February 2014 Archives

What Would You Do?

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I was at the St. Louis airport curbside checking bags waiting behind a man and woman with two large suitcases that needed to be weighed as they looked close to 50 lbs each. It was about 15 degrees.  

Skycap said to the couple with a friendly smile, "You're lucky; they're not overweight." The couple said "thanks" and walked away into the airport.  

I could see the surprise in the skycaps face because he didn't get a tip. I tapped the skycap on the shoulder and said, "Excuse me, did that man not tip you?" 

The skycap shook his head and said, "No ma'am he didn't."  

What did I do?  

Pick one  

A. Shake my head in disbelief & mind my own business  

B. Call after the couple who didn't tip & suggest they do  

C. Open my wallet and give the skycap $2.00 and tell him he did a good job 

To those who know me, you know I did "C." The skycap didn't want to take the money at first; however, I asked him to please take it and pay it forward one day. He seemed to understand that. 

I also told him my bet was those folks probably didn't travel much and perhaps weren't aware of the premise of curbside check in. Those guys work hard in all types of weather. All this with a hard to miss sign that simply says "gratuities accepted."  

I really wanted to give the traveler the benefit of the doubt, but then again.... I wonder. 

What would you have done?

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Nancy Friedman is a frequent speaker at association, corporate and franchise meetings. The author of 8 books on her service expertise, she has appeared on Fox News, CNN, Today Show, and Oprah, as well as many other shows. She has been published in the Wall Street Journal and USA Today along with many major dailies. President of Telephone Doctor Customer Service Training, she can be reached at 314-291-1012 or www.nancyfriedman.com.

I once took over a franchise development department where the sales team was getting 5000 leads a year. 

The sales team was very proud of that 5000 lead number and so was the CEO of the company.

We were popular with people inquiring about our franchise offering. And it seemed we were especially popular with just about every franchising web portal out there.

(In franchising we tend to use the terms lead and inquiry interchangeably and most of what we call leads are really inquiries. And that's okay as long we understand we can't sell to an inquiry until they have been qualified as an active lead.)

We had been selling a fair amount of franchises every year but given the amount of leads we thought we were missing out on some sales opportunities. So we decided to take a closer look.

Here's what we discovered about our web portal leads.

  • Our financial qualification filters on the web portals were incorrect & too low.

  • International leads were turned on but we only developed in the US.

  • Some of the portals we were using had never generated a candidate application.  

Here's what we did.

  • Created a uniform franchise landing page for our web portals.

  • Filtered out International leads.

  • Dropped 50% of the web portals .

  • Reallocated our lead generation budget .

Here's what happened after 12 months.

  • Leads decreased 40%

  • But, qualified applications increased 10%

  • Franchise sales increased 23%

It took the sales team a lot of hard work and confidence to make these improvements. 

They loved the results. And so did the CEO.

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A few facts about customer service...

85% of consumers are dissatisfied with their phone experience, providing solid customer service via phone is key

81% of consumers are more likely to give a company repeated business after good service

• A 5% increase in customer retention equates to a 125% increase in profits

• Companies that prioritize the customer experience generate 60% higher profits than their competitors

• A 2% increase in customer retention has the same effect as decreasing costs by 10%

• On average, loyal customers are worth up to 10 X'S as much as their first purchase

• It is 7 X'S more expensive to acquire a new customer than it is to keep a current one

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Reprinted with permission of Telephone Doctor Customer Service Training. Nancy Friedman is a featured speaker at franchise, association & corporate meetings. She has appeared on OPRAH, Today Show, CNN, FOX News, Good Morning America, CBS This Morning & many others. For more information, call 314-291-1012 or visit www.nancyfriedman.com.

We all love movies like "Glengarry Glen Ross".

Well, I do.

To hear and watch Alec Baldwin doing the ABC of Always Be Closing and a lot of foul language speech is awesome theater. 

Before we say yeah baby Always Be Closing, let's take a closer look at the movie plot. 

Jack Lemmon, Al Pacino, Alan Arkin, Ed Harris and of course Alec Baldwin were a great cast. And compelling characters all of them. Right? 

Well these guys were scammers, confidence men, the guys that would sell your mom swamp land in Florida and ocean front property in Arizona all in the same day.

They were liars and cheats. 

If you have a franchise sales vice president like "Blake" (Alec Baldwin) fire him now. 

He's a threat to your franchise company. You don't want him selling any of your franchises, managing any of your people or in charge of franchise sales compliance.

You don't want "Blake" sweeping the parking lot for cigarette butts. 

And if you have any "Blake" franchise brokers or franchise sales outsourcers get rid of them too. They are a greater threat because you can't watch how they sell outside your control (of course keep your honest brokers).

