Ben and Jerry’s

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10 09, 2012

What Do I Know, I’m Just A Customer

By |2017-03-03T12:07:03-05:00September 10th, 2012|Categories: Blog|Tags: , , , , , , |0 Comments

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Which is better, ice cream or frozen  yogurt?

On my way  back from my workout, I stopped at the local convenience store for a quart of milk.

I kept thinking, I would love a  fat yogurt frozen cone.

I proceeded to asked the clerk if they had any low-fat  frozen yogurt. That seems like a logical question doesn’t it? I figured there were no calories listed because they just hadn’t put them up. Boy was I wrong.

Calorie counts are on everything; especially ice cream and frozen yogurt. Why not in our “local” convenience store; the once that’s been here forever.

“Ice cream without fat doesn’t taste like ice cream,” she said. Suddenly, everyone is now looking at me. Did I say something wrong?

Now I’m beginning to feel defensive.

I sweetly replied, “I didn’t ask about the taste, I just asked about the fat.” Again she repeated if they take  the fat out of their ice cream  it won’t meet their taste standards.

Now I’m beginning to think she want’s me to stop asking questions–not me. Aren’t I the customer? When did we start talking about ice cream?

Now I’m really not happy.  I continue about how Ben and Jerry’s has a few flavors of frozen yogurt that are low fat and they taste great. She repeats that Ben and Jerry’s ice cream doesn’t meet their standards.

Do I have to defend my neighborhood Ben and Jerry’s? The  great guys who give away ice cream on New Year’s Eve?  The best known premium ice cream brand? I love them!

Maybe defending your brand used to work Maybe trashing your competitor used to work. It doesn’t work anymore. Check out this customer service blog: Why Old Ways Don’t Work Anymore.

I don’t remember asking about ice cream, it was a frozen yogurt discussion. I guess she’s never been to Ben and Jerry’s either. I am in deep trouble.

“Well, I replied, I came in for a quart of skim milk and don’t eat ice cream anyway. ”

Her final parting words: “When you want some really great ice cream stop in!”

I guess I’m just not the customer. I was just trying to help the lady make a sale.

A word of advice to businesses:

The customer isn’t  your enemy; I want you to succeed or I wouldn’t be in your shop.(No matter what you think.)

Please don’t trash your customer’s favorite brands; you may decide to carry it.)

Ask for feedback; without it you’ll never grow.

Check on your competition; find out what they’re doing. Maybe what they’re doing gives them a competitive advantage?

Remember great customer service doesn’t mean the customer is always right. I means if you want to keep  your customer you will make them right. Would it have been bad if she’d said, “I love Ben and Jerry’s too?”

Case closed.

Lisbeth Calandrino helps businesses build loyal relationships with their customers through customer service training.  Pick up a copy of her book, “Red Hot Customer Service”

You can reach Lisbeth at [email protected]

 

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12 12, 2010

Can Customers Trick Themselves Into Buying And Eating More?

By |2017-03-03T12:07:11-05:00December 12th, 2010|Categories: Blog|Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , |1 Comment

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Dessert tray with lots of options for the consumer

I was listening to NPR on decision making sourced from Answers.com.  Dr. Rangel’s studies include why some people have more self-control than others in two important categories: eating and spending.

Dr. Rangel set out to study if presenting food in a certain way would change the customer’s perception of value and how much they were willing to pay for the food.  The study involved Cal Tech undergraduates who were very hungry during this trial. The students were given money to purchase desserts from information shown in photos or texts, then presented desserts offered on an actual tray.  (By the way, the food on the tray looked exactly like the food in the text and the pictures.)  What was surprising was the students were willing to pay about 50 percent more for the real food that was in front of them (according to this download-able pdf file from American Economic Review), but were only willing to pay a lower amount for the food in the pictures and the texts. Armed with this data one would wonder why restaurants spend so much money on beautiful photos and texts when all they need is to bring out the dessert tray!

