Customer Service Strategy

customerservicestrategy

Taken from the Pret a Manager and Zappos website

Having a Strong Customer Service Strategy:

A Bain & Company survey found that only 8% of companies truly deliver a superior customer experience. Why is this so low? Well, many don’t realize that a good customer service strategy stems from the top. Attentive employees with clear communication skills hired through a leadership that calls for strong performance and commitment. It may seem easy, but in order for customer service to be successful, every member of the business must be committed to making it happen. So lets look at some businesses with superior customer service and see why their specific strategies are so successful.

Pret A Manager:

Heard of the “Pret Buzz”? This is what Pret A Manager hopes every customer experiences upon entering one of their locations. They believe that this is directly rooted through strong customer service that comes form hard working and dedicated employees. Pret A Manager uses different techniques to achieve this, one significant example being a staff rewards scheme. Every store has a mystery shopper each week who is looking for strong engagement with an employee. If the mystery shopper says they had a good experience, the team members at that specific location get extra pay. The company also gives performance rewards for good customer service where they can receive “Outstanding Cards” up to fifty pounds.

Zappos:

Their #1 core value is Deliver WOW through customer service. But how do they go about this? Zappos strongly focuses on their employees and have therefore created a five week revolutionary training program. It’s focus is to give new hires unique experience enabling them to understand what it means to truly commit to a company and make customers happy. At the end of just the first week, Zappos offers their trainees a $2000 bonus to leave the company! These kinds of proposals stay throughout the entirety of the process to let new hires embrace the realities of committing to a business and creating the best customer service.

From these two examples we see that customer service can be strong regardless of the type of business you run. Pret A Manager delivers it through face to face hospitality, while Zappos delivers it through friendly actions and employees talking to customers over the phone. These companies have built a strong foundation to really teach their employees what it means to have strong customer service. It clearly involves strong training and the employees being both emotionally and physically invested. From this, we have also found that a strong customer service strategy starts with strong leadership in your business. If management does they’re job with this, then so will employees. Then, they will be taught and motivated to treat every customer as if they are the store’s favorite, making every experience a happy one.

By Katelyn Fletcher

Types of loyalty plans

Which type of loyalty plan will benefit my business?

Every business has the goal to keep customer retention high while growing their new sales. But to achieve this perfect growth, we have found it important to make sure you are choosing the loyalty program best tailored to your company! Observing the category of your business can directly show you which plan works best. Whether that be a punch card or points system, we know it can be hard to understand which will improve your company while being exciting for your customers at the same time. So here are some helpful examples of highly successful companies with different strategies that are taking advantage of the plan that best suits their goals!

types.pngPinkberry: Punch Card System

We all know and love Pinkberry, and as a popular frozen yogurt franchise, Pinkberry has learned that it can greatly benefit from a strong punch card system because of their simple menu. Their Pinkcard plan allows any customer to receive a free yogurt after 10 purchases, as well as on their birthday! But why is it so successful? Well, first it’s extremely simple. Second, their customers quickly get excited about reaching a discounted or free item in the future that they already know and love. This gives the company better customer return which has increased sales.    

Sephora: Points System

Sephora is another well known international company that holds customer loyalty in high regard. However, Sephora’s quantity of merchandise and varying price points greatly differs from Pinkberry. Instead of strongly focusing on one product, Sephora sells many different items, making a punch card system practically impossible. So instead, they have chosen a points system that never fails to perfectly cater to all customers, regardless of what they purchase. With Beauty Insider, Sephora enables customers to quickly reach a “never-ending supply of beauty rewards”. With every item purchased the customer receives a point that leads them closer to their next beauty gift, including one on their birthday.

So which type of plan will work for me?

First, you must look at your company goals. Are you trying to sell one or a few basic products? Or does your business sell a multitude of different items in a large price range?

Selling a limited range of products: Go for a punch card system! This is a great way to get customers excited. Because who doesn’t love the word “free”? If you have a product being repeatedly purchased, this is the best choice to see positive outcomes. It is a direct incentive for your customers to keep returning and focus on your business rather than the competitors. This system works extremely well for companies such as cafe’s, frozen yogurt stores, car washes, and more!

Selling various products at different prices: If you are a company selling a variety of items or services, a point system is definitely best. With each purchase a customer can earn points and eventually earn a free or discounted item. A favorable aspect of a points system is that the customer might buy something in your store to receive points instead of at a competitor. This creates an opportunity for your sales to increase and turn your new customers into repeat customers. A well implemented point system has the power to alter a customer’s buying habits without hurting your margins. Some types of businesses that benefit most from a point system are restaurants, hair salons, and department and retail stores because of their wide range of products, services, and prices.