You see in Glengarry Glen Ross they were selling undeveloped land to people who could nary afford to make any investment let alone one as speculative as raw land. It was unsuitable and dishonest to entice these people into buying no matter how pretty the sales pitch and process.

You see there's a big difference between Al Pacino or Jack Lemmon selling a piece of property, closing the deal and moving on to the next mark and you selling a franchise to your new franchisee. Don't get me wrong, what Al's and Jack's characters did was reprehensible.

In Glengarry Glen Ross after the deal was done, Mitch & Murray were done. They had the buyer's money and that was it. On to the next...

When you sell a new franchise you're not Mitch or Murray and you know you're not done. Not by a long shot. 

You and your brand spanking new franchisee have just begun a 10, 15 or 20 year business life together.

If Al or Jack sold them the franchise Glengarry style you will likely begin with problems at the start. Your new franchisee will likely not have enough capital to get financed or the operational expertise needed to make the franchise successful. This will not end well.

We can all agree great franchise sales is about recruiting both talent and capital. You want both.

To get what your franchise company wants you need an honest & effective franchise sales process and salespeople you and your candidates can count on.

Franchisees will remember how you sold them. 

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Showrooming has been a concern for brick and mortar retailers, and Amazon is attempting to make it more of a concern in the near future.

Showrooming entails visiting brick and mortar stores for product selection, only to end up purchasing online.

Some e-commerce sites have been making that task easier by allowing easier online shopping and purchasing from mobile devices, but Amazon is taking a new turn to step in at the critical moment of purchase.

According to a recent article, Flow is the newest addition to Amazon's arsenal, allowing customers to scan bar codes of items they are shopping for, which in turn are used to look for that item on Amazon's site and allow the consumer to make a mobile purchase, right then and there.

Consumers also have the option to save the item to a wish list or share on popular social media sites.

This latest addition to Amazon's ever competitive strategy is forcing retailers to make their move to mobile more quickly than before.

Retailers who offer mobile apps that make the purchase process simpler and more accessible will be able to leverage themselves against Amazon in some capacity.

But, with this new in store capability Amazon is rolling out, it will be interesting to see if it can take valuable dollars from brick and mortar retailers.

What are your thoughts? Do you think this new move from Amazon will hurt brick and mortars?

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Thank you for keeping our country safe.

You're doing a good job and America appreciates it.

We do have a favor to ask, though.  Just one.

It seems to us that we can be told to follow procedures with a smile, a "please" and a "thank you."

We're gonna bet your parents taught you basic manners, and that you know how to be polite.

We just don't understand why you're so rude and discourteous at work. 

And we're not sure when you last traveled as an airline passenger.

That might be very interesting for you to do. Take a flight. You need to EXPERIENCE IT.

Sort of like what we at The Telephone Doctor suggest to a business owner, when we tell them to call in and ask for themselves to see how their customers are handled.

We believe you're gonna be surprised, and feel as we do: 

Can't they smile? Can't they say "please" and "thank you?" Can't they just be a little nice?

To those agents who do take the time to be courteous, and those of you who do return our smiles, or even start one of your own, we as Americans give you a big shout out and say:

Please keep it up, and thank you for being nice while helping to keep us safe. It's much appreciated!

Nancy Friedman, The Telephone Doctor and all the others you keep safe.

# # #

Reprinted with permission of Telephone Doctor Customer Service Training. Nancy Friedman is a featured speaker at franchise, association & corporate meetings. She has appeared on OPRAH, Today Show, CNN, FOX News, Good Morning America, CBS This Morning & many others. For more information, call 314-291-1012 or visit www.nancyfriedman.com.

They come in all sizes, shapes, and colors. They are the 50 Shades of the Customer Service Experience! 

We all love a good story, and of course, Telephone Doctor loves good customer service. Put the two together and, well, it's a slice of heaven! Great service stories need to be shared with the world, so we're holding a contest. Send in your great customer service experience story, and you'll have a chance to win! 

For some folks it's one big thing. For others, it might be several little things that worked together to create that wonderful customer experience. We want to hear about it...the service experience that made you feel the WOW, the POW, the X, the Y, and the Z factor! 

We're not talking about Disney, the Ritz, Nordstrom, or any of the big dogs who've already staked their claim to superior customer service.

I want to hear from folks who've enjoyed a fabulous customer experience from companies or service providers who don't get much attention, but who just plain understand how to do it right! 

Your stories of real experiences can make the world a better place by helping all service providers see just what it takes to be good to the customer. Small or large, tell us about the experience that makes you want to return to that wonderful place, encounter that helpful person again, or re-live that special moment. 

Stories should be from 250-1,000 words. Telephone Doctor will publish the best 50 stories, so by entering this contest you consent to having your work published. Oh, and my team reserves the right to do a little editing if necessary (they do it to me all the time!), but we promise not to alter the content of your story.

