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[Entrepreneurs Beware] Smartphones Kill Customer Service

Entrepreneurs Beware-NY Restaurant Comparison Chart
Entrepreneurs find opportunity in change. We share some ideas in this BIGG Success Show Podcast. Click play to listen to George & Mary-Lynn

The entrepreneur behind a busy New York restaurant wondered why they kept getting bad reviews. So they hired an outside consultant who suggested they review surveillance video.

They found a tape from ten years ago and compared it to a similar recent day. The entrepreneur posted the results anonymously on Craigslist.

We created a table above to show their findings side-by-side:

Entrepreneurs beware! These results are staggering. Smartphones are killing customer service. Here are the details:

Notes for Entrepreneurs

1) Different seat
Customers are more demanding than ever. Ten years ago, only about 7% (3 of 45) of this entrepreneur’s customers requested a different seat. Today, 40% (18 of 45) do.

Meanwhile – customer service levels seem to be falling as many businesses try to make do with less people or fewer labor hours.

It spells o-p-p-o-r-t-u-n-i-t-y for entrepreneurs dedicated to the customer experience! We’ll talk about this more below.

2) Time to place order
Smartphones distract customers. Ten years ago – it took a customer just 8 minutes to order after they had been seated. Now it takes over twice as long, 18 minutes. Here’s why:

A server brought the customer a menu. 7 of the 45 say they are having trouble connecting to the restaurant’s WIFI. The server spent 5 minutes helping them.

How do you signal your server that you’re ready to order? A closed menu. In this case, it usually meant the customer hadn’t opened the menu yet. They were too busy with their phone. The customer asked for more time.

The server made three trips to the table before the customer orders. Their phone generally never leaves their hand.

3) Food returned
The server began delivering food in about 6 minutes. This is the same timeframe as 10 years ago. But now, of the 45 customers:

  • 26 spent 3 minutes taking photos of the food
  • 14 took pictures of each other with the food
  • 27 asked their server to take a group photo
  • 14 of these 27 weren’t happy with the photo and asked the server to retake it

In total, customers spent 4 minutes taking photos themselves. Servers spent 5 minutes taking photos instead of serving other customers.

Guess what happened in the meantime? Their food got cold! So 9 of the 45 sent it back. Only 2 did so 10 years ago.

4) Exit time
10 years ago – after paying their bill, a customer left in 5 minutes. Now, they play on the phone and don’t leave for 20 minutes.

Incidentally, they’re so busy looking at their phone – as they exited the restaurant, 8 of the 45 bumped into other customers or servers.

5) Total time
Little things make BIGG differences. Time has a nasty habit of ticking away. It takes almost twice as long for this restaurant to turn a table today, compared to 10 years ago (1:55 versus 1:05 respectively).

Entrepreneurs Need Smart Tactics

The entrepreneur concludes: “We are grateful for everyone who comes into our restaurant, after all there are so many choices out there. But can you please be a bit more considerate?”

The two of us always remember the three rules of customer service:

Rule 1: The customer is always right.
Rule 2: If the customer is ever wrong, re-read Rule 1.
Rule 3: The customer is not always reasonable.

Perhaps we need to add “or considerate” to Rule 3. As we said earlier, customers are more demanding than ever. Apparently, they want to spend their dining experience with their smartphone.

You can ask them not to do it. But we doubt the request will be honored.

We wonder how they’ve stayed in business. With the time to turn a table at double what it was ten years ago, have they raised their prices?

So what can they do? Here are a few thoughts:

  • Hire a digital concierge

This is the “if you can’t beat them, join them” strategy. Bring on a staff member dedicated to digital.

They could check in with customers soon after they’re seated to make sure they’ve been able to access WIFI.

Once their food arrives, they could go to the table to take a group photo. Further, they could remind people to check in on Foursquare, solicit “likes” on Facebook, etc.

  • Limit the choice

Think of this as “an object in motion stays in motion” strategy. For example, you may offer a “daily deal” on a few appetizers. The customer can make a quick choice. You get the food coming their way quicker.

Instead, you may test a limited menu – customers could “pick one” from a short list in each category: appetizer, soup or salad, entrée, dessert.

