August 21, 2019 /
Comments Off on Are you making these small service mistakes?

Are you making these small service mistakes?

Software companies struggle with service. It’s so avoidable.

I use www.surveygizmo.com for some of my client survey needs. I usually pay about $70.00 per month, but this month they decided to try to charge me for the whole year upfront $1,020.00.

Luckily AMEX caught it and I stopped the payment.

I contacted their help through their website but got no response.

Then two days later I got an email saying my account would be suspended if I didn’t pay “tomorrow”. I depend on this software to serve my clients. It’s critical.

Here are all the things that are wrong with their service. Note, it’s a US company and I am not in the US.

  1. They swooped and threatened to close the account within one week of non-payment. So much for dispute resolution or payment problems.
  2. They didn’t respond to the initial request though their web page ticket system.
  3. It’s impossible to find tracking of help tickets online (in case an emailed resolution was missed).
  4. They only have a US toll free number. No other numbers.
  5. When you the only options are 1) Support (which you can only access if you pay for it), 2) Sales, and 3) Credit card payment. No option for Billing or general.
  6. If you try support and don’t have a special number they just hang up.
  7. The credit card option is only open mountain time (US) business hours.

This is what I do for a living and I try not to diss people online. This is an exception because I hope I can illustrate how easy it is to get the details wrong.

Call me SurveyGizmo. Call me.

August 20, 2019 /
Comments Off on How to stay top of mind

How to stay top of mind

How do you get to be top of mind in your industry?

If you are a #linkedin expert, will you be top of mind when someone needs LinkedIn help?

If you are a recruitment expert, are you the first thought of?

How do you get there?

Behavioural science points to a key principal called the “Mere Exposure Effect” as first described by psychologist Robert Zajonc in the 1960’s.

Given the voice of two options, you’ll take the one exposed to you most.

For example. A 2012 study of the Eurovision song contest showed that the number of times an audience saw a contestant corresponded to the votes received, regardless of talent.

Princeton University researchers inserted a subliminal message in 12 frames of a Simpsons episode with the word “Thirsty” and 12 frames of Coca-Cola. The subjects rated themselves 27% thirstier after watching the show.

How to be top of Mind

  1. Stand for something by being known for something (my struggle is being fragmented)
  2. Be consistent – Keep your look the same (I’m also working on this one e.g. black T-Shirts and orange thumbnails on videos)
  3. Think long term – The benefits will come over time, not today.

I want to be known for Mystery Shopping, Purpose, and Small Business Hacks. It’s way too much but the list has shrunk significantly.

August 19, 2019 /
Comments Off on How to avoid wasting ad money

How to avoid wasting ad money

Here are some scary real life statistics from a client who sells in the B2B space.

We have just conducted 40 Mystery Shop enquiries to a B2B software provider who sells business analytics.

It’s high-brow stuff at a high price, for which they spend a fortune on advertising.

Ad response time

13% of enquiries don’t get a call-back… ever!

33% don’t get a call within 2 business days.

The cost of these wasted leads should be added to the marketing acquisition cost.

How do you fix it?

3 steps.

  1. Define a well-communicated process.
  2. Train staff
  3. Track

Of course Mystery Shopping is still a big part of tracking. it still remains one of the few (only?) ways available to find the truth about marketing sales funnel mechanics.

Oh this couldn’t be you, I know, that’s what the client said before we started.

Though I know this client employs rocket scientists, it’s not rocket science.

August 09, 2019 /
Comments Off on The best word-of-mouth is?

The best word-of-mouth is?

We all know that word of mouth is critically important. Word-of-mouth can come from several sources including friends, acquaintances, or even a random comment on a social media post or review site.

But one type of word of mouth is more powerful than the others.

At Service Integrity, we do a lot of studies looking at the power of a staff member recommendation.

Imagine you have to buy some garden mulch at the hardware store.  Some are dearer than others, but overall they look about the same.

All the manufacturers are competing for shelf space and flashy packaging, but you still don’t know what to buy.

Then a staff member comes along and you ask,

“Which would you recommend for….?”

This response has a huge impact on buying behaviour.
If you look at the example of our real world client, we found that:

  • the dearer product (competitor) was 1st recommended 64% of the time and has a 56% market share. We now know that recommendation drives market share.
  • the cheaper product (theirs) was only 1st recommended 31% of the time and has a 32% market share.

These recommendations are more important than others because they are at the point of sale and provided by someone seen as a product expert.It’s at this point that a lot of brands fall over with their network management.

Keep in mind, whatever your business, your recommendation has a lot of weight.

I recently recommended a service to a friend who had lots of choices, and she took the one I recommended, not the one she researched. 

Don’t underestimate the power of your words, nor the words of the people selling your brand.

August 07, 2019 /
Comments Off on Cross Selling is not an insult

Cross Selling is not an insult

What’s the purpose of shopping. No seriously.

To buy something. And the more value the better.

In my Mystery Shopping business we find that in some industries staff only close the sale 36% of the time. Even worse, they upsell as little as 12% of the time.

Why are staff so reticent?

Well they think it’s rude, un-Australian, Un-Singaporean, un [insert country].

I was just reminded by my staff that a few years ago we conducted a survey of 485 shoppers and asked the following:

How do you feel about up-selling where you are asked if you would like to buy a bigger version or complimentary product?

The answers were surprising!

  • 5% said they would be insulted
  • 14% are neutral
  • 56% accept it as part of retailing
  • 25% are glad to be given the opportunity

Don’t presume they don’t like it. They are there to buy, so let people buy. Close the sale.

August 04, 2019 /
Comments Off on Why is everyone standing around?

Why is everyone standing around?

I can’t understand the recruitment policies of department stores.

