Article of the Month
Find 'em, hire 'em, groom 'em, keep 'em
The September 2008 article of the month deals with the issue that I mentioned in the business advisory - customer service. Staff members that are able to provide quality service don't just grow on trees or walk in.
To have these great people, you have to make an effort to find them, then hire them (this may mean letting someone else go) and then groom them (this means committing to a staff education program). And then create a great business atmosphere so that you can keep them.
Read about it in this months's article.
Click on Article of the Month to read this article.
Book of the Month
This book covers the aspect of a multi-channel retailer. It details how businesses become more valuable to their customers by allowing them to shop in the manner they want - be it Internet, catalog, or by visiting your store.
As you read this, don't think you have to have a 100 page color catalog and a website with thousands of items. The important factor is that you make your business available to the customer.
We have more books to suggest for your reading. Click on Book Referralto visit this page on our site.
We have a lot of new information on the e-ret@iler conversations blog. We invite you to add your comments, ideas, and observations.
Visit our e-ret@iler conversations, find the category of interest and post your comments, questions or best practices. You may also go directly to one of our categories by clicking on one of the links below.
- Employee Issues
- Financial Management
- General Discussion
- Sales Techniques
- Vendor Issues
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There is one thing about businesses that I just don't understand. Why is it that after a customer has done business with a store that we don't ask them about their experience. Recent experiences I have observed included a car rental, a weekend golf cart rental in an adult community, and a cell phone service provider.
With each of the three, the experience of the customer, even though it was a poor experience, could help the business to provide the next customer with a quality product and service; there was a performance problem with each of the vehicles, and the cell phone provider had an employee that was having more than just a bad day.
The car rental check in person asked a token question with an obvious disinterest in an answer. The golf cart rental never asked about the customer's experience with a defective cart, and when the cellular service customer got their first phone bill there was $100 in additional service billings that the customer did not order. The local manager of the cell phone company was not interested in hearing about the performance of their employee according to the experience of the customer.
Other than poor customer service and a lack of interest in a customer, what do all three businesses share in common? They all advertise based upon price. When you advertise based on price, you are also planning to exist on lower margins.
Especially in these tough economic times, do you want to get into the low price (low margin) game with a big box? Low price advertising has a lot of businesses that are in this arena.
It is not just the observation of these three example; there are way too few businesses that are focusing on doing something exceptional with their customer. Read a recent blog entry in e-retailer conversations and see how a study of Canadian customers is showing a low tolerance of slow customer service. Good! Maybe some stores will figure out they cannot neglect their customers.
There is nothing; absolutely nothing that is more important than the customer coming in your store.
Internet Tip of The Month
Small business knowledge test
This calculator is a 20 question multiple choice assessment of basic retail terminology. As you make your choices, and hit the enter button, you get an immediate response from our website letting you know what your grade is, which questions you got right and which questions you missed.
We trust you will enjoy and learn.
Small business knowledge test
The Power Promoting Idea of the Month
What is 'power promoting'?
Instead of sharing a promotional idea this month, we want to take a pause to explain the concept and why you should make it a part of your business.
We have recently seen several articles on the concept called, 'viral marketing'. As we read details of what constitutes this new viral marketing we find that it is the same as the power promoting that we have talked about for years.
Here are the six key aspects of both:
1. Delayed gratification. Traditional advertising is often 'item and price'. And you know very quickly whether or not it works. Power promoting can be created to not have a specific deadline.
2. Giving something for free. And while you may think you cannot afford this, remember that the budget for power promoting comes from your advertising budget.
3. Easy to duplicate. See a neat promotion in a dress shop? Most power promoting ideas can easily be adapted to any other type of store. It is easy to make changes to, and it is easy to get customers to participate in.
4.Most power promoting ideas will work regardless of the size of your business.
5. Power promoting plays off of what most people want, but don't get, in their doing business with a store. Those components are: fun, unique, exciting, and getting something they didn't expect.
When you visit our resources center, you can order either of power promoting books. One has a red cover and the other has a blue cover. There are also two books on 'power managing'. These books have a green cover and a yellow cover. While we would be glad to sell you any of these books, if you look on the Profits Plus website at any of the past issues of the e-ret@iler, you will find a power promoting idea in each issue. You can order your copy by clicking on the link below; each book is only $9.95 plus postage.
Profits Plus Resource Center
September starts one of the busy seasons of our business. In the fall I do love my beloved Razorback football, but as is the tradition of my business, I am not at a stopping point too often to get the chance to see a game - live or on tv. I am also reminded that I am on the road for the birthday of our daughter, Amanda.
As we get back on the road, here is my current schedule of appearances for the next two months:
September 7 Montreal, Quebec
September 10 Springfield, Massachusetts
September 17 Golden, Colorado
September 18 Sacramento, California
September 20 Waterloo, Ontario
September 21 Toronto, Ontario
September 23 Las Vegas, Nevada
September 24 Wooster, Ohio
September 25-26 Toledo, Ohio
September 30 Nashville, Tennessee
October 11 Las Vegas, Nevada
October 14-16 Laramie, Wyoming
October 19 Fort Worth, Texas
October 21 Providence, Rhode Island
October 26 Minneapolis, Minnesota
October 28-29 Hendersonville, North Carolina
October 30 Morganton, North Carolina
The online calendar is kept up to date as well as includes our extended calendar. My family calls this page,