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Bake Shop’s Customer Experience Leads to Repeat Customers and Tons of Referrals

7 May
The wildly successful Crisp Bakery in Sonoma County

The wildly successful Crisp Bake Shop in Sonoma County

  • Owners completely understand the importance of the customer experience – from design to execution
  • Combination of world class baked goods and well-designed customer experience = big competitive advantage
  • Details: “I envisioned the customer parking, walking in the door, ordering, eating, and getting up to leave.”

As I entered Crisp Bake Shop, my senses were so happy they joined together to start a conga line.

customer experience conga line

Eyes – the interior of the store was extremely clean, with modern art on the walls, fresh pastries in the display case, and a large window where customers could watch the chefs prepare everything from croissants to wedding cakes.

Ears – hip music played at just the right volume – Bob Marley and Jack Johnson were a few of the artists I remember.  The sound of the coffee machine and the friendly, smiling staff members that greeted each guest.

Smell – a combination of freshly brewed coffee and Buttermilk Blueberry Muffins; Strawberry Toaster Pastries; Dried Fig and Walnut Scones

Taste – if you have the opportunity to visit Crisp Bake Shop, you will not be disappointed.  My bacon, egg, and cheese hand pie was perfect, and the portion was just right – obviously management understands a little goes a long way with baked goods.

I was sold before I stepped to the counter to order.  

The Owner and Staff Members Educate and Interact with Customers

“Did you know our iced coffee has double the caffeine of our regular coffee? The iced coffee process does not strip away any caffeine from the beans.  The iced coffee will give you quite a jolt if you’re not used to it.”

Despite the long line behind the customer, the owner took the time to educate and interact with the customer.  He treated the customer as if she was the only person in his shop. The staff did the same, making several recommendations and greeting people by first name. It’s funny: the customers in line had smiles on their faces. It was almost has if they enjoyed standing in line, patiently waiting for their turn at the counter.

Ownership Understands Its Target Market

“Okay, it’s Friday. That means we will get a rush of people from 9:30 to 10:45.  Everyone wants a cup of coffee and a quick bit to eat before heading to the farmers market that’s down the road.  We will get a much needed break from 10:45 to 11:45 to restock and catch our breath for the lunch rush.”

During the morning rush, the chefs brought out freshly baked goods like clockwork.  The customers waiting in line were able to see the goods as they were placed in the display case.  The chef even interacted with the customers and made recommendations.

What Can You Do to Improve Your Customer Experience?

If you want to turn regular customers into raving, repeat, shout-from-the-mountaintops, walking referral customers, then focus on creating a memorable experience.  While price and product/service is a factor in the buying process, customers ultimately buy from the people and places that make them FEEL a certain way.

  • Identify your target market – create buyer personas
  • Map the entire customer experience, including all the touchpoints a customer has with your company. (i.e. what happens when a customer drives past my place of business? Is it clean? Are the lights working on the sign? What happens when a lead or customer lands on my website? Is it updated? Is it easy to navigate? What happens when a lead or customer calls my business?
  • Design a memorable experience at each of the touchpoints.

    Anticipate, create, delight. 

I overheard the owner explain that he’s already sold out of his custom wedding cakes….FOR THE YEAR! It’s nice to have customers knocking down your door. Crisp’s dedication to customer experience is paying huge dividends.  What will you do to improve your customer experience?

Good luck!

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Are You Making the Same Marketing and Sales Mistakes as My Local Gym?

31 Jan

Article highlights (continue reading for the full story):

  • The gym had a solid lead generation campaign – utilized both digital and traditional marketing channels
  • Secured my personal information – full name, email, and physical address
  • Instructed me to visit its out-of-date website (first breakdown)
  • Did not anticipate my buying cycle (I researched the company before I ever made contact)
  • Never followed up with me after I decided to redeem its offer of a 1-day free trial
  • Always anticipate/research what your prospect will do when it becomes aware of your product/service

gym marketing campaigns

I’ve been eating way too many burritos in the Mission District lately.  My friends joke that the first place they look for me is the taqueria down the street from my apartment.

As I munched on a burrito while watching college basketball, I saw a commercial for a free 1-day trial at my neighborhood gym. While many people believe using television as a marketing channel is outdated, it’s worth noting that Google reports that 60% of its search queries are the result of someone seeing an offline (print/television advertisement).  The television ad (call-to-action) instructed me to visit the gym’s website to redeem my free 1-day trial.

So what did I do after watching the commercial?

I ‘Googled’ the gym to find out more about not only the free offer but also learn about the gym – from pricing to reviews to staff.

