Everyone in the Minnesota area impatiently waits for this time of year; I don’t mean spring I mean Girl Scout cookie season. As our cookie supply kept fresh in the freezer starts to dwindle or is completely depleted we know we don’t need to go in search for a Girl Scout, we know they will come to us. This expert sales team entices us with eleven scrumptious flavors and their expected sales are estimated to be up 17.5% according to Chief Operating Officer Tisha Bolger. Even with the so called “rough economy” the Girl Scouts dominate in sales. Now why is that?
A Girl Scouts success isn’t due to the inability for consumers to say “no”, to a sweet innocent girl, their success is due to their persistence. Over the past four weeks I had 3 different Girl Scouts knock on my door and who knows how many times they tried while I was away.
Now let’s compare the Girl Scouts to the great frozen food company Schwan’s. I have been living in my home for over 5 years and noticed a Schwan’s truck stopping by my neighboring houses. Only after my brother became a Schwan’s employee did I received the honor of a Schwan’s sales person at my doorstep. After a year my brother left the company on good terms to another company, we haven’t seen the Schwan’s man since. The odd part is the Schwan’s truck still pulls up to my neighboring homes and parks at the local Holiday station for hours but doesn’t take the initiative to knock on a door. Now I wasn’t a “big account” but a small frequent purchaser from my brother.
Assuming that a few of my neighbors in my community have similar feelings, the Schwan's company could increase their revenue if they would follow the example of the Girl Scouts. They would have a noticeable increase in servicing accounts and sales. With the persistence of a Girl Scout, the Schwan’s company along with many other businesses could become more prosperous. That’s why Schwan’s President Greg Flack should start recruiting his sales force from the Girl Scouts. What do you think Mr. Flack?
As a business owner or manager, you are constantly deciding where to invest and allocate marketing resources. Before making your next marketing investment or decision, read HubSpots’ “The State of Inbound Marketing” research report. The report demonstrates the effectiveness of using blogs, social media and search engines for influencing business targets on a purchasing decision. Conversely, the traditional techniques of direct mail, telemarketing and trade shows are becoming less effective.
“The State of Inbound Marketing” surveyed 644 professional businesses’ marketing strategies. Each company recorded spending and distribution of marketing expenses in order to calculate the cost per lead. In this study, “inbound marketing” consisted of blogs, social media, SEO (Search Engine Optimization) and PPC (Pay Per Click). “Outbound marketing” consisted of traditional marketing tactics, such as telemarketing, trade shows and direct mail. To understand inbound and outbound marketing more thoroughly, read Brian Halligan’s blog, “Inbound Marketing vs. Outbound Marketing.”
In the research report, outbound marketing amounted to an average cost of $373 per lead, while inbound marketing came to $143 per lead— an astonishing 62% lower cost per lead than outbound marketing. Looking at the graph below (courtesy of HubSpot.com), blogs were reported as the least expensive strategy, while trade shows and other traditional marketing tactics, along with PPC, ranked significantly lower. Although PPC had a lower cost per than telemarketing and direct mail, all other outbound approaches were significantly higher.
For greater customer acquisition and cost effectiveness, social media, blogs and search engine optimization are obviously successful factors for businesses. These techniques should be considered and implemented in all marketing budgets. Have blogs, social media and SEO been factors in your business’ success?
Word of mouth is the most powerful marketing tactic, which can either help or hinder companies. Every visit and encounter between you and your staff with a customer is categorized and ranked by the customer. If the service is good or bad, it will be remembered and most likely be talked about. If the visit is non-eventful run of the mill encounter it is not thought about twice. It seems to me that the majority of my conversations with family, friends, and co-workers lead to places we have just been, places we want to go because we heard good things about it and always leads into places we will never go to again because of the service or quality.
“The average person who has a bad-service experience tells at least nine others about it and l3% of complaints relate their experience to more than 20 other peoples. In comparison, people who receive an excellent service only tell three or four others about it" - Research Institution of America
Triggering a Good Experience
- Be personable
- Make connection with customer make them feel like their business matters
- Listen to your customers
- Empathize with customers
- Exceed customer expectations
- Stay proactive and keep gathering customer service ideas
- Employee satisfaction directly correlates to quality customer satisfaction
Management at Culvers Connects
I had a memorable experience at St. Albert’s Church bazaar where the Albertville Culver’s catered in a stand. I have always enjoyed Culvers because of their great quality food and friendly service but at the bazaar, their service went above and beyond especially being out of their element with limited supplies on hand. My family and I ordered four corndogs and a pulled pork sandwich. The corn dogs were brought out to our table promptly but too promptly, I bit into mine and found that it was cold. I pondered just eating it but decide to take mine back so Culver’s was aware that their cooking time needed to be tweaked.
I brought it back to the counter where they apologized profusely and said that they would bring one out right away. Shortly after I sat down a Culver’s employee had followed me back and asked about the condition of our other corndogs we informed him that they were all cold but too hungry to wait for new ones. He apologized again and offered to bring out four new ones, which we declined since the other three were already devoured.
Management then made the decision and brought us over not just one but four new-cooked corn dogs. We were all pleasantly surprised by this gesture and commented on how this kind of exemplary service is needed at more places in order to gain customer loyalty. Thanks to Culvers initiative, they retained 5 loyal customers
Importance of Good Customer Service
- Customer retention
- Customer referrals
- Trigger a good experience worth talking about