Tag Archives: business

Creating Opportunities with ‘Accidental’ Visitors

When a visitor enters your premises, but is actually in the wrong place and looking for something/somewhere else, how do you usually respond? I think most of us quickly relay to the visitor that the current place is not correct and politely give directions to the desired location. That’s what I usually do.

Upon reflection, can this be a great opportunity to pump up customer service and promote the place that you work at? Even if the visitor did not intend to come to your place, if we create a strong impression, they may return in the future. And, instead of just quickly pointing the visitor to another direction, are we able to combine this with a quick sentence or two introducing what we do and what our services are?

We naturally think of keeping our regular customers satisfied and targeting specific customers to attract, but perhaps awareness to the potential of ‘accidental’ customers can create unexpected opportunities.

-Patrick Law

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Less Advertisements, Less Guarantees; More In-Store Action

It’s time for a new kind of promotion. Earlier this summer, the grocery chain Safeway had a radio commercial that targeted the current season. They want to make our summer extra memorable and used a bunch of exaggerated adjectives to describe their produce. Okay, so does almost every other commercial for their respective products, but then they added a guarantee that sounds bold and of substance, but I really don’t think it does much for consumers in this day and age.

Safeway promised that if during this summer season, if any of the produce we buy is not fresh or does not meet our standards, we can return the item, get a replacement, and get our money back. Sounds great doesn’t it? Sounds like the company is really going over and above to satisfy it customers, right? However, in reality, how many of us really bother to take the time, energy, and maybe hassle to return our uneaten produce back to the store after just coming home from grocery shopping? I guess I can wait until next week, but then the moment has kind of passed, we kind of say ‘why bother’, and of course everything is probably not that fresh after a week anyways.

While Safeway’s guarantee is definitely not an empty promise, because they are known for their customer service and I am sure they will replace the produce and return your money without much question, I don’t think it’s a promise that in reality would be acted upon very much and certainly is not worth as much as the words make it sound. It’s like me saying I’m fast, but never really having to race. It very well may be that I have some speed, but it’s never going to be tested that much in real life. (Except for the bus driver who can anecdotally support how I chased down his bus during my university years because I was always a half minute late; wait…that’s in the past….never mind….). Sorry for the digression.

I think that companies these days need to come up with better promotions and methods than the standard money back guarantees. Or, maybe not announce it, but just provide direct actions to pleasantly surprise the customer. Last week, I had such an experience at Sobey’s (IGA), another grocery chain. Upon entering their store, I looked at the flyer and saw that Bolthouse Farm drinks were on sale. The price tag beside the display corresponded to the flyer. However, when the cashier scanned the items, they showed up at a higher price. When the manager came and resolved the situation, I got the prices corrected (which was what I expected) and one of the drinks for free (which I didn’t expect).

Perhaps this is in their policy but, because I wasn’t aware of it and it’s not as obviously advertised, I think their actions have a more powerful effect on the customer. Rather than making guarantees that don’t really get acted upon, maybe companies should think of more ways to develop promotions that surprise customers on the spot without notice. If customers leave your store saying “Wow…I didn’t know you did that….”, then I think it creates a positive lasting impression.

-Patrick Law

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From Greetings to Spending Resiliency to Losing Pictures

To prevent procrastination, two minutes maximum to write on each topic. Let’s go, go, go!

Absent Greetings

Ever come across someone who said ‘Hello, how are you?’ Of course you did; almost everyday, many times over. With these common greetings how many of them are said with deep sincerity, feeling, and concern? Or are many of them simply out of habit, repetition, and automation…nothing more than exhalation.

Here’s a test we can use to examine the authenticity of a greeting. When you answer and reciprocate, ‘Fine, how are you?’, do you get another response? Today I did that numerous times and got absolutely no further response. That means the person did their perfunctory greeting without real thought and was not really intent on listening to my response. I’m often guilty of this as well. We often focus more on what we speak, and when the words are done, we kind of let go of our attention a bit, as if our major work is done.

