Stefan Drew - The Marketing Magician

FE, Education & Business Marketing: Quick, Effective, Low Cost Marketing

Stefan Drew - The Marketing Magician

Tag: customer care

Are You Driving Your Customers to your Competitors

How Local Businesses are making Customer Service or Marketing Errors and driving their customers to their competitors.


A story of bad practice and lost opportunities

Earlier today I went to my local garden centre.  It was pouring with rain, the temperature was 3C but I needed a new spade to do a job that day. Having to face working in the rain later wasn’t making me happy and when I got to the garden centre all the parking spaces near the doors were flooded.   

After a dash through the pouring rain I eventually got in to the centre, found a spade and made it to the check out.  The lady on the check out couldn’t read the bar code and, wet and cold, I was left waiting while she called for help.


Sadly this isn’t the first time I’ve had problems at the checkout here.  The business has spent several hundred thousand on new buildings to house other retailers, have installed close circuit cameras and carried out other work … but basic things like sorting out the puddles and bar code scanners, that affect every customer has been neglected.

The thing is, because of the problems, I often drive past this garden centre and go to another one a few miles further on .. but today I thought I’d try to save some time.   I wish I hadn’t bothered! 


Do All Businesses Drive Customers Away?

Then I got to think about my own business.   Perhaps I’m as bad.  OK I don’t have a customer car park or a bar code scanner but I do have customers and perhaps I don’t serve them as they would wish.

So as soon as I got home I abandoned the digging idea (it was only one plant that needed removing and it is really best done in drier weather).  I sat down and thought about my businesses “customer touch points”.  

These are the places where customers touch you .. via your adverts, website, phone, email, office/retail space.  And I tried to take a customer perspective.  It isn’t easy and I’ll be getting some customers to comment later, but it is good practice to check these things from time to time.  


What Would Your Customers and Prospects Say About Your Business

If you were to ask your customers about the “puddles and bar code scanners” in your business what would they say?

Where are you upsetting and losing customers?

What can you do better? 

How can you stop losing customers and their business?


It might not just be existing customers that are being upset.  It might be that the SEO on your website is poor and you aren’t even getting the website visitors. 


What Stratford upon Avon Teaches About Marketing

I recently visited Stratford upon Avon and learnt a lot about marketing and Customer Care.


OK , so some of it wasn’t new but what I observed did reinforce a lot of what I teach others every day.  Stratford, with its Shakespearean connections, is a tourist centre so is busy all year around with tourists coming from over 200 countries.  So you could argue it doesn’t have to try too hard to satisfy visitors as many will never return anyway.  But Stratford businesses seem not to think like that.

What i encountered was some of the best customer service I’ve seen in the UK, or anywhere else, for years.   Shop staff were very friendly and helpful and this was remarkable as it is so lacking in many places.  Of course it should be standard for any business.  After all a smile costs nothing but can win a sale!


The staff in the Stratford shops smiled a lot.  When I payed for items they asked if I had found everything I was after and when, in one shop I said no, sent someone to find the item I wanted.  that cost them nothing but resulted in another sale for them.  It is a bit like McDonalds “Do you want fries with that” question.  It costs nothing but increases sales.


Now I’m not a lover of fast food or fast coffee but Stratford didn’t disappoint here either.  Learn more about that this on my post entitled How Coffee Shops Can Sell More and Make More Profit.


My trip to Stratford was made on a cold but sunny winter day when the number of tourists was low … but I did see one group of at least 100 Chinese people and wondered how much they spent locally.  The great thing is Stratford recognised that keeping tourists and locals happy is the key to profit and that it doesn’t cost anything but courtesy to achieve this.