By Katelyn Fletcher

5 Steps to Keep Customers Loyal

Customer loyalty is important – everyone know this. What we are noticing, however, is that many small business owners are undervaluing its true prominence in determining future success. First time customers are great and getting people in the door for the first time is half the battle – but how do you get these customers to return time and time again? They key is a comprehensive customer retention strategy. We get it, it’s easier said than done and that’s why the Trezoro team has come up with a simple 5-step plan to get your business on the route to customer loyalty.

  1. Internal Audit: Start by taking a look at your own business and be sure that everything is running smoothly internally. What’s our work environment like? Are staff members enthusiastic about their work? Are our day-to-day processes well thought out and efficient? These questions are just a sample of many that business owners should be considering. You can’t expect customers to be confident in your business until you yourself are confident. In other words, its important to make sure the behind the scenes portion is perfected so you can put your best foot forward when interacting with customers.
  1. Implement a loyalty scheme: Rewarding return patrons will give customers a tangible reason to come back to your store. Attaining new customers is a lot more expensive than retaining your current ones. It will also lead to increased customer profitability and lower account maintenance cost. You can achieve this by compensating existing customers with deals, discounts and freebees to incentivize return business.
  1. Involve your staff: A company’s staff has the potential to be its greatest asset, so it’s important for business owners to keep their employees in the loop. Its likely that they are the primary form of communication with customers, so making them aware of the objectives and benefit of the loyalty scheme will help them pass this information on. Plus, an informed staff member is likely to deliver better customer service, another crucial component of customer loyalty.
  1. Use your data: For businesses, the best part of loyalty schemes is the customer data that is provided as a result of its usage. This data can gives companies insights on their customers and helps analyze buying behaviors and consumer preferences. In this respect, businesses have the ability to target their promotional efforts effectively. Rather than using mass marketing, consider sending only relevant offers to customers. This will foster stronger business to consumer relationships and make your customers feel valued and understood.
  1. Meet Expectations: Even with a perfect loyalty scheme, if the product or service you are selling doesn’t live up to its expectations it is likely that customers won’t return. With that being said, businesses should avoid making promises they cant keep. Focus on delivering consistent quality to customers to foster a trusting relationship and keep them coming back for more.

Coffee Shop Economics – The Secret to Profitability

We recently watched Andrew Tolley’s talk on ‘coffee shop economics’ that took place at Barista Camp a little over a month ago. What he had to say was eye opening, to say the least. The overarching theme of the talk was the importance of profitability and its significance in successful coffee shop ventures. As the formula states: (Revenue – Costs = Operating Profit). So it seems easy, right? The key to a profitable business only requires that your revenues outweigh your costs. The Trezoro team understands that this is easier said than done, so we’re here to expand on Tolley’s formula to give you tips towards maximizing your revenue.

So what is revenue exactly? In its simplest terms, revenue is the income that a business has from its normal business activities. Tolley breaks it down into three main components: (Market Size x Regularity x Basket Size = Revenue). Lets break it down a bit further.

Market Size: Market size is basically just how many customers your shop has. Factors that affect this include location, competition and demographics.

  1. Location: Picking a location is crucial to coffee shop profitability. Some things to think about include: the amount of foot traffic surrounding your shop, distance from public transportation or a residential area v. an area packed with offices.
  2. Competition: How many other shops are within your proximity?
  3. Demographics: Knowing your local market is crucial. Market research can be expensive, but it’s an investment that will yield returns. Results will give insights to shop owners regarding product offerings, pricing and promotional efforts.

Regularity: Regularity is simply how often your customers are coming in. Coffee shop owners can increase regularity in the following ways:

  1. Convenience: Of course this is easier said then done, but as we said before, location is key. A customer is more likely to regularly buy from a shop that is on their way to work than from one that sends them on a detour. People value their time, especially in a buzzing city like London.
  2. Loyalty Schemes: They give customers a tangible reason to return to your shop. Working towards that 5th free cup of coffee will incentivise customers to visit your shop more often. To get further ahead of the competition, go digital and try a mobile loyalty app.
  3. Customer Service: Everyone likes a friendly barista and their cup of coffee in a timely fashion. Pinpoint what’s important to your customers and focus on creating the best possible experience for them. One bad experience can cost you a customer to the shop next door.

Basket Size: This is the transaction value of your customers on average. How much are they spending each time they visit your shop and how can you increase this number?

  1. Menu Variety: It may be easier for shops to simply focus on coffee; however, people are often looking for something to eat as well. Adding food items to your menu can help increase the average transaction value of your customers.
  2. Barista efficiency: An efficient barista will be able to maximize the number of drinks produced. The faster you can make drinks, the faster you can sell them, which ultimately leads to increase revenue. Key elements of attaining full effectiveness include: comprehensive barista training, investing in worthy equipment and proper equipment maintenance.
  3. Upselling: There’s always something more you can offer your customers and a knowledgeable barista can help make this possible. If someone orders a cappuccino everyday, it may be worthwhile to respectfully offer him or her your latest filter coffee, or ask them if they’d like to add on a sandwich or pastry.

