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Too many brands only celebrate exceptional customer service. That means the rest of the time, service is simply ordinary. Instead, brands should define their standards based on what every customer gets every time and celebrate the percentage of times they deliver that standard. This way they are setting expectations with their customers and the more consistent they become, the more customers will see the consistency as their competitive differentiation. Here are a few areas to consider: Make it easy for team members: Brands today often fall in love with loyalty programs and offer different levels of service to different levels of loyalty customers. This makes it difficult for team members. Why not treat every customer as a super loyal customer thereby creating more loyal customers, and team members can offer consistent service to everyone. Channel consistency: Customers today interact with a brand or access a brand through different media or third parties. The customers do not...

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Your brand spends a lot on researching your customers and have created clear profiles of customer segments. You know what the segment members do when they are not visiting you and their choice of media. You know WHO they are and WHAT they do. But do you know: WHY they do what they do? Your guests individually? The answer to both questions is in a big trend that is sweeping the world; Focus on individuality resulting in need for customization. Brands must really learn about their customers, as the desire for individuality is driving the need for personalized products, services, and experiences. A great example of this is Coke’s "Share a Coke" campaign where Coke introduced bottles that had popular millennial first names. Coke then evolved to semi-personal labels beyond first names, like “better half”, then adding last names and finally, names of famous vacation spots. This was Coke’s way of inviting more people...

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How is your dating life going if you… Give out a reward card on your first date and after each date you punch a heart and offer a reward of carnations after 5 punches and roses after 10? For last-minute dates, you offer double points (two punches)? You offer specials such as a free dessert if your date has not gone out with you for 6 months? The only way to describe your dating life would be “NOT good!” Your best friends may even consider an intervention and ask you “Why are you trying to buy love? Why are you being so desperate?” You may be feeling uncomfortable with this discussion itself. But many brands do this exact thing to increase loyalty, as they measure loyalty by squeezing out one extra visit (date) from a customer. What is loyalty? I describe it as being “FAITHFUL, TRULY COMMITTED, DEVOTED, REGULAR, STAUNCH, or ALWAYS THERE”...

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How would you feel if you found out that your date was tracking where you go, what you do, and was found going through your credit card statements? You may feel that you are being STALKED. Shouldn’t your date simply pay attention to you and get to know you? Many brands do the same thing and buy every data point that is available on their customers and analyze it to better “target their customers.” To build a long-term relationship, brands should be able to say yes to the following three questions: Is the TRUE PURPOSE of data gathering to benefit your customers? When Amazon studies customers' buying patterns and recommends what they would really like, it makes customers feel that the data gathering is “all about them.” The same way when customers share their name and information, and you use it to recognize and reward them, it makes them feel special. Is...

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Once you align your brand in the feeling business, it is important to quantify the value of positive feelings you are generating in your customers. Your customers always walk in with an anticipation and if you surprise them with something nice, it will start the experience on a positive note. Then you can build on it by adding more experience elements that make them feel joy and once the joy overflows, they get elated. The continuing overflow of joy takes them to a “MUST SHARE” state; where they must share with either a small group of friends or on social media. This sharing is Word of Mouth (WOM), the most credible brand endorsement you can ever get. Identifying the one thing that you can do to surprise your guests immediately after they walk in and then adding more, are sure ways to generate Word of Mouth every time. Value of WOM: Priceless...

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