Keep in mind: the company INSTRUCTED me to visit the website.  The website was outdated.  The blog was last updated about 6 months ago and it lacked dynamic content that would have allowed me to learn more about the gym.  If you’re going to instruct people to visit your website, you should at least keep it updated.  The company did a great job of directing me to the site; however, the website content should have been targeted to new prospects researching the gym. Anticipate what prospects will do when they land on your page.

gym-marketing-campaigns

After I surfed the company website, I bounced over to Yelp to read the reviews.  I was satisfied with the reviews, so I decided to redeem my 1-day free pass.

The online sign up was simple: I entered my first name, last name, and email address.  When I hit submit, the instructions told me to visit the gym to redeem my free pass.  I walked the two blocks to the gym to redeem my free pass.  I was greeted at the door and asked to complete a liability waiver.  Sure, I’m happy to sign my life away if I drop a dumbbell on my head.  As I was working out on the elliptical machine (is that manly?), feeling the burrito grease leave my skins pores, I thought: “The gym spent a lot of effort and money to entice me to try its services.  It even secured my name, email address, and physical address (from the liability form). It’s not easy to secure my contact information. I bet they have a really good sales system to ensure I don’t walk out of here without a fight.” What happened when I finished my workout? I walked out without any fanfare. No sales pitch. Nobody asked me for feedback. Nobody made an offer.

The owner/marketing team should have anticipated and planned a sales process for prospects that redeem the free trial offer.  Instead, they let me walk out of the door without signing up for a monthly plan.  Why not create an incentive to sign up that day.  For example: “If you sign up within 24 hours of redeeming your 1-day trial, you get the first month free and a 1-hour massage.”

But they let me walk away.  Not only did they let me walk away, but also they still haven’t contacted me about my experience and/or whether I want to join the gym.  The company spent lots of money (advertising, marketing plan, store front, salaries) for my trial.  It’s a shame that its follow up strategy is ‘hoping’ I’ll decide to sign up for a membership.  It should have systems in-place to ensure I sign up before I leave and follow up sales systems for 30, 60, 90, 120 days.

  • No incentive to sign up that day.  They could have closed the sale by offering me a one month free deal if I signed up that before the end of the day
  • The company could  follow up with an email/snail mail campaign:
    • Did you enjoy your time at the gym?
    • Thank you for the trial – did we mess up?
    • Last chance to save 30% on a yearly package?
    • Free Massage?

If you’re going to spend lots of money on an integrated digital and traditional marketing campaign, it’s wise to anticipate what the prospect is going to do along the buying decision.  The company paid a lot of money to get me to try the service, why haven’t they followed up with me?

What can you do to increase your chances of  converting your prospects to clients?

Good luck!

What a Hair Salon Can Teach You About Quickly Increasing Referrals and Sales

20 Nov

As we opened the door our senses were immediately overwhelmed: The sounds of soft reggae music; the smell of freshly brewed coffee and hair products ; the sight of a clean, modern designed lobby, furnished with leather chairs and flat screen televisions.  There was even a small bar in the corner.

long-curly-hair-back-view

I LOVE YOUR HAIR!!!

The Arrival Experience 

“Can I get you something to drink? We have coffee, beer, soft drinks, tea, and wine.”

Brianna requested a glass of water.  “Sparkling or still?” Seriously?

My only thought: Did we enter a hair salon or a five-star resort? We were at a hair salon….  Yes, I accompanied Brianna to the hair salon.  It’s a long story….don’t ask.

As Brianna disappeared behind the large glass wall for her two hour hair appointment, I settled in the nice, comfortable leather chair.  The receptionist brewed a fresh cup of coffee for me and insisted that I enjoy the free Wi-Fi.  SportsCenter was on the flat screen television directly in front of me.  I could get used to this setup. 

The Money Transaction Experience 

“Oh. My. Goodness!!!!! It looks awesome! Turn around, let me see the back!!!!!”

I can’t tell you how many times I heard a variation of this phrase.  Each time a stylist finished a client’s hair and led her to the front to checkout, other stylists and clients in the waiting room fawned over the new hairstyle.

Here’s what happened when the excitement died down:

1)      The stylist hugged the client (seriously, every client got a hug) and left the payment transaction and next appointment scheduling to the receptionist.  The stylist is there to cut and style hair (what they do best), not handle administrative transactions.

Side note: If my barber went in for a hug it would be  beyond a little strange.  

2)      The receptionist verified all contact information:

“Is your email still…..”