Am I Resilient When I Spend?

This morning when listening to the business news on the radio, I heard an analyst comment on the current US situation. His voice was full of admiration when summarizing the latest report about how consumer spending exceeded expectations despite being in a depressed economy. His tone was very complimentary, almost encouraging consumers as ‘resilient’ when they spend.

Spending can be beneficial to stimulate the economy, but can it also be detrimental to immediately use up a portion of your tax rebates? It’s almost as if in any 50/50 situation, the message is to spend, and when we do, it gets reinforced. Are we too easily spending without enough consideration?

I am not sure on a broader economic level what is best for an entire country but, after hearing this morning’s report, about the ‘resilient’ consumer, how come I don’t feel very resilient, or comfortable, after giving some of my dollars to contribute to the latest positive retail report. I know, I know, I’m such a small speck in the ocean, but…

Deleting Pictures or Deleting Yourself?

Today I overheard someone in utter panic when she accidentally pressed a wrong button, or function, and erased all of the vacation pictures in the digital camera. She then yelled, “Oh my God! My entire vacation is gone! I lost my whole vacation!”

I didn’t say anything out of consideration, but I was very worried. I know she was just referring to her pictures, but the emotions and level of panic sounded like she didn’t go on vacation at all, which was of course not true. Pictures are nice, maybe even very, very important, but nothing can substitute what we have in our minds, memories, and hearts.

Maybe if she kept a journal, she can share that? Or start a journal to write out her memories so they can be passed along? Or start a recording about her verbal thoughts and reflections on her experiences? In this age, we sometimes are almost convinced that if we don’t have hard evidence of what we did, then it wasn’t authentic or as real.

-Patrick Law

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Can Clothing Make You Act Urgently?

I was admittedly having a zoned-out, not so focused moment, at work the other day. You know, those moments when your eyes are wide open, but you see nothing? Those moments when you begin a trance at a certain time, move out of it to notice that 24 minutes have gone by, but it appears none of your surroundings around you have changed at all. Why do I want to use the word ‘write-off’ at times such as these? I’m a ‘write-off’, a ‘write-off’, a ‘write-off’, just write me off.

Anyways, excuse me. That day, after my trance, I had to recover, so snuck in a couple bites of my tuna sandwich in between work gestures and poses. While masticating and producing sound bites that would not shame a metronome, I almost seduced myself into taking another meditative trip if it weren’t for a ‘suit and tie’ suddenly appearing in my peripheral.

At its appearance, I immediately lost all timing in my chewing and just swallowed. Hard and fast, so that I wouldn’t be caught doing customer service with my mouth full. I momentarily also turned around to wipe the evidentary remnants of my previous pleasure off my lips with the underside of my shirt, allowing the crumbs to settle nicely into the crevices of my now humid body, away and safe from view.

The ‘suit and tie’ guy continued to browse while I made up for lost time by working more during that half hour than I had the previous two. As a person struggling with procrastination, I want to know WHY! During that half hour, the ‘suite and tie’ guy did not once interact with me, or request any help, and seemed to enjoy his private time. I did not have to do anything for him directly in any way. Yet I worked, and was productive, and wanted desperately for him to see me as a working professional.

WHY! WHAT! I ask myself now, would I have had such an allergic reaction if a ‘hoodie’ or ‘sweatshirt’ had appeared in my peripheral vision? Perhaps not. My guess is that I would have continued my unaltered, metronome pace, oblivious to anything outside my procrastinations. So, does this mean I need some more stress in my life to make me act? Do I need business clothing to watch my every move? Or maybe just to have business clothing in the vicinity? Do I need some fear of being observed by a bigger brother?

That night I experimented by quickly changing into a suit and tie and observing the effects it had on other people, with particular attention towards my father. All it did was elicit a laugh from him and a terse question, “What are you doing?”
Okay, probably the wrong context. The next few days, I’m going to dress it up, even at home, and see if there is some natural biofeedback that stirs me into a frenzy working mode.

Am I desperate woman?

-Dawn

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