffee that is served free of charge in the lobby. It makes a huge difference to me; it’s always fresh and somehow signals the end of a good workout. So it’s a big deal to me; no, it’s not rational but value isn’t rational.

I know they make a big deal about wiping down the equipment after it’s used in the gym. (They consider this huge value.) Frankly, this doesn’t really matter to me; I know the best thing I can do is go home and change my clothes. I’ve been told the gym is one of the dirtiest places in the world so I don’t think a simple wipe down will help.

In all of our lives, it’s the simple