It is 6:15 in the morning on fritter Wednesday at George’s. The parking lot looks like a Wal-Mart on the Friday after Thanksgiving. The little donut shop is in a small strip mall in Twinsburg Ohio. All the other stores are dark, except Georges. Blocking 3 shops to the left is a large dumpster garbage truck, it’s driver out of sight, one can only guess that they are indulging. As I approach I see through the windows a line already waiting to lay claim on the fresh apple fritters.
George, is a large muscular man with peppered mustache and tan baseball cap. He is standing at his counter, his arms resting on the glass case that shields the treasures, talking to a “regular”. To the right, emerging from the back of the store comes one of the counter help with the small bottle of medicine. Opening the lid with a pop she calls out “two anti-drowsy allergy pills.” From behind me emerges a hand that reaches out for 2 proffered pills. I turn and see a group of grinning coffee drinkers each with their own cache of calories.
In the case are four Apple fritters sequestered amongst powdered, Halloween sprinkles, and beautiful glazed doughnuts. I have heard about these legendary treats for years but have never been able to be here on Wednesday, the only day that they are made, to claim one for myself. Because George sells out of doughnuts, all of his inventory, every day by noon… You have to time your arrival on the exact date to get into Apple heaven.
My prize sits in a white bag beside me as I climb into the car and look back at the flurry of activity through the windows in this nondescript little shop. How sneaky are the people of George’s doughnuts!
Who is so sneaky that they can get big garbage dumpster guys to stop and come in for a doughnut and some coffee?
Who is so sneaky that they even offer allergy pills to customers sitting at tables?
Who is so sneaky that they actually talk to customers? Imagine that!
It’s unfair. It’s anti-competitive. To provide a product that has word-of-mouth buzz that is off the charts AND to provide a family like, warm, and welcoming environment. Who does this stuff?
100 years ago the attention span of the average adult was 20 min. The BBC in a recent program disclosed that the programming of the mind that web browsing is causing has resulted in an attention span of 9 seconds! 9 seconds. That is the attention span of a goldfish.
With 9 second mentalities the customer has their hand constantly hovering above the delete key. You better have them engaged on the telephone, in your sales calls, in your customer engagement and experiences, on your website, in your voicemail messages … And heaven forbid… Even in your customer interactions.
1. Consider updating your website to a WordPress format that allows your customers to get information and then communicate with you in a dialogue. You want their thoughts, questions, and concerns.
2. Consider having Kordell do customer engagement training to make your customer experiences move to the next level. (I know, there had to be some self-serving part of this whole message . . . grin)
3. If you haven’t started, you need to put some serious focus on getting your customers answer to the following question. “Would you recommend our __________(fill in the blank with product/service/company/etc) to your friends and acquaintances?”
4. Do something with the answers that you get in #3 (above). Since” 80% of all strategic planning is about marketing” (Bill Hewlett), then you better have plans to move your customer engagements to a higher level. Consider#2 as a choice.
Seriously, you better get ahead of this thing called customer engagement. It is proven to be more profitable. Customer Engagement distances you from the competition, and minimizes price competition. It decreases your cost of marketing and improves repeat business. Did I mention that it is also very fun?
You have got to get sneaky!