“Is the number to reach you still…”

This is to ensure the client receives not only a reminder for her next haircut but also so the client receives all future marketing communications from the salon.

3)      The receptionist asked, “When would you like to schedule your next appointment? Becky recommends 6 to 8 weeks, how does that work for you?”

4) Also, the client was invited to an ‘invitation only’ event featuring a semi-famous make up artist.  Complimentary food and drinks. FABULOUS!

hair-salon-art

The Getting in Your Car and Leaving Experience 

Needless to say, the client feels like a million bucks. She will probably tell at least 3 to 5 girlfriends after they comment about how good her hair looks (referrals).  This awesome customer experience is not an accident.  Management took the time to not only design and implement the experience but also train the team to execute the experience.

What’s your plan for delivering a memorable customer experience?

1)      Start by identifying the touch points your prospects and customers have with your business. Examples of touch points: your store front, your office, your website, your social media pages

2)      Pretend your a client.  Shop your own business from beginning (entering the office/store) to middle (sales process) to end (when it’s time to pay for your products/services)

3) Focus on the details – colors, design/layout, greeting, logo, furniture, music, offerings

Make each step of the experience memorable for the prospect/client. It will lead to more cross-sell opportunities, lots of repeat business and increase your referrals. All of which will put more $$$ in your pocket.

Good luck!

Marketing and Wine Attract Leads But Procedures and Workflows Convert Leads to Clients

7 Oct

Wine Marketing

“I’m sorry; our event coordinator is not on location today.  Would you like to leave a phone number and I will have her call you?” said the bartender at local winery.  I looked straight ahead, hoping I would just disappear, I knew the potential customer (lead) would not be pleased with the response from the bartender.  All I wanted to do is enjoy my glass of wine.  I didn’t want to hear an argument.

“So you are telling me I drove all the way out here for nothing?” She was not happy.  Dressed in a business suit and carrying a briefcase, the woman explained that she drove 30 minutes to meet with someone face-to-face at the winery.  She wanted information about how much it would cost to rent the venue for a private party of 50+ people.

The winery is located about 20 miles outside of Charlottesville, VA.  It’s not a convenient location to simply come back at another time.  Do you really want to rely on/tell a lead to come back at another time? No.  Should the lead have called to see whether an event planner was available? Maybe.  However, when a lead walks in your place of business during normal business hours, there should be a procedure that ensures an outstanding experience for the lead, so he or she becomes a paying client.

The winery spends a lot of marketing dollars and resources on attracting highly-qualified leads.

Marketing

The winery should create a procedure for event inquires – something like this:

A potential customer asks the bartender/staff member for information about private events

  1. Is the event coordinator available?

i.      Yes – Politely introduce the event coordinator and the lead

ii.      No – Explain that the event coordinator is currently not available at the moment

  1. The event coordinator, along with the management, should create an information packet that’s distributed when the coordinator is not available.  The packet should contain frequently asked questions as well as how to contact the event coordinator (email, phone, LinkedIn, etc.)
  2. Offer the lead a glass of wine (on the house) and ask if he or she would like to review the packet at the bar – staff member, who has been cross-trained, can either collect information from the lead to give to the coordinator or answer questions about events at the winery. The staff member should have access to the event coordinators calendar, to schedule a meeting

While it’s great to spend resources and time creating marketing campaigns that attract leads, it’s equally important to have procedures and workflows in-place to deliver a WOW experience that converts those leads to clients.  Don’t leave this to chance.

It should be fairly easy to predict how a lead interacts with your company:

–          Your website

–          Email

–          Phone

–          Your social media channels

–          Your digital ads

–          Your parking lot/front door/showroom

–          Your print ads

You should have procedures, workflows, and cross-training for your staff to ensure those leads are nurtured so they go from leads to clients.

Good luck!

Marketing and Sales System Fails….Results in No Sushi for Engagement Party

18 Sep

marketing strategy breakdown

My mom was in a hurry. She always works better under pressure—don’t we all? She was hosting an engagement party for 60 people; the party was 4 days away.  Today was the day to take care of food for the guests; she decided 150 pieces of sushi would make perfect appetizers – easy to eat and delicious.

Upon entering Harris Teeter grocery store, she made a beeline to the sushi counter, brushing shoulders with anyone in her way – she was on a mission to place an order for 150 pieces of sushi.  She knew the platter likely wouldn’t be ready that day, but thought 4 days’ notice was surely enough time to prepare the sushi.  Unfortunately, her customer experience at Harris Teeter resulted in a lost sale for the grocery store and an unhappy customer. 

