Starbucks seems to have a great model for Customer service in the hospitality field. Its a few years old but a great video on what make starbucks a huge sucess. Note Starbucks was not sucessful in Australia
Media, news, views and items of interest. Making the web work
On-line is booming this year, Interesting stat that mobile phone usage for on line shopping has risen 220% on last year and showing that 30+% are actually buying on line.
It still amazes me that companies go on line yet dont, Its like being half pregnant. The store advertises on line but only offers store pick up.
Freight is the fear of many from large corporations to individual sellers e.g on Ebay.
Buying from overseas on Ebay is interesting , I have often given the courtesy of emailing the seller asking if they would ship to Australia and how much for freight. It is amazing the answers I get. One that really is annoying is we dont send to Australia because freight is too expensive.. Well.. Are you saying you cant be bothered going to the PO or use a on line calculater or are you assuming I don’t want to pay the freight? Let me be the judge .
Big companies seem to have this assumption also. Just this week I have been trying to buy a GPS on line. Now I don’t like going into a store if I know what I want, so for freight costs I accept that and understand also I believe my time in going into a store is more valuable than a freight charge.
So on line I go, Prices are competitive and the best on line site I found and have been watching was Dick Smith Electronics. Now this is a big company owned buy one of the largest retailers in Australia. The range was excellent the prices fantastic the web site OK. I was most impressed with some specials and reduced items and found exacly what I wanted.
I go to cart and it lets me order and pay for the item but the item has no freight and is pick up store only. I notice most items on this page was the same so I sent a quick message to this store via the online contact. Now the history of me with this store is amazing I have so often wanted to buy something from them and each time turns into a nightmare. I was adamant I did not want to go in store for this item. here is my email and the reply:
Good Morning, I am trying to buy a GPS on line and yes you prices are
> excellent however no delivery store only. I understand why you do
> this but I will be buying online that delivers . I may not buy the
> model you have but something similar. I have twice tried to buy
> items in store, HD television, Play-station 3, Bought the TV from
> Clive peters and the play-station from Big W. Service was appalling
> and in the case of the play-station stood in store for over 20
> minutes and walked out without even being acknowledged. I am happy
> with the Dick Smith on line but make a real on line store as I
> don’t want to face the real store, Kind regards Colin
Here is the reply:
Good Afternoon Colin,
Thank you for contacting Dick Smith Online.
In regards to your inquiry, the product you were intrested may have
been a discontinued model in which case we would only have left over
store stock for that item.
If you would like to discuss this matter further or look into alternate
items that are avaliable online feel free to call us on 1300 366 644.
Alternately if you provide the model number or product name we can find
out if that product is likely to be avaliable in the future.
Customer Service Consultant
Dick Smith Online
And here is My reply:
Thanks for the reply , I have just purchased a similar unit on line with WOW sight and sound Sorry.
Shipment Method:AusPost eParcel
Shipped Date:30/11/2011Thank you for shopping at WOW Sight & Sound.
Making the web work
Business owners here is another lesson .
Coupons Coupons Coupons… Groupon, Jump on it, Fair deal, spreet, woman’s freebies, the list goes on.
Small business operators, Here now is the opportunity on line to get out in the market.
For small business getting involved with a reputable on line coupon company can be positive and value packed in regards to promotion and marketing. But what about the consumer? What if it goes wrong?
Lets review Cleaning Mate carpet Care Brisbane
Recently as a on line experiment using a professional on line coupon site Jump on it My wife purchased a coupon for carpet cleaning, 3 rooms $59. Now that’s value. As I recall the last time this happened it was double that and a 2 hour job. I used the yellow pages found a local company, impressed with the ad rang spoke with a professional sounding operator and booked a firm time for the job.This operator did the job very well and on time….. Ah the good ol days.
Carpet coupon Experience
Now this is how it went, Purchased on line coupon…replied email with voucher advising how to contact contractor. So far so good . Wife contacts contractor advised time Tuesday Morning ( no work can be at home) 8.00 am. Person other end hard to understand not overly polite but enough for my wife to say that she felt uneasy about this deal. I replied look $59 is cheap they will just come in do the job and we will all be happy and with the state of our carpets a herd of wilder-beasts could only improve them.
Now firstly the coupon site “jump on it” worked well no problems no dramas their job is done now its up to Cleaning mate Carpet care..
Monday night empty three rooms house is a mess but hey tomorrow bright fresh like new carpets (yes I checked their web site very impressed with reviews that sounded fantastic) Next Morning …mmmm….waiting…waiting… UGG nothing lets call and find out…
Well lets say the response would have been better if I threatened to burn down his house. Rude obnoxious and at this point another time 1 week later was set, I accepted and moved the furniture back into the rooms.
