How iPhones & Smart Phones Can Ruin Your Business
I Am Your Worst Nightmare – A Dissatisfied Customer With A Smart Phone
When I walked into your shop or restaurant to spend my money with you, you had loud blaring music playing (probably chosen by your teenage part time staff) and your staff gave me crappy service.
In the past, I would have walked away and you would have lost 1 customer. Unfortunate, but not a huge impact to your bottom line in the short term. But today is different.
Today, I Have A Smart Phone And I Am Really P*ssed Off
So I open my iPhone while waiting forever for the dessert I ordered and I start to type.
- I complain about you to my 1400 Twitter followers
- I share my pain on Facebook
- I post a video of the lackluster food with voice commentary on YouTube
- I write a scathing review on top restaurant & travel review sites like Urbanspoon, Zagat and Trip Advisor
- I post a note in the local forum about my experience.
- I rate you in local-based social medial like FourSquare and Gowallah
The dessert finally comes and I eat a few bites. It isn’t worth staying for, so I pay my bill and leave. I don’t leave a tip on my way out so your staff probably think I am a jackass.
So you have lost a customer today. But, unlike customers of yesteryear, you have alienated alienated a socially and mobile connected customer who has just done thousands of dollars worth of damage to your businesses reputation.
How Could You Have Avoided This?
Here are some simple steps you can make to avoid this in future:
Stop the Sonic Assault:
Everyone likes different music, so the music chosen by your staff is unlikely to appeal to everyone. My wife and I regularly walk out of stores, coffee shops and restaurants without buying because of the crappy music. Here is what you do
- Have a music policy rather than letting your staff choose and make sure everyone is aware of the policy. Drop by unannounced to make sure the policy is being followed.
- DON’T play the local radio station – You can’t control the playlist and it is full of advertising, including your competitors.
- Choose light instrumental music rather than music with voice. That way it is background and is not interfering with your customers enjoyment of your store. Try Native American Flute music, light classical, celtic meditation, or others like this.
- If you aren’t sure, have no music at all. You can’t go wrong that way.
In-House Comment Cards
- Use cards to get customer feedback and share it with your staff. Tie bonuses, raises and promotions to those who get high praise from your customers. Fire quickly those staff who are hurting your image.
Use mystery shoppers to test your staff when you aren’t around. How is their service? Are they helping customers the way you trained them? This is a great way of finding problems.
Be Social Aware and Social Friendly
- Once your service problems are fixed, put signs in the window for location-based social media like FourSquare and Gowalla and encourage your customers to “sign in” and tell others about you.
- Monitor local social media and review sites for mention of your business so you can quickly take steps to deal with any customer complaints.
- Spend time in local social media, connecting with people, getting menu suggestions, running contests and becoming part of the online community.
- Host a Tweetup – a gathering of local Twitter users.
Ignore Smart Phone Users At Your Peril
Never before has it been so easy for a customer to complain and to reach so many people with their complaint.
To counteract this, you need to take firmer control of your business to ensure your customer experience is a happy one and to have a fast, emergency response to any social media comments that indicate you missed a beat while creating that experience,
Don’t underestimate the power of a customer with a smart phone.