January 25, 2015

CONTROL: Apple’s Secret to Delivering a Consistently Good Retail Experience

photo: apple.com

The short lesson from this article about Apple’s retail experience is that if you want people to have a consistently good experience with your store, you must CONTROL everything. No element of your store’s experience should be left up to a random element of choice as decided by an hourly employee.

A 2007 employee training manual lays out the A-P-P-L-E “steps of service” with an acronym of the company name: “Approach customers with a personalized warm welcome,” “Probe politely to understand all the customer’s needs,” “Present a solution for the customer to take home today,” “Listen for and resolve any issues or concerns,” and “End with a fond farewell and an invitation to return.” It is reportedly still in use today.

Freedom comes on the other side of control. How are you controlling the experience in your store?


Soundbites: Mistake #9 – Great Production That Missed The Mark

This is Mistake #9 of the 12 Most Common Mistakes in Advertising, as presented in On Your Market. [Read more...]

3 Ways to Make the Caller's Experience Reflect Your Customers

Guest post by Chester Hull

DSP 168: Broken Mirror 2007-11-01

The human mind is hyper-tuned to detect irregularities in our environment. There are entire websites dedicated to pointing out the irregularities in films and TV shows! This is exactly the reason companies develop "Brand Books", or brand guideline manuals. Every customer interaction with that particular brand is specified to deliver the same experience (or at least one that is congruent with other touch-points).

The same thing applies to how customers interact with your business. Is the Caller Experience they receive congruent with the In-Store Experience? You need to design your Caller Experience so that a customer calling in to check a price, ask a question, or even find out what your hours are for the day, has a similar experience to walking in your front door.

So how do you do that? Here are 3 ways to make that Caller Experience coordinate with your retail environment:

1. Match the banners.

Have your Auto-Attendant message read the same posters, slogans,and sale signs that are hanging throughout your store. Rack Room Shoes is famous for there BOGO sales. But when callers are on the phone, do they know when a BOGO Sale is happening? Let them know the moment the phone is answered. You can also accomplish a similar thing by having these messages play to customers while On-Hold.

2. Match the theme, style, and atmosphere.

We worked with a client who played this for callers On-Hold:   
…while when you walked in to one of their retail locations, you were greeted with this from the strategically placed speakers:
(Verve Remixed, Quantic Soul Orchestra and other "Euro-pop" sounds) 

When someone walks into your business, are they greeted by your staff in fashion-forward suits? Is the lighting progressive and modern? Is the overhead music unique, cultured, and hip? Make sure your On-Hold message uses those same elements to reinforce the in-store experience, even to a caller on the phone!

3. Match the upcoming events.

ExperienceEconomyBook More and more stores are becoming Experience Destinations, with much more than shopping. Special events, members-only activities, after-hours community functions, and even film screenings are becoming more and more normal at brand retailers. Your walk-in clientle may see annoucements and information about these events.

But what about the customers that call in over the phone? You have a prime opportunity to reach them with information they would otherwise not know. Inform your callers through your Auto-Attendant or On-Hold message, and you will be automatically reaching the people that are already interested in your business! The ways your customer interacts with your company or brand are very important touch-points. Make them incongruent, and you will upset your customer's sense of  connectedness to your company. Keep them consistent across the phone, website, and in-store experience, and you will draw your customer closer to your business.

Chester Hull owns ProsoundUSA, a company dedicated to improving the experience of being on hold by providing great on hold messages. He's a client of mine.

Sniffing for Market Share

I've already talked about how this is a good time of year to work on the Personal Experience Factor of your business if the holidays aren't your busy time.

So…how do you actually go about deciding which improvements to make in your store, office or shop?

There are hundreds of ways to evaluate your PEF, and taking a global look at it will likely put you in paralysis by analysis. Yet, there's no better or direct way of grabbing precious market share away from your competitors.

Want a shortcut?

Come to your 5 senses!

What I mean is simplify the process by using your senses to rank competitors and look for opportunities and vulnerabilities. Make yourself a simple chart with the 5 senses across the top and your list of competitors along the side. Be sure to save ample room to make notes in your grid.

Now, go to your competitor's locations and have a look around. Make mental notes around the 5 senses.

[Read more...]

The rest of the Pret A Manger story

PretbreadIf the CNN story in the previous post got you interested in Pret A Manger, check out their web site. Holy cow. These people are serious about their business and it’s quality. And they say so with no uncertainty or big corporate-speak. I like these people.

I’m heading to NYC next week, and Pret A Manger is on my to-do list.

From their “Good Jobs for Good People” page:

We employ many different nationalities, and value the cosmopolitan feel this gives the company.

Twice a year, we throw a massive party. Some have passed into Pret legend. Everyone at Pret is invited.

We have an in-house ‘ideas department’. Postage paid ideas cards and prizes are reviewed each month. There are thousands of bright ideas that could help Pret be a better, kinder, easier place to work and shop.