Well, It Happened Again

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Matt Plapp - Cincinnati & Northern Kentucky Marketing & Social Media Consultant

I’ve made this post before, basically talking about how a retail company failed BIG TIME.

Here is the story.  I recently decided to buy some new Ski Equipment.  I was in the market for some new ski boots.  So I did what we all do, I looked online and tried to figure out what I needed.  I am not one to buy much online, I prefer to buy from an established business. Somewhere that I can start a relationship and get great customer service.  I went to a store that I had shopped at before because of a suggestion by a friend.  BUT, before this I went to their biggest competitor to get an idea of what was out there.  I had no intention of buying from their competitor, but I wanted to see why everyone LOVED this other store.

The first store did pretty much everything wrong.  I gave him a chance to sell me.  He told me he’d custom fit my foot to the boot, which meant taking less than a minute to measure it like they did when I was a kid getting gym shoes.  When I am shopping for a big ticket like this I’m an open book.  I’m not a customer that plays games and hides info.  I’ve seen that game too many times in retail and it only hurts the customer. So I told this guy everything about where I ski, why, how, etc. After about 30 minutes I left there only knowing the price range of boots and with no idea of what I needed.  Oh, and they never asked me for any of my information.  So I guess they expect me to do all the work.

Next I headed to the store I had planned on buying from.  Right away the guy that would later sell me boots WOWED me.  I was there to get a better idea of what I needed, not to buy boots.  I was still 2-3 weeks out from getting what I wanted, at least that’s what I thought.  This “Ski Boot Consultant” was awesome.  I won’t call him a salesperson because he was way above that level.  He started off by establishing rapport.  Finding out where I ski, the type of skier I was, how often I skied and what I knew about ski boots.  The best part was he knew exactly where I skied.  He asked how I skied Cupp Run at Showshoe, what my style was, speed, etc.  I also loved that he knew his product good enough that he never asked me budget or what I wanted to try on.  WHY is this great, because I had already told him I had no idea about ski boots.  And budget doesn’t matter when he is showing me only boots that were exactly what I needed.

We spent over an hour trying on boots.  He explained every aspect of what type of boot I needed, why I needed it and what he was looking for out of my next ski boot, what HE was looking for.   He’s the expert, not me.  I tried on about 6 different boots, each time he noted what I liked and disliked.  At the end we found the boot.  Here’s where it gets good.  I now had decided there was no way I couldn’t buy these boots that night.  That would be disrespectful, he just did a GREAT job.  So, I bought the boots.  In my mind he did everything he could have done.

NOW THIS is where he, or his companies training failed.  I was about to spend aprox $400 on ski boots. I handed him my debit card, he swipes it.  Hands me the receipt and says thank you.  Next I’m walking out the door.  WHAT!  He never asked my name, address, email, phone number or birthday.  He never asked me to join their loyalty program, never handed me something to get me to their Facebook or website.  Does this company not want me as a customer anymore?  Are they expecting me to come back on my own?  How much does an email cost…ZERO.  How much does a thank you card cost…$1-2.  How much does it cost to give me something to get me on their Facebook or website…less than a dollar.  It costs so much money to attract a new customer and now you’re just letting me leave.  I was about to cry.  What did Jerry say “you had me at hello”.  They can never directly market to me again now.  How many thousands of customers are coming in every year, how many can you afford to let leave and never get their contact information.  I would have given this guy my social security # if he asked.  He wowed me, the company wowed me.  But now they don’t know I exist.

Ask yourself, are you making this same mistake?  How often?  How much money have you wasted on mass media to only not retain your customers that you have just wowed?
PLEASE STOP, ask everyone everything you can.  The only thing someone can say is no and I bet that most will give you whatever info you want and now you can actually start marketing.

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