Now if these guys show up I will be surprised I would just accept any quality and call it a bonus.
Lesson 1 for small Business owner
Now small business owner here is a lesson. Damage is done regardless of any future positivity with this company the experience so far would not override any goodwill gratitude or job quality. Beyonce could show up in a bikini and I would not use them again.
Next week comes empty three rooms of furniture await for Cleaning mate carpet care….MMM… Nothing…..no…. Nothing I make a phone call no answer…Left message….Well I think now I have done my dollars.
Lesson 2 Business owners, Carry a phone or divert to someone who will. Modern technology allows that. If you dont want to be contacted get out of your business and go and work for the Tax department.
Wife calls later get answer, still no reply to my message and is bluntly told that this date was incorrect and it will now be tomorrow at 8 am sharp.
Ok If a midget comes in with a mop I would be happy at least it would mean something. so I wait until tomorrow. Unable to be at the house in the morning my delightful wife very frustrated with this cleaning mate carpet care people waits…and waits…. the phone rings ( now this is the first sign of a business operator) 1 hour 40 minutes later stating they are running late. Yoo hooo they are coming at least.
Yes they came in half a hour it was done. the carpet got wet he sucked it up left. Ok edges were not done , most marks on the carpet stayed and on his work completion form wrote “Complaint needs to be made within 24 hours”.
Great the carpets got wet they got a vacuum for $59 bucks I am just gratfull some one showed Up. Now I am going back to his web site and put a comment, not rude but just stating his dreadful phone manner. But alas unable to access to submit comment.( Possible error with browser settings on lap top) Why am I not surprised.
Lesson 3 business owners. Be genuine with your reviews you will be caught out and you will suffer and like loosing allot of business you will not even be aware that it happens.
Customers are strange creatures we are learning that 2nd chances are very rarely given, Customer will not tolerate incompetence and rudeness.
As for coupon sites based it on the old adage that you will get what you pay for. If you involve yourself with this cut price marketing and you over supply the customers expectations you will win a customer for life but be assured if you don’t meet those customer expectations the damage will be ten fold.
These days on line reputation means a great deal its much further reaching than you will be aware of.
You can try and partially rectify on line reputation more on that later and some lessons in SEO to fix these situations.
Bob Dylan once wrote “the times they are a changin’ “and guess what they did and they will. Looking at the video below its interesting how humanity had a foresight unknowingly into the future. The hair brain ideas shown in the video have oddly in a round about way materialized in the last ten or so years.
Change is upon us daily and the true retailer today are moving with it. Although just like in 1969 we had a idea of what might be without really knowing what was to happen.
To relate this to retail dare to dream…. See the future as you would like and somehow start to build towards it. See others move forward and try and think that maybe that might be the way things may go one day.
In store interaction is in its infancy but just like the instant message service in 1969 this must be a vital clue to the future of retail.
Have a look at the vid it will be worth the next 2 minutes of your life to actually see how obvious technology can actually be.
Below is a insight to retail interactions and short term predictions of its uses
Its heating up, How could a group of people encourage a tax fed government to incur more taxes?
Well in Australia its happening, where are we 2002?. People On line is here to stay… Like it or not. If you are a retailer move on or move out. No government is going to tax all imports to the tune of 10% like some major retailers are asking the Australian Government to do.
Now this is not new just because the Australian dollar has been strong for some months, but pre christmas Jim Stewart from stewart media touched on the subject. If anyone knows on-line in Australia its Jim (Have a Look at the Video below).
Retailers this didn’t happen in last year or 5 years this has been there for over ten years and those corporate run once monoliths in retail are starting to wriggle. The boys in the board room have finally got away from their lunches and realized that they actually have to come up with the goods for the investors and stake holders in their companies.
Well asking the current Australian government to impose GST (10%) on on-line sales is like giving a bookmaker even money that Tiger woods is a virgin.
Big retailers, someone is going to have to go, No tax or government bailout is going to stop this, the time are a changing folks, something small retailers have known for 5 plus years.
On line some of these big retailers are displayed like 1999 no presence, no title tags no shopping cart what do they expect. Just Google plasma TV or bumpons (felt dots I had to buy some in the UK as Australian retailer would not accept my order under $20.) Some of these retailers look like they have never bought anything on line in their life.
God help us and retail if the Australian government treat this demand by retailer seriously.
