Monday, September 28, 2015

The Last yard: Closing the Sale

Paul Chen

Polish businesses has spent a large amount of money on marketing by placing adverts on billboards and different websites. They have taken advantage of many website advert tricks. However, they aren’t growing and making more money? What could the problem be? You might call them the DeSean Jackson of business.

On September 15, 2008, the Dallas Cowboys were playing the Philadelphia Eagles. The Eagles were on their own 39 yard line, there were 7:54 left in the 2nd quarter. Donovan McNabb threw up a long range pass to DeSean Jackson. Jackson catches the ball and trots into the endzone, but no touchdown. Why? Video replay said that he spiked the ball on the 1 yard line for a turnover.  The Eagles goes on to lose the game 41-37.

Similarly, on September 6, 2011 Polish National Men’s Team was playing against Die Mannschaft of Germany. With the score tied 1-1 going into the last minute of play. The hosts thought they had won the game when in the 89th minute Kuba  B┼éaszczykowski converted a penalty given for a foul by Wiese on Brozek, but Cacau popped up with a last-second equalizer as he powered a cross from Muller from close range to earn a draw for Germany.

What do these two have in common? They celebrated too early. How does it apply to Polish businesses, or businesses in general? Imagine your business did everything perfectly, got the right content marketing strategy. You got good amount of foot traffic to your stores or web-stores. Then you hired an apathetic prick to man your cash tills or the check-out process of your e-shop is a bitch because your back-end can’t handle the traffic.

Bad service results in over $300 Billion of lost revenue worldwide.  

This last step can often trip up businesses who employ even the most sophisticated sales strategies. Bad customer service is very costly. consider these:

  • It is 6-7 times more expensive to gain a new customer than it is to keep an existing one (White House Office of Consumer Affairs)
  • 78% of consumers have abandoned a transaction due to bad customer service experiences (American Express Survey 2011).
  • Unhappy customers are highly unlikely to be repeat customers as 89% of customers report having stopped doing business with companies because of bad customer service (RightNow Customer Experience Impact Report 2011)
  • People are twice as likely to talk about bad customer service experiences than they are to talk about good experiences (2012 Global Customer Service Barometer)
  • Bad service results in over $300 Billion of lost revenue worldwide.  
How to solve it?

If you run an e-shop you better have sufficient infrastructure on front end and back end to handle the traffic. Your UX has to be super friendly and intuitive. And security should be your top priority. Most Polish e-shops have come a long way in this aspect. And I am happy to shop here.
That said, it is the brick and mortar ones that involve actual people that is the most difficult to improve.
You can’t stress the importance the of culture enough
It doesn’t matter whether you are running a restaurant or a supermarket, everybody’s main goal is to make sure the customer spends his money, has a good time, and feels better coming out of the store. American businesses have this down to an art. Walmart has a greeter to welcome you to the store. The Gap always has an employee standing at the entrance “folding” shirts to ask you if you need help. This does 3 things: make the customer feel welcome, let the customer feel safe because there are people who want to help, and tell the customer that he is being watched so don’t try anything funny. With bright displays and well organized stores, they know how to make you put merchandise into your carts. At a recent visit to a Target in Los Angeles, an employee offered me an empty cart when he saw that my hands were full. It’s these little things as well.

Again in Los Angeles, at a Ralph’s supermarket and a Walgreens pharmacy, the cashier knew that some of the items in my cart was on sale if you had a club card, so they scanned their own card so I can get the discount. I left those establishment feeling like I had just gotten some wonderful deals. However, if you think about it from a broad perspective, by scanning their own club card, they insure that I would actually buy the product and feel good doing so. Sure, they lost a few dimes and nickels worth of revenue, but they gained a happy customer. A happy customer is more likely to open his wallets even wider.
At a Zara in Prague, I had bought a nice shirt for my ex and had asked for a nicer paper bag to present it to her, the cashier said “no”. That shocked me. So I just put my card back in my pocket and left the store without paying.  My expat friends often joke that the Polish Customer Service is an oxymoron. These days, I will just leave the merchandise on the belt and leave if the cashier is snippy with me. And it’s happened quite often. Just because I had come to the cashiers with merchandise, doesn’t mean I necessarily have to pay.

You can have the best products, the most kick-ass marketing campaign, and the most flashy ads, but in a free market, a sale is not a sale until you put your money in the shop keeper’s hands. To think otherwise is to think like DeSean Jackson.

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