If your story is chosen for 50 Shades of the Customer Service Experience, we'll send you a complimentary copy of the book. But wait! There's more!

The authors of the three best stories will win more prizes: 1st prize = iPad, 2nd prize = $250, 3rd prize = $100. 

Your odds of winning depend on how many of you submit a story. Anyone can send a story, and you can even send more than one, if you've been that lucky!

The contest is open throughout the whole month of February through March 15, 2014. I can't wait to read about your experiences, so get busy on that keyboard and send in your story today! 

50 Shades of the Customer Service Experience Contest At-A-Glance: 

Story criteria: Above-and-beyond customer experience stories (the really good ones!) 

Publishing: 50 Shades of the Customer Service Experience will be published. 

Eligibility: Anyone can enter as many stories as they like...no restrictions here! 

Prizes: All published story authors will receive a copy of 50 Shades of the Customer Service Experience. The top three stories will be awarded prizes: 1st prize = iPad, 2nd prize = $250, 3rd prize = $100. 

Contest dates: February 1 through March 15, 2014. 

How to enter: Send your story to [email protected], and please include your name, address, and best contact phone number (we promise not to call unless it's really, really important news about the contest!) 

Franchise Update recently released its 2014 Annual Franchise Development Report, which is a comprehensive research guide to sales and lead generation performance in franchise recruitment.

This year's results were collected and analyzed from September-November of last year, and highlight some of the keys to franchise development success. We found several points interesting, especially those that touched on social media and public relations, including the following:

  • Social media is playing a huge role in franchise sales and development. Fifteen of the respondents said they'd made 123 sales using social media last year. That nearly triples the previous year, when 14 companies reported a total of 46 sales through social media.

    More than 50 of those sales were made through blogging, 49 through LinkedIn, 10 through Facebook, seven through Craigslist, and five through YouTube.

    Franchise Update believes the trend is likely to continue.

    At Ripley PR, we agree. We encourage all of our franchisor clients to be active in blogging and on social media, and we have seen the results of such efforts pay off in franchise sales.

    Twitter wasn't included on the report's list, but we believe it's a great, although underused, source for finding leads.

  • Respondents to the report said their five more important factors in franchise development success were: 1) franchisee validation, 2) unit economics, 3) quality leads, 4) sales person, and 5) sales process. By making use of resources like social media, we have definitely helped our clients achieve success.

  • Businesses need to understand that social media is useful for much more than finding friends or colleagues.

    An estimated 87 percent of franchisors have a Facebook link on their website, and 73 percent have a Google+ corporate page.

    However, Franchise Update believes (and we agree) that franchisors needs to learn how to make better use of social media as part of their development strategy.

  • Franchisors spend about 12 percent of their recruitment budgets on PR. If you're on the fence about whether this is a worthwhile expense, all it takes is to see the results that an effective public relations and marketing strategy can have on your business.

  • Here's one area where PR is very important: getting your franchise opportunity into the media including newspapers and trade publications, as well as helping raise your rankings on search engine results. The report found that multi-unit franchisees use these tools to find new brands.

So, are you attending Franchise Expo South? If you plan to be there and would like to meet me to find out more about these things and how we can help your franchise development strategy, please reach out to me directly at [email protected]. We hope to see you there!

Are more sales taking place on the Web in lieu of face to face sales calls?

In many cases I say yes, but in many, I say not!  

According to this article from Bloomberg Businessweek, "economics is pushing sales online".   

The author, Jeff Green says, "Inside selling, which keeps pitchmen off the road, is growing far faster than in-person sales--and by some estimates it's 10 times cheaper." While that may be true, if you take the online route and don't make as many sales, what is your true sales cost?

In order for online sales, with or without a sales interface to be successful, I believe the following has already been established by the company or market for it to be successful. They are:

  • 1st-Credibility is established and their brand is well known and accepted.  (Marketing)

  • 2nd-The product or service is viewed as a commodity, so they can look for best price, fulfillment and or services (great sales skills not needed here)

  • 3rd-They require little, if any business acumen and/or problem solving skills. Not that they don't count, just not as much.

And, marketing has played the most significant role in achieving these objectives, not sales. So, depending on what you sell and your definition of what a salesperson is or how they sell, some are and some are NOT!

Complex and/or large investment sales will always require face to face selling time.

While technology tools can do much for intelligence gathering, front end sales work, and streamlining/shortening the sales cycle for a qualified prospect, the sales pro must possess a high degree of business acumen, problem solving and professional selling skills.

Only true face to face interaction will solidify the relationship of preferred provider.

The critical point here is to know what is required to sell your company product and service and don't chase the on-line route as a panacea till you know!

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This page is an archive of entries from February 2014 listed from newest to oldest.

January 2014 is the previous archive.

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