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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 things that make our own world special.

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17 02, 2013

Please Macy’s, Don’t Forget Me!

By |2017-03-03T12:07:02-05:00February 17th, 2013|Categories: Blog, Repeat and Referral Business|Tags: , , , , , , , , , , |0 Comments

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Businesses with great customer service stay in touch with their customers.

I  must admit I love the clothes and shoes in Macy’s.

In the 70’s I had a Macy’s credit card and used to receive offers from them. It seemed like once I stopped using the card I never heard from them.  Every time I would purchase at Macy’s the clerk would ask if I had a credit card. I would tell her yes, but they could never find it. I just paid cash, purchased less and wondered how they lost me.

Did  I forget to pay a bill? How could Macy’s lose me?

Yesterday I was in Macy’s Shoe Department and found the most unforgettable pair of shoes. Of course the clerk asked if I had a credit card. This time I decided to say I didn’t have one.

“Let’s get you one, she said, there’s a 20% discount today if you get a new card.”

After 10 minutes of questioning back and forth,  she finally said, “They want to talk with you.” Now I’m nervous. Are they going to announce  over the loud speaker that  Lisbeth Calandrino is a deadbeat?

I thought they would tell me I had an unpaid balance of $10.00 and they’d crossed me off their list. Instead they asked my name, address and phone number and then said they wanted to talk to the clerk.

“You have a card she said, how come you haven’t used it?”

“They won’t let me,” I replied. She laughed and said, “That’s strange.” It may be strange to her, but every time I told the clerk I thought I had a credit card, my purchase was denied.

The clerk announced that Macy’s has decided to send me a new card. (By the way, no 20% discount for me. The 20% discount is only for new card holders.)

I guess they’re trying to tell me  I can’t put one over on them.

So how do businesses lose customers? Do they  decide some customers are better than others? What criteria do they use? Frankly, in this case, I just think it’s a case of not paying attention.  I should be receiving offers and discounts automatically from them.

Great customer service is remembering your customers and staying in touch with them.

White House/Black Market never loses me. Cachet knows where to find me. As a result of their coupons, discounts and special offers, I’m at both  at least twice a year when the seasons change. There have been many times I wanted to charge something in Macy’s and pay it off in two payments but passed on my purchase.

Your most valuable customer is one who has purchased from you. Why would you forget them? They didn’t spend enough?

I’ve told lots of people over the years about my Macy’s credit card problem and have avoided shopping there with my friends   The only reason I was there yesterday because I was doing a SodaStream demonstration.

(By the way, you must see the SodaStream commercial they wouldn’t air on television.)

Consider your past customer is your connection to your next new customer. When my friends want to go shopping, I always say, let’s not go to Macy’s.

When you don’t keep in touch with your customers, they make friends with your competitors. Not going to Macy’s has forced me to check out new stores, and get new credit cards. Oh well, I guess I’m not that important to Macys.

I read a statistic that the average business loses 10% of their customers yearly.

I found some other statistics that might be important to you if you own a business.

  1. 73% of marketing managers of various large companies credit “Repeat purchase behavior” as integral to the definition of successful customer engagement –Forbes Magazine
  2. A survey asking which is the most important marketing objectives, shows that 29.9% think that it should be customer acquisition, and 26.6% think that it is customer retention.
  3. However 62.2% admit that they concentrate on customer acquisition, with only 20.6% focusing on customer acquisition. –Emarketer
I guess Macy’s isn’t the only offender.

Want more information on repeat and referral business? Check out my Surfaces Blog from 2012.

Lisbeth helps businesses build loyal and profitable customers through customer service training and social media marketing. Her book, Red Hot Customer Service is about to be published in its updated version.  To book her for training  or speaking, she can be reached at [email protected].

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