Are your customers asking these questions?
“What are we getting for free?”
“When are you going to have a sale?”
“I can’t believe the customer asked that,” is a comment I often hear from sales and customer support staff.
Well, you better believe it because this is happening more and more. The customer is quite prepared to ask confronting questions like these. So you have to be equally prepared with your response.
Your response can’t be left up to chance. You and your colleagues must prepare and practise, review the customer reaction and prepare and practise some more.
Let’s take the “When are you going to have a sale?” question and work through our response.
To read more click on Are your customers asking these questions? or go to the Terrific Blogs section at www.terrifictrading.com
Your objective with your customers at all times should be to make doing business with you as easy and stress free as possible.
When the customer comes to you, whether you are in medical, professional or financial services, retail or hospitality, one of their stresses is finding a convenient parking spot. One that is easy to find and doesn’t have them worrying about whether they will get a parking ticket.
When you see the world through your customer’s eyes and walk in their shoes you become aware of these seemly minor matters that make a major impact on how your customers feel when they are doing business with you.
Here are recent examples of two very different clients who are doing this well. Take note of what they’ve done. Then think about how you can map your customers’ journey and take the stress out of doing business with you.
Accounting firm Francis A Jones is based in Fremantle in Western Australia, a cosmopolitan town with a wonderful relaxed atmosphere as long as you don’t overstay the allotted time in your parking bay.
Recently Fremantle Council changed the parking to a 30 minute limit in the street outside their offices. As appointments are often longer than 30 minutes, even though the parking is now free, this has created an unexpected inconvenience for regular customers familiar with the previous arrangements.
Francis A Jones has added a where to park section to their website explaining the changes and the steps they are taking to lobby Council. They also include a link to this in communications with customers who will be attending their office.
Here’s another example.
Linneys, one of Australia’s most renowned jewellers has a landmark store in Subiaco, Western Australia. A wonderful inner city suburb also renowned for its vigilant parking inspectors.
While it would not be unusual for customers to be spending $5,000 or more on a diamond ring or opal necklace at Linneys, their customers are no different to many of yours – they don’t like to pay over the odds for parking. And to use the privately run car park across the street from Linneys is not cheap. However, there is good news for those needing short term parking, the Council has introduced free 30 minute parking bays nearby.
Linneys has made a point of detailing this on their website and, as you will see, they also offer suggestions for longer term parking. They also notified their database of this improvement. Its little things like this that show your customers you care.
Next month I’ll share examples with you of two businesses using simple low cost videos to notify clients of how to find them and where to park.
Words that work – Part Two
In your January Terrific Tips I shared with you the 5 most persuasive words in the English language according to Gregory Ciotti and Yale University’s 12 most persuasive words.
Here is another list that I regularly refer to. In the late 1960’s, marketing supremo David Ogilvy published his list of ‘The 20 most persuasive words in advertising’. These are:
Next month I’ll share another of my sources for words from a blogging expert with an amazing success rate for building traffic and generating online business.
Meantime make your words count because they do.
Read the Sign
I loved this sign spotted on an old building in a quaint village in England. It certainly attracted my attention.
Tactics to reduce no-shows
Two recent articles in your Terrific Tips have included examples of how to use Robert Cialdini’s Principle of Consistency.
Inspired by these examples, Steve Martin (no, not that Steve Martin) – co-author with Cialdini of Yes! 50 secrets from the science of persuasion and a new book that I’m currently reading and will review for you soon – led a series of studies to see if he could reduce appointment no-shows in health centres by triggering this same motivation. Patients seeking a doctor’s appointment were asked to make one of two small commitments:
- Patients calling for an appointment by phone were asked to repeat back the time and day of their appointment before hanging up.
- Patients who visited the health centres were given a pen and asked to fill in the time and date of their appointment on a small card, rather than the usual practice of the receptionist doing so.
These two small changes led to an 18% drop in appointment no-shows. No-shows cost health providers and governments billions of dollars every year. Cost-less strategies like these can make an impressive difference, can’t they?
How can you apply this principle to your advantage and to the advantage of your customers?
Danger words and phrases – Part Three
You’ll have to: People don’t like to be told what to do or what not to do. It is best to offer options. If this isn’t possible, work on your phrasing:
“We no longer have this available. Fortunately, there is an excellent alternative…”
“While I don’t have the authority to do such and such, what I can do for you is…”
Let’s say your customers have to fill out a form or give you their details before you can give them what they want. Instead of, “You’ll have to fill out this before before…” rephrase this to, “Once you’ve completed your details on this form I’ll be able to do such and such for you.” This sells them the benefits for them of completing the form.
How others see your actions
I pulled into a crowded parking lot at the Pinecrest Plaza Shopping Center and rolled down the car windows to make sure my Labrador Retriever Pup had fresh air.
She was stretched full-out on the back seat and I wanted to impress upon her that she must remain there. I walked to the curb backward, pointing my finger at the car and saying emphatically, "Now you stay. Do you hear me? Stay! Stay!"
The driver of a nearby car gave me a strange look, wound down his window and said, "Why don't you just put it in park?"
“We’re open but…”
Many years ago legendary quality and service supremo Tom Peters said, “Big is incredibly stupid” and on a regular basis I see examples that back up his blunt assessment.
For example, back in 2007 the Australian ‘Woolworths Limited’ retail group dominated the supermarket scene over their major rival Coles (owned by Wesfarmers) and their Big W discount department stores matched Wesfarmers Target and K-Mart stores.
Flushed with success, they were arrogant enough to think they could take on Wesfarmers highly successful Bunnings Warehouse hardware store ‘big box’ format.
They tapped into US hardware giant Lowe’s expertise but by the time they opened their first ‘Masters Home Improvement’ store in mid-2011 there were in excess of 200 Bunnings Warehouses and over 50 smaller format Bunnings stores with the Warehouses serving almost every population centre of 20,000 people or more around Australia and New Zealand.
It just didn’t make sense. Woolworths were new to hardware while Bunnings had umpteen years’ experience before they set up the amazingly successful Warehouse format. In fact Woolworth’s were 10 years too late. In 2001 they had the opportunity to buy Bunnings major hardware rivals, BBC Hardware. They opted to stay out of hardware leaving Bunnings to take them over. Since then Bunnings have become better each year at being a category killer.
And now it seems they have killed Masters which recently announced that it would sell or wind up its retail home improvement business.
Following the announcement, in an effort to reassure the public and no doubt its anxious employees, Masters took out full page adverts in all Australia’s leading newspapers with the headline:
Woolworths Limited has announced that our Masters business
will be offered for sale – but for now nothing has changed.
The advert went on to say that all stores were open for business and gift cards, warranties, lay-buys etc would continue to be honoured.
What is wrong with the headline? What danger word have they used that is likely to discredit their message?
It’s one that you were reminded of in the December 2015 edition of these Terrific Tips. When the word ‘but’ appears in the middle of a sentence people tend to discount or disbelieve what comes next.
Most of us don’t have a billion dollars to ‘lose’ as Woolworths has done or are close to doing. So, you would think that they would work very carefully on crafting their message.
“Smart people learn from their mistakes. But the real sharp ones learn from the mistakes of others.”
"You can change your world by changing your words... Remember, death and life are in the power of the tongue."
“Learn from the mistakes of others. You can’t live long enough to make them all yourself.”
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