  • Promote digital-free dining

Consider this the “take up a cause” strategy. You want to encourage experiences, instead of recordings of experiences. You want to be an oasis from the hyper-busyness.

Obviously, this won’t appeal to everyone. That’s the beauty of it – you’ll naturally attract like-minded customers. You may test it at certain times of the day to start.

Note the divergence between the first strategy and the last. They’re polar opposites! One encourages digital while the other denies it.

Entrepreneurs get to choose. Which works best for your customers?

Direct link to The Bigg Success Show audio file | podcast:
http://traffic.libsyn.com/biggsuccess/00898-073114.mp3

Bootstrap Marketing: Unknown Entrepreneur Defeats Established Competitor

Bootstrap Marketing-David vs Goliath

Bootstrap marketing helped an unknown entrepreneur pull off one of the biggest political upsets in history. Click PLAY to hear George & Mary-Lynn share the story and lessons for any business and brand on the BIGG Success Show Podcast.

Bootstrap marketing™ is generating outsized results with limited resources. We recently saw it in action in, of all places, an election.

But this is not a story about politics. It shows David can still beat Goliath.

Before we get started, one quick note: We’re not taking sides. We’re not endorsing anybody. We’re not commenting on the results. We’re simply offering up some lessons that we entrepreneurs can take away from it.

Bootstrap Marketing Leads to Victory

As you may know, political novice Dave Brat defeated well-known House Majority Leader Eric Cantor. Not by a little bit. By a lot.

The Washington Post called it one of the biggest political upsets of all time. How much of an upset? No sitting Majority Leader has ever lost in a primary.

The unknown entrepreneur used bootstrap marketing to defeat his much more established, well-known competitor. Let’s dissect this story to find out how.

Bootstrap Marketing Lesson 1: Money isn’t everything

Brat spent $122,793 during the race while Cantor laid out $5,026,626, according to Open Secrets. In fact, the New York Times reports that Cantor’s campaign spent $168,637 on steak dinners alone – more than Brat spent in total!

Stated differently, Cantor spent nearly $41 for every $1 Brat spent. Yet Brat won.

Money isn’t everything. Think bootstrap marketing to find ways to outmaneuver bigger spending competitors.

Bootstrap Marketing Lesson 2: It pays to play to the media

Brat got interviewed by top conservative radio hosts. It was the kind of media exposure he couldn’t afford. Yet it’s also the kind of media money can’t buy. So it means more than advertising.

The media business is more fragmented today than ever. They’re hungry for great storylines. They have an audience they need to keep tuned in.

What do people want or need to know about your product or service?

Let’s take a tough example – does a plumber have anything to say of interest to the media and their audience? Sure, a plumber could talk about home safety, the latest technology, etc.

Think bootstrap marketing to craft a media-worthy topic. Then pitch it to media outlets in your area to start.

Bootstrap Marketing Lesson 3: Look for neglected customers

On the night of the election, Cantor wasn’t in his district. He was in Washington D.C. People felt he was more interested in national politics than the local scene.

As a bootstrap marketing practitioner, keep your ear to the ground. People talk about their experiences – especially their bad ones.

Sometimes the best marketing isn’t what you do. It’s what your competitor doesn’t do.

Bootstrap Marketing Lesson 4: Craft a message which drives people to act

Inside the D.C. Beltway, Cantor was a shoe-in. They weren’t giving the race much attention. No one, it seemed, expected the results to be close.

And they weren’t. But not in the way the political insiders thoughts. Brat received 56% of the vote while Cantor only got 44% – a thumping which rarely seen by incumbents. Source: NPR

He highlighted three key issues when he announced his candidacy: (1) fix the economy, (2) restore the checks-and-balances stated in the Constitution, and (3) end crony capitalism in Washington. Source: Huffington Post

Simple. Concise. Invigorating – at least to his target market. Voter turnout was up in the district 28% over 2012 – a Presidential election year. Unheard of! Source: Washington Post

How can you craft a message which turns prospects into customers? Do something most people in business don’t: talk with your customers! You can’t afford not to do this when you’re in bootstrap marketing mode.