When she arrived at the sushi counter, she was greeted by a Harris Teeter team member.  When she asked where to place an order for a sushi platter, the Harris Teeter team member responded that the sushi team members were not available at this time.  The team member said, “You might want to come back in like an hour or two.”   And my mom’s reaction was, “Did they really just tell me to comeback in an hour? Oh. No. They. Didn’t! That one response cost Harris Teeter around $120.00.  Maybe a drop in the bucket to the big grocery store chain, but I’m sure it’s frustrating for management.

Think about how much money it spends on marketing materials and sales associates to sell its products.

Is the team member at fault or is it managements fault for not properly training the team member?  Any team member that wanders close to the catering section should know what to do when the main contact is not available.  The team member should have a short contact form for the customer to complete, and maybe give the customer a $5.00 or $10.00 off coupon (better yet – have the authority to give a small discount) to redeem when placing the order.

Do you have procedures for capturing your incoming leads? Design a customer experience for each customer touchpoint, and be sure to include a contingency plan and cross-train team members so you don’t lose sales. 

Good Luck!

How I Survived My First Bikram Yoga Class…..and Learned a Few Business Lessons in the Process

19 Feb

funny yoga

 

I’m not ashamed to admit that I had to take a break with 15 minutes remaining in my first Bikram Yoga class. As I started to feel dizzy and nauseated, I decided to take a knee. Man down. The 105 degree heat finally beat me down.

However, I was perfectly comfortable taking a knee in a room full of complete strangers. You see, prior to starting my first class, the owner of the studio completed her new customer process with me–a process she automatically completes with every new customer.  Her new customer process included:

1) Greeted me and welcomed me to the studio–gave me a 5 to 10 minute tour of her yoga studio

2) Required me to complete a form, providing all of my contact information for her database (hopefully she uses it for future direct mail and email follow up)

3) Told me what to expect in the room; she explained that many people feel dizzy and nauseated when first starting Bikram Yoga (not something I was excited to hear). I was told to take a knee if this happened (and it did).

4) Introduced me to the class; told the class this was my first ever Bikram Yoga experience, and that she would be watching me closely

Before I even broke into the first move of the day, I already felt comfortable in a room full of strangers. I had an idea of what to expect.

At the conclusion of the class, she asked me how I was feeling and provided me with a free bottle of water. She discussed the different pricing structures for her studio, trying to sell me a 10-visit package for $130.00. While I wasn’t ready to purchase a package from her, I have a tremendous amount of respect for her as an entrepreneur.  She values new customers and even has systems to make them feel comfortable and cross-sell her products and services.

Do you have SYSTEMS (processes) to maximize the customer experience for your new customers? At a minimum, you should gather contact information for follow up purposes; you spend too much money on overhead to simply let fate dictate whether a new customer becomes a repeat customer.

Good luck!

 

Are You “Catching” Your Prospects?

28 Mar

Secure your prospects contact information!

You spent your hard-earned money on an advertising/marketing campaign.  Maybe you decided to pay for a digital marketing ad or a print ad in your local newspaper. Hopefully, your goal is to attract and convert new prospects (or remind existing clients to buy again) to at least break-even on the marketing dollars you spent to run your advertisement. However, there’s an important step that many small business owners miss: capturing prospects contact information! What if the prospect isn’t ready to buy right now? Let’s see how you should handle a new prospect.

Prospect contacts your company after seeing your advertisement

1) The very first thing that you should do is collect the prospects contact information (name, phone number, email address, and HOW THEY HEARD ABOUT YOUR BUSINESS). Your sales script could be: “Thank you so much for calling/emailing. Before we get started, I just need ask you a few questions.”; Now collect the contact info (name, email, phone number, SOURCE OF BUSINESS).

2) Enter the contact information in your CRM (Customer Relationship Management) software. My favorite CRM is Infusionsoft . The customer relationship management system will easily allow you to easily track your prospects and customers. You can add notes, automatic follow-ups, and important files to each specific client/prospect.

By capturing the contact information up-front, you increase your odds of eventually closing the deal. Also, by capturing the SOURCE OF BUSINESS (How did you hear about us?) and recording the source of business, you can easily track your ROI (return on investment) for marketing expenses. Then, you can either tweak your under-performing marketing campaigns or eliminate the under-performing campaigns.

Remember: always, always, always, ALWAYS collect prospect and client contact information. The information will allow you to follow-up on potential sales withe prospects and nurture your clients so they become repeat buyers and raving fans for your company!

Happy Marketing!

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