On the down side of on line the tide is swinging to those big marketer on line , the likes of Amazon , ebay etc. The recent changes to Google may have seen your web sites loosing ground and the big boys doing better. Small retailers need to get a regular check up on their sites. I have recently lost 40% in a major site in Australia going from 19,000 views to now just above 11,000. The reasons are I had simply neglected the market and the recent trends in the search engines. I have since counter acted this but have had to really thing about a strategy that will last long term. But I realized 3 months is a long time on line.
Having a web site now is like a business card was 15 years ago. If you don’t get em out there no-one is really going to care.
A shop front now is easily over looked for information and the way people research prior to buying. People are easily turned off a site if the language doesn’t suit, Some old sites have exclusions and minimal purchases that to the average online shopper simply sends them to another site or god help us overseas.
Note also people research on line then purchase from a store its a two way street .
Make your web site work, but don’t loose sight of the basic principles of customer service.
- Retailers try to stop online sales says eBay (theinformativereport.com)
Word stream is a popular tool for those using Google Adword to market their bussiness. Back a few year google adwords was a reasonable media type and still is today. But it comes at a cost when trying to target those very important keywords that may make your business tick.
Adwords takes some practice and truly it sometimes is worth getting a expert to get a campaign running. Listed below from word Stream are the most expensive words to target on google.
Now other side of the fence for Google ad sense users if you crack one of these markets sit back, quit your job and just make web sites.
Keep in mind that the google share has dropped worldwide and there other ways to use your precious advertising dollar, test compare and evaluate.
The 20 keyword categories with the highest search volume and highest costs per click, thereby netting Google the most money, are:
- Insurance (example keywords in this category include “buy car insurance online” and “auto insurance price quotes”)
- Loans (example keywords include “consolidate graduate student loans” and “cheapest homeowner loans”)
- Mortgage (example keywords include “refinanced second mortgages” and “remortgage with bad credit”)
- Attorney (example keywords include “personal injury attorney” and “dui defense attorney”)
- Credit (example keywords include “home equity line of credit” and “bad credit home buyer”)
- Lawyer (“personal injury lawyer,” “criminal defense lawyer)
- Donate (“car donation centers,” “donating a used car”)
- Degree (“criminal justice degrees online,” “psychology bachelors degree online”)
- Hosting (“hosting ms exchange,” “managed web hosting solution”)
- Claim (“personal injury claim,” “accident claims no win no fee”)
- Conference Call (“best conference call service,” “conference calls toll free”)
- Trading (“cheap online trading,” “stock trades online”)
- Software (“crm software programs,” “help desk software cheap”)
- Recovery (“raid server data recovery,” “hard drive recovery laptop”)
- Transfer (“zero apr balance transfer,” “credit card balance transfer zero interest”)
- Gas/Electricity (“business electricity price comparison,” “switch gas and electricity suppliers”)
- Classes (“criminal justice online classes,” “online classes business administration”)
- Rehab (“alcohol rehab centers,” “crack rehab centers”)
- Treatment (“mesothelioma treatment options,” “drug treatment centers”)
- Cord Blood (“cordblood bank,” “store umbilical cord blood”)
We found that that 97% of Google’s revenue comes from advertising on Google sites. In the last four quarters alone (Q3 2010-Q2 2011), Google brought in $32.2 billion in total advertising revenue.
Thanks to Wordstream Blog for the above
I went for a stroll into a new supermarket today, If something is going to work the big supermarkets will be the first cab off the rank with the idea.
Now 10 years ago supermarkets had a total different layout and market attraction than they do now. Today if I want a loaf of bread I don’t really have to think were it might be, the multitude of products on display are in such a way laid out that they melt together so again not really thinking about navigating around the store.
Your store and your web site should be the same. Simple easy and not to taxing on your customers brain.
If web sites were bricks and mortar stores , half would be condemned, and the remaining 49 % would go broke real quick.
In previous posts I have said that the net has changed just like supermarkets and most successful business channels that have evolved with their market.
We as small business operators need to apply the same principals and manage these to the best of out abilities
Dont expect your customers to think hard when they see your site, Keep it simple and easy especially getting around your site. Say whats important and don’t baffle them with long winded hype about how good you were once. Move on from what worked well in 2001 and move with the crowd and secondly don’t fear taking bits of information from successful operators.
Below is a vid from a highly successful soft ware company on this subject. These guy are no different than hundreds of others but have applied some age old bricks and mortar ideas to on line marketing.They are quietly turning over Millions. This is not about their product but the general work ethic and culture applied to being successful.