Find out what they were thinking as they moved along the buyer’s journey. Get inside their heads so you know what sparked them to vote with their dollars.

Bootstrap Marketing Lesson 5: Make your brand a conduit for expression

Your brand is an expression of you. But it becomes so much more when it becomes an outlet for others to make a statement.

People vote for and against simultaneously. For supporters, a vote for Brat was a vote for a new beginning. It was also a vote against the Washington establishment.

The same is true in business. A vote for Pepsi is a vote against Coke. A vote for Apple is a vote against Android.

Bootstrap marketing necessitates creating connections. Your customers – current and future – want to connect with a concept, a feeling, a cause, and/or a community.

Your brand is a conduit – connect them so they can express themselves and you’ll be a BIGG success!

Why are you connected with your favorite brand?

Direct link to The Bigg Success Show audio file | podcast:
http://traffic.libsyn.com/biggsuccess/00897-061614.mp3

Image from Wikimedia

Lady Gaga and Business Owners have this in common

What Business Owners and Lady Gaga Have in Common

Business Owners and Lady Gaga have this in common

What do business owners and Lady Gaga have in common? A lot! Click PLAY to listen to George & Mary-Lynn on The BIGG Success Show Podcast or read the blog.

During a recent radio interview Lady Gaga said, “The truth is that it is very hard to be famous. It’s wonderful to be famous because I have amazing fans. But it is very, very hard to go out into the world when you are not feeling happy and act like you are.”

She sounds just like a business owner!

It’s hard for a business owner who is stressed out to greet her customers with a smile.

It’s hard for a business owner who can’t make payroll to look his employees in the eyes.

It’s hard for a business owner who isn’t making her projections, to explain it to her investors.

It’s hard for a business owner to be positive at a networking event when sales that day weren’t so good.

Lady Gaga says that she’s dealt with the pressures of being the owner of her brand by using drugs and pills, and is working to overcome that. Many business owners succumb to self-medication to get through the feelings of isolation and entrepreneur paralysis.

People count on you. Your customers (or fans) have expectations you need to meet. You feel the weight of the world on your shoulders.

Business Owners And Lady Gaga Know It’s Lonely at the Top

Whether you’re a celebrity or a business owner, the highs and lows are constant. Entrepreneurial terror is real.

Wilson Harrell, a serial entrepreneur and author of For Entrepreneurs Only, says that you shouldn’t share your lows with your friends and loved ones, because you’ll just pass the worry on to them.

The isolation an entrepreneur experiences is why we created the BIGG Success Entreprenurturing™ Center – a place where entrepreneurs can talk with the only people who “get” what they’re going through – other entrepreneurs.

When a fellow business owner shares their struggles, it’s refreshing. Not because misery loves company, but because it puts your situation into perspective. You realize it’s not just you.

Yes, business owners and Lady Gaga have a lot in common.

When the lights go on, you have to perform regardless of how you feel.
Make sure you always have the right kind of support standing in the wings to help you shine even on the darkest days. It will help you reach BIGG Success.

Direct link to The Bigg Success Show audio file | podcast:
http://traffic.libsyn.com/biggsuccess/00884-111413.mp3

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Lead By Example Leads to Bad Leadership

lead by example to achieve BIGG Success

Lead by example is not a choice. George & Mary-Lynn tell you why on The BIGG Success Show Podcast. Press Play (Duration 4:28)

“Lead by example” is bad advice which leads to bad leadership. It implies a choice which doesn’t exist.

Yet if there were such a thing as “The 10 Commandments for Leaders,” one of them would surely be “Lead by example.”

We say it. But we’ve realized we failed to make note of this problem…

It implies that you have a choice as a leader. You don’t.

You can’t choose whether or not you will lead by example. One way or another, you WILL lead by example – either a good one or a bad one.

Here’s why it’s important to realize that you don’t have a choice – your people will follow your lead. You can’t expect them to do otherwise.

If you default to a bad example, your people will do likewise. Let’s look at three ways this shows itself in the workplace.

What’s good for the leader is good for the led

If it’s good for you as the leader, it’s good for your people.

People are put off by people of privilege, people who act like there’s a different set of rules for them.

