Marketing Blog

Marketing Blog

Why your attitude can be a deal breaker


It’s universally acknowledged that good service will get you places. Whether selling an unnecessarily big screen television to a family or ice to Inuits, good service makes sales.

This said, there are exceptions to every rule and every so often in this world of increasing competition, there are business managers with seemingly decreasing nouse.

It’s no longer just about your product or service – it’s all about the experience.

Marketing encompasses all senses – sight, taste, touch, smell and sound. Combined, these make the experience. The experience that people will walk away with; the experience that – good or bad – people will talk about.

As marketeers, we work tirelessly to communicate your message on each of these levels. We study, we research and we have experience to hone you the best experience for your offering. Not everyone understands the importance - or relevance even - of marketing however… and it shows…



The experience I had over the long weekend involved a destination, a product, some “service” and two very unhappy customers. A friend and I visited Entertainment Quarter, a destination in Sydney’s Eastern suburbs close to Centennial Park and the SCG. We’re best friends; conversation’s always flowing and entertaining – whatever we choose to do when we’re together needs not steal the show. We’re happy with satisfactory service. It was raining which set the perfect scene for afternoon lemon meringue pie and coffee – holding the cream (I don’t do cream). We found an Italian dessert place. Perfect. Despite being sheltered by a makeshift tarp, the tables and chairs outside were wet. Our opting to sit outside, given Sydney’s humidity and a lack of air conditioning inside, was neither voluntarily noticed nor a reason for any of the staff to come outside to wipe down a table for us. We trawled the area and located the driest option. Before committing to our menu choices and ‘enjoying’ our experience, we elected for a quick restroom visit. “Excuse me Sir, where will I find your restrooms?” I asked politely, foolishly expecting a helpful response. Without looking up from the coffee he was pouring (and spilling onto the saucer), he grunted “left then left again”. Admittedly and in that beautiful thing we call hindsight, we should have left at this point. My friend and I searched the complex (the entire Entertainment Quarter as the venue was restroom-less) for the restrooms, reverting to public signage for directions seeing “left and left again” was both vague and inaccurate. On our return, we found our table, sat down and my friend went to the counter to order. She’s been my friend for 15 years and is very much aware of my distaste for cream. She ordered my ‘lemon meringue pie NO cream’ and strawberry crepes for herself with accompanying coffees. She also asked that, seeing there was no one else around and we were outdoors, if she could smoke. It wasn’t a ridiculous question given the tarp next to ours, belonging to the same business for savoury meals, was full of smokers. “Oh no, it’s not allowed”. “But your patrons under that shelter are smoking?”. “They’re not allowed”. Silly us. Of course we should have known…

 


My friend came and sat with me, cigarette-less, and casually factually relayed the conversation that transpired. Their credit card facilities were also not working – so the barista accused my card. Laughing it off and citing “it can’t actually get any worse”, my friend’s coffee came out. All over her saucer. No napkin, no apology. Having waited a minute or two for the waiter to return with a napkin seeing there were only two other patrons (probably also persevering with their dessert experience) to serve and we had a saucer with coffee all over it, my friend walked to the bar to get herself a napkin. She returned, sat back down, tidied up the waitperson’s mess and sipped her coffee which she then – very discretely - spat back out. Admittedly, we’re spoilt when it comes to coffee. We live close to the city where coffee culture is hip and happening and we’re surrounded by the likes of Surry Hills, Newtown and Alexandria. We do on the odd occasion though revert to instant coffee when we’re desperate. This coffee was bad.

Our desserts came. My lemon meringue pie was – needless to say – accompanied bycream and my friend’s strawberry crepes were empty with a drizzle of jam on the top. I, for the first time this experience, had had enough. I understood it was a public holiday and those forced to work in a café, in the rain, on a public holiday after a night out in Sydney were probably going to be less enthused than any other day. I also didn’t need anything more than what we ordered seeing the objective of the outing was to spend time with a friend - but this was ridiculous.

Wet tables. Inaccurate restroom directions. Attitude. Double standards. Coffee all over saucer. Inoperative credit card facilities. Unhelpful. Poor coffee-making skills. Cream on plate.