On another subject..quickly..just quickly
By the way I sent a email wanting to buy advertising stating the size (and supplied copy) for a ad to a local paper . My question was please quote for this ad in black and white, can I pay by credit card. MMMM… Guess what the return email sent? A brochure on how good they are and the generic price of their ads. Now I have gone a little cold when all I needed was a price and please send you credit card detail, but now I have lost the buy now mojo and will possibly by pass them altogether and look at other ways to promote and spend my limited budget.
If there is one thing I learnt from a wise old man this was it, the secret to selling…
If you get the conversion be prepared to strike whilst the iron is hot and ask for the sale stop selling ASK FOR THE SALE.. Oh how often we forget but thats a good one for next time we meet.
Oh, lets.We do, dont deny it it we do!
Its very obvious that in a bricks and mortar business we owners (managers) try not to but ultimately we do and staff also. What our staff does is as good as doing it your self. I will discuss on line shortly but what you staff does on and off line is you…their thoughts and prejudices are you in the eyes of the people you deal with.
Bad staff =bad recruitment or bad training blame the recruiter or trainer.
When we as small business owners plan the future for our fledgling idea we create a image of what we want to happen, how it will develop and what our customers will be.
If fashion is our thing the future conjures up a picture of tiffany’s with every customer looking like Audrey Hepburn with a pocket full of credit cards unaware of the huge markups on each classy item. But in reality in comes that bag lady who hasn’t done her hair in 2 weeks to touch your precious item. What do you think?, do you (or staff) change the words you/they say or even does the body language of yourself or staff change?.
This attitude reflects in all business and yes its true we dont get along with all our customers ( 80% is the target))
Now how does this reflect on-line? The web site is static it wont prejudge…but what about the contact…what about after sales service, it happens. Remember I said put a contact on the page let people know you are human and real but….what if you become sub human and unreal by using that vital closing tool (on line personal contact) in a pre judgmental way.
For example not all customers will be comfortable in sending a query about a product on line usually these people are hesitant to use on line for what ever reason. In fact the question they are asking is not so much ” do you have a size ten in that” more can I trust you and will you help me with after sales service should I need it.
Or what about the dope customer I get a few of these that mis spell and only give minimum information. Eg” how much delvery”. Boy do I just want to get to that email and say look stupid read the web site , were is you manners rude pig.. . These are common so follow up here needs a double dose of service in fact in a bizarre way I feel like its getting even by reply with all the courtesy possible without sounding like a script out of a 1970′s how to sell manual.
Now a lesson for Ebay sellers, reply politely, Say hi, and thanks and regards not just 2 words, its common on e bay and if you are less than 100% sellers this will be the difference to a extra bidder or buyer.
To summarize if you have just had a argument with your partner keep the hell away from the business email, phone or store if you have one. Inform staff on or off line, counter staff phone help desks ( phone behavior is the most common form of pre judging) the importance of not prejudging and let them know that how a customer appears or reacts may have a different interpretation that needs more analytical attention than the first 5 seconds of contact.
In most cases usually the business owner or manager will see this stall tend not to go to this level and if they do usually become the owner or manager.
Now I believe in going one step further than that. We have all worked with the silent Monday morning types (They dont need to be front line staff) As a person whom is responsible for the business make the grumpy down people start the day off with at least a good morning or similar this will reflect with all dealing throughout the day and will set the trend. You as a owner lead by example. Treat your customers either face to face, phone or email equally.
Now I am talking here for the on line store operator, or the bricks and mortar owner whom have either a web site as a addition to their business or a battling new on line business.
Put the gurus out of your mind for just 5 minutes, the 10 million friends brigade , make $3000 for every friend types etc etc.
Now Face book is Big people, thats no secret these stats are from earlier this year:
1 Hot Minute” = for every 1 minute of Facebook time there are 1,789,736 actions being;
- 510,414 Comments
- 382,861 Post Likes
- 231,605 Messages Sent
- 135,849 Photo’s added
- 98,604 Friendships approved
- 82,557 Status Updates
- 79,364 Wall Posts
- 74,204 Event Invites Received
- 72,816 Pages Liked
- 66,168 Photo’s tagged
- 55,304 Links shared
Do We need Facebook?, my on line store is doing OK. My shop is getting through… However Yes but dont expect Facebook to save your business.
This is simple and comparing with Google works well. Face book is not Google and visa versa. Why….People search on Google, people socialise on Facebook.
Its like setting up you spare automotive parts business in the middle of a casino in Las Vegas and expect success.
For small operators need to be aware that we need to have a presence on face book, we need to have a presence on twitter However our main presence should be consentrated on our bricks and mortar or and our main web site.