[George] I’ll never forget when I was in training for my first franchise. We learned about a store owner who went to the cash register every day, hit the “No Sale” button, grabbed some money and went to lunch.

He was surprised when one of his employees started doing the same thing!

What’s good for the goose is good for the gander!

“But I’m the owner! It’s my money. I’ve earned it.” This is what many entrepreneurs and business owners think.

Yes, you may be the owner, but there’s a way to take money out of your business and there’s a way not to. If you don’t want them to do it too, don’t do it yourself.

A leader who cares is a leader who’s cared for

If you don’t care about your people, don’t be surprised when your people don’t care.

This is when the ripples start turning to tidal waves.

They won’t care about you, so don’t expect any favors. Don’t expect them to put forth any extra effort. Don’t expect them to step up when you really need them.

But the ripple becomes a tidal wave – Don’t expect them to care for your customers any more than you care about them. Don’t expect them to look out for the company any more than you look out for them.

Can you see how serious this can get in an instant?

Can you see how costly it is to not understand that you can’t choose – you lead by example, for good or for bad?

The bottom line is a two-edged sword for leaders

If you’re all about money, your people will be about compensation.

The only loyalty they will have is to the person who pays them the most.

Think about the effect on your turnover. Think about the cost of recruiting and training new people:

  • People you have to pay while they climb up the learning curve.
  • People who are new to your team, so your whole team’s productivity suffers until they get to know each other and start working in sync.
  • People who don’t know your customers like the people you have now. They don’t know what your customers want or how they like to be treated. So you may potentially lose customers because your example made money the only issue.

So set a good example and your people will follow. It leads to BIGG success!

Do you think we’re on the right track here?

Image from stock.xchng

Direct link to The Bigg Success Show audio file | podcast:
http://traffic.libsyn.com/biggsuccess/00879-092413.mp3

What every entrepreneur must know for BIGG Success

2 Things Every Entrepreneur Must Know Today

What every entrepreneur must know for BIGG Success

Listen to this post! Click play to hear George & Mary-Lynn on The BIGG Success Show Podcast (Duration 4:38)

Entrepreneurs need to know more than ever. But when it comes to marketing yourself and delivering an exceptional experience to your customers, every entrepreneur must know two things: know your expertise and know experts.

Know your expertise

First, every entrepreneur needs to know your expertise. It may be what you know or what you can do.

There’s a subject which you know more about or a skill which you can perform better than 99% of the people on the planet.

It seems like a high standard – to say you’re in the top 1% in knowledge or skill. But it really isn’t, especially if you practiced a craft for awhile.

The fact is: Most people don’t know much about most things. Most people can’t do most things well.

That’s not an insult – it’s just recognizing reality. The world is complex. No one can master everything. So focus on mastering one thing.

What is that for you?

Stated differently, what are you known for? Or want to be know for?

This is the key – not just knowing your expertise, but being known for your expertise.

When you know your expertise and stick to it, you can serve your customers like no one else. You can rise above your competitors.

But you can’t stop there – as one of our coaches often reminds us:

There are plenty of undiscovered geniuses
but there are no undiscovered marketers!

So you know what you’re an expert at. Make sure others know it too. Then you can help more people in that way only you can. Don’t they deserve it?

We’re hitting at one of the reasons why every business owner, professional and startup entrepreneur needs a brand today – so you become the go-to guy or gal.

Knowing your expertise is part of forming your brand, which helps you find your focus and stay focused. You have boundaries. You know how you can help.

Know experts

Just as importantly, you know when you can’t help. In those cases, every entrepreneur needs to know experts.

Obviously, experts can help you build your business. That’s why we constantly work with one or more coaches.

But as an entrepreneur, you need to know experts who can help your customers with services related to yours.

You’re the pro in your area. They’re the pros in their spaces. You and your team do your thing; they do theirs with their team. It’s a team of teams.

You serve your respective customers better, so they win. You and your fellow experts both make more money, more dependably. So everybody wins. That’s BIGG success!

What’s your expertise?

Direct link to The Bigg Success Show audio file | podcast:
http://traffic.libsyn.com/biggsuccess/00876-082913.mp3

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