In an industry where tips are often based on the price of the meal, you would think that servers would always offer the most expensive items. My experience leads me to believe that this isn’t necessarily the case. There are several things that stand in the way, the biggest thing is the server’s attitude or lack of selling skills. If the customer asks, what’s good on the menu the server is often reluctant to offer the most expensive item. Actually this makes sense; the server doesn’t have enough information to offer an opinion.  If the server asks, what type of food do you like, the game has changed. The customer is saying, tell me what’s best for me.

When it comes to dessert there are two objections on the part of the server.

“It takes too much time to bring out the dessert tray.” This is a common complaint.

“I heard the customer say, ‘I’m so full, I couldn’t eat another thing.'”  I guess the server missed  the obesity studies ranking the United States the fattest of all the nations. It appears we always have room for dessert, especially if it’s put in front of us.

How about the server’s attitude and preconceived ideas about the customer‘s spending habits?  “I wouldn’t spend that much, so why would the customer? For the most part, this is pure conjecture on the server’s part.

Isn’t it good customer service to offer the customer the best? Isn’t the customer worth the best? If the customer finds the product too expensive, do they find the server offensive? Personally, I would be more likely to feel offended if  I was  offered the cheapest.  As for the server,  it’s easier to trade down then it is to trade up.

Could  it be the  customer spends  money because they want to and they can?  Again we’re back to getting your customer to experience the product.  I just returned from a car show where all convertible tops were down, doors open, and the radios blaring.   What an invitation!

Is the restaurant business different than other businesses? Probably not. The literature suggests that customers tip more when they like the server.  Not much of a surprise is it?  On the other hand, if the customer doesn’t like the server or the sales associate, they are not likely to buy.

If the food is really lousy, it’s hard for the server to make the customer feel better by their extra efforts; unless they’re getting the customer an antacid.  If the food is good but not great and the server goes out of his or her way to attend to the customer, the tip will probably be good.  The customer is probably thinking the server is doing their best and the mediocre food isn’t their fault. Again it’s all about empathy.

This all goes back to getting your customer to taste the product, see the product and try it out.  In other words, getting your product in the hands of your customer.

Let the customer taste the product before they buy.  They do in Ben and Jerry’s. Allowing the customer to taste the product creates obligation on the customer’s part.  You’ve heard the phrase, “One good turn deserves another.”

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20 05, 2010

Can You Make Money With Customer Service?

By |2017-03-03T12:07:14-05:00May 20th, 2010|Categories: Customer Satisfaction|Tags: , |0 Comments

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Ben_and_jerrys Customer service often gets lost in a business; lost in the everyday of doing business. Businesses get lackadaisical, often forgetting their core business or how they got into business. Basically they forget their customers.

Can you remember when the service attendant pumped the gas for you? New Jersey is one of the states where you can’t pump your own gas so you can actually have the opportunity to experience this customer service from years gone by.

If you’re planning on "heating up that bottom line" you are doing to walk in the customer’s shoes. Identifying with the customer, their distress and taking them seriously. The more distressed the customer the more difficult to keep the customer. Businesses spend more time and money getting new customers than they do training their salespeople. The more difficult the economy, the more likely businesses are to recruit new customers rather than pay attention to their existing customers. Existing customers are the life blood of any business. Excellent word of mouth is spoken gently, bad word of mouth is screamed.

Tonight I went to Ben and Jerry’s for yogurt but before I bought I asked if we could look up the calories. He didn’t roll his eyes or act annoyed he just said, do you have a particular flavor in mind? I said no, I just want to know about the calories and I don’t want to look too hard. He laughed and said they actually aren’t that high. He went on to explain about the serving size and the number of calories in each serving. I found that the frozen yogurt was pretty low, 170 calories. Again I was amazed. The more he talked the more I liked him, the more I liked him the more I wanted to buy. Isn’t this how customer service improves the bottom line?

How do you know if your customer service is the best, you don’t but you can become the company your customer can’t live without? Train your employees first and advertise later. There’s no reason to capture customers if you can’t keep them. Define ways to keep your customers and then advertise to get them. Cherish your customers before they buy and show your customers the kind of service they can expect.

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