Don't Snow Your Customers Out!

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Fairway invites its customers
We're Open!
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.
This is the perfect time to “pay it forward.”  If you haven’t seen the movie Pay It Forward, this is a good week for it. Happy shoveling![/fusion_builder_column][/fusion_builder_row][/fusion_builder_container]

5 thoughts on “Don't Snow Your Customers Out!”

  1. Hi Lis,
    I know of a retailer who already does the grillin’ in the middle of winter – DeGraaf Interiors in Hudson, MI grills winter or summer. I think it’s a great idea and one I’m sure their customers appreciate.
    Also, last night I was watching the Philadelphia news and the reporter was marveling at how many people braved the snowy conditions to stop in at Wawa just for a cup of coffee! Retailers should realize consumers suffer from cabin fever during these long, cold winters. If I hear someone’s serving hot chocolate with marshmallows, I may just venture out just to get out of the house.
    Finally, if you read today, currently 49 states have snow on the ground! How long ’til Spring?
    Hope you found your way back to Albany!

    1. Lisbeth Calandrino

      Hey Caren, that’s great. I love the Wawa–I just love their name. Cabin fever takes hold this time of year so I’ll look for you anywhere they’re serving chocolate and marshmallows.
      Hey have I heard that Talkfusion is getting ready to announce video conferenceing and other cool stuff?

  2. Hey Lisbeth,
    Great blog! One of the coolest lil’ treats I’ve experienced so far is a local print shop here in Albany, Camelot. They bake cookies in the shop for every customer. It always smells yummy coming in (much better than over-heated printers and ink) and smells even better coming out! They do this year-round. They even drop a bag off for deliveries as well.
    Thanks!
    Tabby

    1. Lisbeth Calandrino

      I love your comment Tabby; that is definitely cool. You’re right better than over-heated printers and ink. Is that the smell in printers?

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