Stefan Drew - The Marketing Magician

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

Stefan Drew - The Marketing Magician

Tag: marketing mistakes

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. 


Marketing Mistakes: Upselling or Downselling

Do you practice Upselling or Downselling?



Here is an example of how downselling can kill your sales.


I’m a great advocate of upselling.  You know the sort of thing. It is when you buy a pair of shoes and the salesperson suggest some shoe polish or leather protector.  McDonalds use the techniques extremely well when they ask you “Do you want fries with that?” 



If just 10% of customers accept the upsell you can sell a lot of extra product in a day.  With large companies like McDonalds it can result in £millions additional income a year worldwide.


I advocate upselling … but recently have seen downselling .. which I don’t advocate.


So what is downselling?


Downselling is where you fail to respond to the customer’s needs and often leads to the lose of a sale. 


Take for example an incident I saw last week.  Waiting in an English country pub to pay my bill I saw a classic example of downselling and a customer that became increasingly unhappy. 


The guy in front of me ordered two coffees and wanted to pay on a credit card. The coffee came to £4.60 and the barman said that there was £5 minimum order for credit card payments.  The customer said that he had already paid over £50 for a meal and just wanted to finish with a coffee. Apparently he had no cash so the credit card was his only option.


The barman suggested the customer increase his order … the customer said forget it and walked away very unhappy.


A few minutes later the unhappy customer came back and cancelled a table he had booked for the following weekend.


Of course we all have a choice regarding what form of payment we accept.  But is does make sense to display a notice if there is a minimum charge and be a bit flexible when the occasion arises.


There is a cost to the minimum charge scenario.  You lose the customer who tells all their friends what poor service they had. 


Checking a local foodie website I also found the customer had made an adverse comment on there .. so now thousands of people know about it!


 Of course you and I wouldn't ever make such a basic mistake as turning a good customer into a detractor .. or would we?  It might just be worthwhile standing back and looking at your processes.  Look for bottlenecks and problems .. but look at it from the customers' perspective.  If you don't find any get a friend or "mystery shopper" to test your process and challenge them to find problems.  If they find any, it could save you £thousands ….. and your reputation.