To view the full talk visit: https://youtu.be/fCJdI8-kxA0

Picture: Andrew Tolley, co founder of Taylor St Baristas & Harris + Hoole.

Picture from: Barista Guild of Europe

Dominos – The Power of Customer Feedback

Dominos was named America’s favorite pizza brand, according to statistics from the 2015 Brand Keys customer engagement index . When asked what they attributed this recognition to they responded with “by listening to our customers”. Customer feedback has driven Dominos to revamp their almost 50-year-old recipe, expand their menu and implement technological innovations like their mobile loyalty app and the beloved online pizza tracker – don’t lie, we’ve all found joy in watching the cartoon pizza chef prepare a faux order for us while we waited for the real deal.

Anyways, Dominos is a perfect example of a company that successfully utilised customer feedback to create brand loyalty. The Trezoro team excels in mobile loyalty apps so the Dominos case got us thinking. The following are tips that can help businesses improve their customer feedback systems and follow in the footsteps of the much-loved pizza giant.

  1. Acknowledge Feedback: First of all, if a customer takes the time to provide your business with feedback, good or bad, it’s important you get back to them. Take this recent statistic from a UK customer engagement survey for example: 43% of consumers surveyed said that they don’t complain/leave feedback because they don’t think the business cares. However, 81% of these consumers said they would be willing to give feedback if they knew they would get a faster response. By acknowledging customer feedback in a timely manner businesses can generate more of it, as customers will see the value in taking the time to submit.
  2. Put Feedback to Use: We get it; sometimes the feedback we receive from customers isn’t what we’d like to hear. However, its important to remember that happy customers are profitable customers and profitable customers keep businesses afloat. Whiny patrons seem like a pain at the time, but they’re actually doing your business a favor. They’re probably saying what a lot of others are thinking, so it’s important to treat feedback seriously and take action when appropriate.
  3. Identify Best Customers: Customer feedback allows businesses to classify their best customers and to turn them into company advocates. Word of mouth is a hidden promotional gem, as it is both credible and free of cost to a business. Customer advocates with no financial stake in a business serve as a more trusted source of promotion than efforts coming directly from the company. Businesses should therefore identify these ‘best customers’ and continue to keep them happy.
  4. Social Media Listening: Asking for customer feedback directly can often result in sugarcoated responses. Monitoring what people say about your business on social media, however, gives companies the opportunity to see what customers are – for lack of a better phrase – saying behind their back. Today’s digital society allows customer to post whatever they want about a business on social media and reach masses of people instantly. This serves as both a blessing and a curse for businesses so it’s crucial that they oversee it carefully.

Picture courtesy of Dominos website

Loyalty schemes in the age of the ‘Millennials’

2015 was named ‘Year of the Millennial Consumer’ by Forbes magazine, and certainly with good reason. As the largest generation in world history they are soon predicted to have the largest purchasing power in the consumer market – more than the boomers! These are the consumers businesses need to be appealing to, so knowing a thing or two about them is worth your while.

So you’ve got a loyalty scheme – that’s great. But what type of loyalty scheme will appeal to this new generation of millennial consumers? It’s important to lock them into brand loyalty early on so your business can see financial profits later. Here are a few tips from the Trezoro team that’ll help your business do just that:

Go paperless. The Millennial consumers are mobile obsessed. They grew up with technology, so naturally they are mobile experts. Ease of use and convenience is not only desired – it’s expected. You can’t rely on this generation to go fishing through their wallet to find that flimsy stamp card they got two weeks ago – because they just won’t. With the introduction of new technology like Google Wallet and Apple Pay, the mobile will act as a wallet entirely and eventually defeat their purpose. Your loyalty scheme should most definitely be digital to avoid extinction.

Make it fun. This may sounds silly, but its true. Millennial consumers are drawn to loyalty schemes that feature a competitive aspect. Take this statistic for example: 27% of millennials continue using a loyalty program because it features elements like leaderboards, badges or levels. Only 7% of baby boomers feel the same. This is a serious gap and just goes to show how drastically consumer preferences are changing among generations. Consider adding to your loyalty scheme features that let consumers track their progress and give rewards to acknowledge achievement as they reach certain levels.

Add a social element: Millennials are a generation that seeks approval from others, especially their friends. Socializing and consuming are done simultaneously so a friend’s opinion is likely to influence their own. Consider linking your loyalty scheme to different social media platforms so these consumers can share their progress with their followers on applications like Twitter, Instagram and Facebook. This option will satisfy the millennials desire for social approval, while spreading brand awareness for your business. Everyone wins!

Photo from: vicimediainc