The great thing about living in the east is that “Have a nice day!” usually means “have a nice day!” The old saw in L.A. is that “Have a nice day” often means something very different. In New York, when we want to tell someone to F-off, we usually say some variation of just that. Do you say what you mean and mean what you say?
November 2011 - PS Insights
It’s an old truth in advertising – and it keeps getting ignored year-in and year-out. The bankruptcy courts are littered with the remains of low-priced discounters who eventually got undercut or failed on service, inventory or customer satisfaction. From Crazy Eddie to Caldor to Circuit City. If price is your only value proposition, you’ll ultimately lose every time. You can give away the store, but eventually you and the store are going to go out of business.
Yup, it’s our favorite holiday of the year. Thanksgiving. Why? Because it’s the only US holiday that is for everyone. A celebration of family and togetherness with feasting for all. We’ll be off the rest of the week. Hope you will be, too. Enjoy the holiday and appreciate all who share it with you. Think about the other 364 days. What do you do on those days to be inclusive, to celebrate people you work with and feast on the good work you do?
Paul & Steve
Ever break a car windshield in NY or CT? A great example of customer service. One call to the insurance company. A connection to the glass company. And an appointment to repair or replace the windshield at your home. Sure beats a phone tree. Can you or do you solve your customers’ problems in one phone call? Work on it.
That’s the nickname Paul has for his repairman who is the go-to guy to repair any household appliance. Who’s in your “service army?” Do you have suppliers who are the “whisperers” of their profession? Your lawyer? Your dentist? Your doctor? Your plumber? It’s a good standard to apply for all of your personal and professional network needs.
In our booklet “When the Going Gets Tough, Tough Businesses Get GROWING,” one tip we suggest is that you take your former mentor to lunch. He or she probably still has some wisdom to impart to you that can help you in these turbulent marketing days. When was the last time you took them to lunch? What are you waiting for?
In the 1920s, GM started altering their cars each year and introduced the idea of “model years.” Now it’s standard practice for all auto manufacturers and car buyers. Yet none of us talk about “a 2010 printer” or “a 2009 HDTV.” As a result, equipment manufacturers are able to continue selling their old products as “brand new” for as long as their competitors don’t come out with a new feature that is a “must have” on everyone’s device. How are you defining the “model year” of your offerings?
Five dreaded words. Too often, when someone says “I’ll get back to you,” it’s a kiss-off. If only we believed “I’ll get back to you” really meant someone will follow up with quality information or a better answer, that would be great. So beware of and don’t use these dreaded five words OR mean it when you say it.
Who or what are you trusted sources? Malcolm Gladwell called them “Mavens” in his book, The Tipping Point. When was the last time you examined your sources and took an objective look at whether they are, in fact, really knowledgeable about the things you go to them for? When was the last time you actively sought to extend and expand your maven network?
What do you own that you think (or hope) you’ll never replace? Your refrigerator? Your mobile provider? Your dentist? Ask yourself what makes those products, services and people so irreplaceable in your life. And then ask yourself whether you’re that irreplaceable to your customers, as well.