Customer - you're fired!

"Just give me what I want or I'm going elsewhere!"

You've probably heard this before from your customers.  And the temptation is to give in.

In his book called "Book Yourself Solid", Michael Port mentiones the red velvet rope policy.  The best and most exclusive nightclubs have a red velvet rope where they a) direct customers to a line and then b) decide who enters and who doesn't.

Michael says we should do the same with customers. And we should.  This does not just apply to new customers, but also booting out old ones.

In my Mystery Shopping business we have pressures from customers who want to jam in as many evaluation questions as possible.  A recent customer expected the Mystery Shoppers to remember over 20 pages of questions, plus over 20 pages of instructions, and digest a powerpoint presentation.

It leads to shoppers guessing results and getting it wrong.  It's not possible to remember all that.  Bad data in .... bad data out.  Client fired! It would only lead to stress on our staff, enquiries, and ultimately a poor reputation.

I spend my life talking about improving service, and empathy, but it's not an open invitation to be abused,

Who would you love to fire today if you could?



Sales strategy 1/75 - Increase Price

"Are you Mad?"

Before you answer that question, I'd like you to know that I've decided to release all 75 of my strategies to Double Your Revenue in Three years.

There will be one released every few days.

Increasing price might sound too easy and stupid. Won't customers leave?  Not if they see value.  How do they see value?  A number of ways such as: 

  • Branding - customers want to be associated with your product
  • Service - the service is so great that customers wouldn't think of going elsewhere 
  • Positioning - you want to position yourself as a high quality provider
  • Quality - your stuff is just better
  • Utility - you make the customers life easier
  • Exit barriers - you've made it to hard for them to leave
  • Belonging - people want to belong to what your Brand represents
  • Saving - in the long run you save customers money or stress
  • Location - you are physically or virtually close to them

Look a this list another way.  How can you justify a price increase if you're asked?

The trick is to put hand on heart and say you can justify the price with value.  If you can't, then go back to the list and it will give you a hint of what to improve.

But I hear you say - "some customers only want the cheapest price!"

Some do.  But you know that as a consumer you don't always buy the cheapest price.  Not even fuel for the car.

So, you have three options in decending order

1) Take a courage pill - I took one and I got more customers

2) Ditch the customer 

3) Try one of the other 74 strategies.

Oh and if you're a service professional?  If you have improved 8% over last year, can't you charge another 8%?

If you didn't receive this as an email - click here and you'll get an ebook with all 75 strategies and emails which expand on each of the 75 strategies.



I'm a buyer - Stop shuffling and sell me something.

I'm a painful customer.  As the owner of a Mystery Shopping company, I have a good idea of what retailers are looking for in staff.

So imagine my horror when I saw 5 staff in a camping store, all busy NOT helping customers.  I was shopping for a foldout camping bed.  My wife had already done the internet research but we had to test the comfort.

There was a staff member in the area we were approaching. As soon as he we entered, he left.  I watched him and he very busily moved around the store stocking and tidying shelves.  Another staff member was doing the same, and three were at the (same) cash register talking and putting stickers on stock.

In the meantime, the 15 customers in store were left unattended.

I may have bought that bed with some help, but the lack of attention gave them no chance.  Everyone was busy but the sale was lost.  I am a buyer looking for a seller.

I see this in my Mystery Shopping company all the time.  It's just more real when you see it for yourself.  And now the sad news.  They are a company who told me the don't need Mystery Shopping.  Really?

This behaviour can be fixed.  But first, quantify the problem.

Signed ***Frustrated***


We don't all like black jellybeans so don't ask stupid sales questions

Is there a particular colour jellybean you don't like.  I don't like green. So why is it that when I'm offerred a product I'm forced to eat the whole lot?

I see a lot of customer service and sales questionnaires in my Mystery Shopping company.

The tempatation for clients is to ask as many questions as possible. But sometimes those questions make no sense and can send you down the wrong, and very expensive path.

For example.  I recently saw a mobile phone questionnaire which asked if the Mystery Shopper was told about the email features, the internet browsing, and other features such as the talk-to text-feature.

The idea is that is these things should be mentioned in the sale, then it's a bad thing if not mentioned. The sales person is then trained (corrected) to ensure they mention all the features.

However, a good sales person does not have to mention all the features of a product to make a sale, especially if they have first evaluated the customer's needs.

Here are two examples where the questions are irrelevant.

  1. The customer walks in and says - I don't use internet or email on the phone, or
  2. The sales person sees the customer is uneasy, and simply shows them the phone they are using (as happenned with my wife).

Expecting a sales person to extol the virtues of every feature of a product is boring for the customer and does not connect. It also assumes the customer understands or cares about those features.

So in this situation, a good sales person will be chastised and forced to sell in a sub-optimal way because of a poorly designed sales process and therefore poor mystery shopping questionniare.

The fix: 

  1. Don't be so dogmatic with your staff, and
  2. Make sure they talk about Benefit, and then the Features which provide those benefits.

Oh and the same applies to car sales, whitegoods, TV's, PC's and Banking. Be aware wherever there is a list of product features.

Don't tell me there are green jellybeans in the packet, it won't help the sale.

See also:  Features and Benefits are not the same as Benefits and Features


All is not as it seems - beware fake customers

You see the perfect couple at a party

You see a powerful executive walking down the street.

You see a skilled tradesman working on a job.

And what happens?  There is admiration.  Well earned admiration.... but

In customer service and sales we get put off by these traits and we make the wrong assumptions.

The married couple might be putting on a show, the executive might be one step away from being fired, and the skilled tradesman might be completely unhappy with his job.

All is not as it seems, so in customer service and sales, don't judge your customers.

Don't assume they know what they want.

Don't assume they are above you.

Don't assume they are below you.

Just let the situation develop, and get to know them.  Look through the show.