These all link together I could use the next 2 hours of your life explaining that but I wont. Time management of these media types should be relevant to the business. Dont spend too long on Facebook. Dont spend too long on twitter. But have a presence. A very good markerter in Australia and he is just one of several in the world who are ahead of their time said in a recent video that he uses a I Pad for his social networking etc etc and the computer is for nuts and bolts work only. He knows that his time on his I pad is limited as work must continue, yes boring mundane usual life goes on work. That can be running you web site, sourcing product, servicing exsisting customers, looking at old fashioned never go out of date ways to encourage more.
Face book is not there to replace what you do its now in addition too.
Boy I found myself some weeks ago on the computer, my wife was on her laptop and we were communicating on Facebook..strange yes we were in adjoining rooms. Now this wasn’t some weird fantasy being played out this was just how enveloped into this technology we had both become. I have now for over a year just looked for a reason to throw all else away and focus on Facebook but like the fountain of youth have yet to find it, on the other hand my wife spend hours sending snippets of mundane information to people she has never ever met.
So if your business is not working my thought to you would be:
At this stage of development Facebook will not save you. What will would be back to basics and change what you have done. If its not working, why keep doing the same things. Let go and move on.
I love those shows on TV, where the host goes into a restaurant or shop that is on the slide. The core business is turned upside down the idea is left untouched and it works but what this shows is that as people giving our blood sweat and tears into a idea have issues with letting go, we react, we even experience anger in what we consider failure.
You haven’t failed, you may not have reached your expectation.
Facebook is unintentionally via many prophets and profit makers are installing into business operators that facebook is the saviour and the new coming of whatever religious icon you believe in. Get the basics right and watch social media work.
………And for Robert in Kansas I am not selling anything this is what I do instead of Facebook time. Until next time..col
Quick one today, but boy on line stores its not rocket science to suck money out of me.
I get out of my car this afternoon and bingo my Florshiem brand shoes that have worked well for over 5 years split in the sole. Now I am Male, not that fond of shopping (and I do like style) have been sold on the brand from the first day I slipped the old faithfuls on. I needed shoes NOW.
Inside I go fire up the computer and insert Florsheim shoes into Google. Now understand I am in Australia and things are a little different here online but page one of Google showed several potential on line sites . I firstly needed to look what was local but had full intention of using the high Aussie dollar against US on line pricing.
Well Site One in Australia and it looked just like a catalogue but only had a few variety’s priced at $169 AUD free freight. Well I like the free freight because thats the big killer to the lets buy US mojo.
Well as any Male or most site browers I decided to check the next. I was confronted with a nice presentation and a better range of shoes and CHEAPER. Now whats my size I wonder if I could just give them a call and discuss that, easy I will look for a contact.
Now I thought I was on a good thing but shoes like many personal items need to be fitted and on line really cant offer that but I knew what I needed I was certain with a call I would have my answer. But Alas this million dollar web site had no phone number just a email form that converted all text to a weird girly look font. I was ready to buy now
Now 5 minutes has elapsed and as a consumer especially online I was ready to move on. The next site displayed a wonderful variety again trying to contact was all most impossible. I did contact a store that was linked to the page and discovered the answer about sizing but the bricks and mortar sales person calmly told me that there was none in stock at the head office store and best try one of the others. Now this took 10 minutes I went back to Google and looked page 2 and then page 3 Google for that diamond web site store that had poor SEO but nothing. I just want to buy a pair of shoes AH!.
Next step a US site. In 30 minutes and 4 webs sites later I knew all I needed to know. I had the style, size, colour and price I wanted to pay. I had been educated by poor sales friendly web sites. I went back to Google grabbed the first US site, found the shoes, size (Had international converter) price slightly better but only slight, cheap freight and bought.
So what did I learn about marketting on line. Firstly Your site must strike while the Iron is hot, not every one is won over by nice clean slick graphics and warm fuzzy Like me links.
Secondly Imagine you are a real virtual shop and people that visit do expect real virtual dealing. Have a contact Number, have a contact name god even go as far a a photo of someone nice and friendly.
I am tired of web sites that claim on line discounts offer a site that for all I know is located in the hotel in Fiji offering drop shipping from china.
Buyers just like a real bricks and mortar store needs confidence. Yes they may never return but they are there now and the time is right . you have one chance. Interact now that doesn’t mean sending all potential customers to a Facebook page either I am not yet convinced but be that virtual bricks and mortar vendor that is worthy of buying from.
Confidence is not the transaction it the feel they get when they visit.
Thirdly be wary of offering service, and product that offers too much information. Yes inform you customer but dont educate, that the job of the previous site they visited before buying on yours.
Now after all that I am looking forward to my new shoes..