Happy Freakin’ Monday Ep 18 – Greatest Lesson In Customer Service

This is the greatest customer service lesson I learned when working in retail. It’s simple, it is “always return the toaster.”

Let’s say that someone came to your business, to return a toaster but the problem is that you don’t sell toasters. What do you do?

Well this actually happened once when I was working at a “Sporting Lifestyle” store. If you don’t know what that means, it’s just a pretentious way of saying that they don’t sell equipment that you might expect but instead mostly clothing and even Prada activewear. So they definitely were not in the business of selling toasters.

One day a customer came in with a toaster in a bag, no box, no receipt, and they wanted to return it. There was no convincing them that they did not purchase the toaster from that store. They were certain that they bought it there, paid $30 and they were not satisfied so they wanted their money back.

Now here is the situation, I’m not saying that you should let people take advantage of you but look at the big picture. In this case, the customer had a purchase history, they spent a lot of money at the store, multiple times in the past. We knew this because the store asked for your phone number and kept a record of sales by customer number. Despite that, there was no record of a toaster being purchased nor was that item even in the system. Yet the customer still wouldn’t back down.

Also I will say, in their defence, there was a small table near the checkout where a lot of odd nicknacks would end up. With that in mind, there was a slight chance that they did in fact purchase it from that store... but still unlikely.

So what did the manager do? They returned it and gave the customer a $30 in-store credit. Because at the end of the day that is the equivalent of maybe a 10% discount or less based on average sales at that store. It’s was nothing to make that person happy and to send them in to the store to shop instead of storming out to tell everyone about the terrible experience they had.

From that experience I learned the very definition of the cliche “the customer is always right” and I never forgot. So if you ever find yourself in a similar situation just remember to always, always, always return the toaster.

See you next week!

Happy Freakin’ Monday Ep 16 – 2 Tactics for Customer Retention

School’s out for summer. What does that mean for your marketing? Does your business slow down or speed up this time of year?

No matter what your seasonality it’s important to keep your marketing going even when your audience is on vacation. However, instead of focusing on acquiring new customers, a slow season can be a perfect time to focus on retention. That is holding onto your own customer base by bringing them back for more and here are 2 ways to do that.

  1. Focus on customer service. When you can leave your customers wowed, they are more likely to come back. Not to mention if your customers are raving about an amazing experience that can often be the best word of mouth marketing.
  2. Customer appreciation. Time to give back, to say thank you in a big way. Try throwing a party, mailing out coupons or gifts, or wow just one customer.

If you do a big giveaway consider capturing it on video. There’s often a marketing opportunity hidden within public events. A video is a great way to amplify that story. A great example is the WestJet Christmas Miracle campaign that WestJet runs every year.

Do you have a great retention strategy that you want to share?

See you next week!

Happy Freakin’ Monday Ep 15 – 3 Ways To Lock Down Your Brand Like A Bank

If your graphic designer asks you for your logo and you send them a pixelated jpeg, then you have a problem. Or worse, you say to them, “if that doesn’t work, try this one...” attaching an equally low resolution image that looks different from the original logo.

My experience with brand consistency came from working with banks. I’ve worked with some of the top banks in Canada and if anyone ever used a pixelated or altered logo, the brand police would shut it down faster than they can charge you arbitrary fees.

That’s because their Brand guidelines are like the law and rightfully so. Consistency in your marketing is so vitally important because it is repetition and recognition that will keep you top of mind. Your brand is the root that holds it all together.

Working with TD Bank several years ago, I saw their brand guidelines go from a pdf file approximately 350 pages to an extensive web portal with restricted access where they could control all of the assets and information as well as who has access to it.

You probably don’t have a multi-million dollar marketing budget but here are three simple ways to lock down your brand consistency like a bank:

  1. Ask for the working files. When it comes to your logo, make sure you ask your designer for the working files. Either a .eps or .ai file, whatever they used to design your logo, you need that original master. Store it in a safe place and make sure that any new designers use that file.
  2. Do not let anyone alter your logo. I cannot tell you how many times I’ve seen logos embellished with drop shadows, colors changed, or reoriented to fit a certain application. No, no, and absolutely no. the only reason your logo should be altered is if you’re doing a complete rebrand which involves changing every instance of your old logo that’s out there.
  3. Define your brand elements. You don’t need a 350 page branding guideline document, but if you can throw together a simple word document that outlines a few elements that will set you up for killer consistency. From print, to web, and digital, anyone who does design or even video production for you should know these key elements:
    • Brand colors - what are they include RGB (for web and video) and CMYK (for print) color values.
    • Secondary Colors - same goes for these.
    • Brand fonts - if you can include the font files too, I swear, your designer will hug you.
    • Any other design elements - include details about how they should be used.

When you understand the importance of brand consistency you will soon become your own brand police. It’s easy once you take these 3 simple steps to spot inconsistency when a designer hands you something with a logo that’s been altered or uses off-brand fonts or colors.

So when it comes to your branding, my advice is to think like a bank and protect it like gold. Just don’t charge as many fees... because no one likes that.

See you next week!