You’ve probably experience this yourself.

Sunday afternoon, hardly anyone around, and staff standing around behind the counter or just standing at attention in the middle of the floor. 

It is the staff member’s job to approach customers to welcome them and ask them what they are looking for.

In this difficult situation, my wife was walking around looking to spend as a treat.

There is money to be spent, having made the trip to the big city.

This is not an abnormal situation. We see it all the time in our mystery shopping business.

Selling on the floor is like selling on the phone. You have to approach people and be prepared to be rejected or brushed off. But that is the job.

The job is not to stack coathanger. 

We left empty handed. 

July 29, 2019 /
Comments Off on Use ignorance as a tool

Use ignorance as a tool

We have to be careful that our politically charged and polarised world doesn’t transfer to Sales and Service.

We think we “know” the truth. The other side is wrong. We are right.

I always marvel at how one side can always be right and the other is wrong. It’s impossible but normal.

Photo by Oleg Magni from Pexels

We now have absolute knowledge.

  • This race is lazy.
  • Poverty is a choice
  • The earth is flat.
  • Vaccinations … I can’t even

We are falling more and more into the same patterns with our work.

But facts and objectivity are not enough.

You don’t know what it’s like to be the son of an immigrant who was part of the minority group in the 1960s.

You don’t know what it’s like to feel like a stranger on the land your ancestors have inhabited for 40,000 years.

You don’t know what it’s like to have a skin colour which means you could be arrested at any time for any minor infraction.

You don’t know what it’s like to go with the safe supplier because you don’t want your boss to scream at you again.

Some people won’t buy but it doesn’t mean they are stupid. Just thinking those thoughts is enough to close your mind. 

“They” don’t get it because you didn’t show them.

“They” don’t get it because there was something else going on in their lives.

You don’t know me and I don’t know you. And that’s why we have to discover each other in business as in life.

The easiest way to do this is to recognise only one thing. Look for a dark black pool of ignorance. This is the place where your knowledge and emotions have never been.

  • Is there something I could possibly be missing?
  • Do my life’s experiences give me the emotional permission to make a judgement on this?
  • Do I know what it feels like to buy my product for the first time?
  • Do I understand the sheer joy and thrill of buying the product?

The question in life or in business is this. 

Is it even remotely possible that I don’t know everything about how that person is feeling?

There is no way you can expect them to completely understand how you feel. Therefore, the answer to the above question has to be yes. 

After all, you can hold more sand in an open palm than in a clenched fist.

Give your staff processes, give them procedures, but give them to the space to open their hand.

July 25, 2019 /
Comments Off on Using customer service as a shield

Using customer service as a shield

Board and executive meetings are tough.

You know you’ll be challenged on something. You’ll be on the defensive.

A tried-and-true tactic to survive these meetings is to provide some good or boring news in the mix. 

This allows the presenter to seem on top of things and balance the inevitable bad news.

One of the most ingenious was to do this is with some sugar-coated Customer Service statistics. Why? Because most customer feedback surveys provide consistent answers over time.

So an executive can report things like “Our service levels are still at 93%”.

One of the most ingenious was to do this is with some sugar-coated Customer Service statistics. Why? Because most customer feedback surveys provide consistent answers over time.

So an executive can report things like “Our service levels are still at 93%”.

You know you’ll be challenged on something. You’ll be on the defensive.

A tried-and-true tactic to survive these meetings is to provide some good or boring news in the mix. 

This allows the presenter to seem on top of things and balance the inevitable bad news.

One of the most ingenious was to do this is with some sugar-coated Customer Service statistics. Why? Because most customer feedback surveys provide consistent answers over time.

So an executive can report things like “Our service levels are still at 93%”.

Box ticked.

Sounds good.

But it may not reveal the whole picture. It may not measure what’s happening when there’s a problem. And it certainly doesn’t measure whether staff are doing the things that are profitable (eg cross selling). For example, are the staff closing the sale? Are the staff cross selling? Are the staff mentioning the promotion? 

Not doing these activities costs profitability, but no-one will know unless you measure it.

Track the soft skills. For example,

  • Track items purchased per sale
  • Use machine algorithms to track recorded phone calls
  • Mystery Shopping (still the easiest way to track it).
July 12, 2019 /
Comments Off on The iconic brand doing a Blockbuster

The iconic brand doing a Blockbuster

An iconic Australian department store (DJ’s) is doing its best Blockbuster impersonation.

They are reducing two Sydney flagship stores to 1, and eliminating 6 floors.

Profits have been declining every year for 15 years (lightening reaction times).

Online sales rose 46.8 per cent and now account for 7.7 per cent of total sales.

But they call it a “retail recession”. 15 years is not a retail recession. More like a crusty brand recession.

The wonderful DJ’s service was legendary, but the legend is built around invisible staff and awful service.

Service counts more than ever in physical stores but it’s the place they cut.

They had/have a chance to fix it if they become an iconic.com.au but they are probably cooked.

They saw their purpose as a multi-brand landlord, but they should have considered themselves to be a multi- brand marketplace.

This would have enabled them to pivot to online.

When service and purpose clash it’s like waves crashing on an outgoing tide.

July 12, 2019 /
Comments Off on Reading the customer’s mind, when they can’t

Reading the customer’s mind, when they can’t

If the customer doesn’t know why they made a decision, how are you supposed to help them make it?

There are three factors at play:

1) the rational brain (which isn’t really used that much)

2) emotional drivers (moods and feelings)

3) contextual drivers (we aren’t always the same person).

So how are we supposed to be empathetic? Somehow cruising down the Amalfi coast with gold chain dangling is relevant. The trick – don’t judge others based on your current contextual situation.

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