The experience you provide your customers is just as important, if not more important, than your product itself. There are reasons Apple and Haighs are where they are. Think about the experience you’re giving people. Invest in it. Otherwise you run that almost guaranteed risk of negative word-of-mouth – or worse – being blogged about. Thank you, Dolcetto, for providing a great example.

- Sofia Margelis

 



comments ( 10 )
  • Regal E-Cigs
    Regal E-Cigs
    08 Jul 2013

    Way cool! Some extremely valid points! I appreciate you penning this
    article plus the rest of the site is really good.

    Reply
  • Melinda
    Melinda
    13 Feb 2013

    The extent and degree of marketing activities, ranging from subtle to overt, is often dependent on the nature and goals of the business. Using past experiences as an example, a stereotypically 'cheap trendy asian store' may focus on filling the store with a vast array of the latest fashion copies, whilst neglecting customer service. However, I have also worked in a prestigiously branded clothing store. In order to successfully sell apparel with tags up to $2000, there is a much higher demand for both product and service expertise. Sales assistants are often used as the primary marketing tools, representing the brand and forming lasting relationships with customers, not merely successful transactions. Not only does this convert new customers into loyal patrons, it also sustains the existing customer base. Whether it be the hospitality, retail or any other industry sector, there is an increasing demand for smarter and more efficient marketing in order to stay on top, if not afloat amongst competition.

    Reply
  • Emma
    Emma
    06 Feb 2013

    In this day and age consumers are wanting more for thier money. 10 years ago we would expect to pay $3.50 for a coffee and just a coffee but now consumers expect more then just the product for the same price. Its all about the experience. The atmosphere, the staff, the decor and in the end the quality of the product. Having an experience like Mellissah is detrimental to a business no matter what the product or service is especially with social media being such a big part of our lives. Not only has Delcetto failed to create loyalty with their customers but through word of mouth and social media Delcetto has lost hundereds of potential customers. I know now thanks to Melissah and this blog that I will not give this cafe the time of day. There are websites dedicated to customers reporting on their experiences of different products and services and you can bet that someone who is unsure of where to go will obviously go to the one with the better review. Its common sense these days that customers don't just buy the product but the expereince.

    Reply
  • Sandra
    Sandra
    05 Feb 2013

    I agree with you Melissa. Even a normal coffee can change your mood because of the way something is done or in this case not done.
    The human being remembers everything and next time when you want to drink a coffee with your friend you probably won´t go to this café, so there are two customers less.
    In Germany we say: " the customer is the king" and that´s how it should be. If they feel comfortable and well cared for, they will enjoy their time, they will come back and give good feedback to others and this is what a cafe, for example, needs.
    Especially these small businesses are reliant to good feedback.
    It´s just fair to be friendly, helpful and courteous, because you also want to be treated in that way.
    There is no reason to be unfriendly to someone just because you had a bad day!
    In Germany I always go to this little, cute café with my friends and we don´t go there because they have the best coffee in town. No, we go there because of the atmosphere, the waitresses who are always funny and friendly and because we know that we can spend a nice afternoon there. That´s why we don´t mind to pay a little bit more than somewhere else.

    Reply
  • Sandra
    Sandra
    05 Feb 2013

    I agree with you Melissa. Even a normal coffee can change your mood because of the way something is done or in this case not done.
    The human being remembers everything and next time when you want to drink a coffee with your friend you probably won´t go to this café, so there are two customers less.
    In Germany we say: " the customer is the king" and that´s how it should be. If they feel comfortable and well cared for, they will enjoy their time, they will come back and give good feedback to others and this is what a cafe, for example, needs.
    Especially these small businesses are reliant to good feedback.
    It´s just fair to be friendly, helpful and courteous, because you also want to be treated in that way.
    There is no reason to be unfriendly to someone just because you had a bad day!
    In Germany I always go to this little, cute café with my friends and we don´t go there because they have the best coffee in town. No, we go there because of the atmosphere, the waitresses who are always funny and friendly and because we know that we can spend a nice afternoon there. That´s why we don´t mind to pay a little bit more than somewhere else.

    Reply
  • John
    John
    04 Feb 2013

    All good points Mellissah. Might i add that just helping people, whatever it is,is a good trait to build on. People remember people who help. At least thats the ethos i have. Hopefully they turn into customers and if not the good will shown lingers and might help them remember you when they need a similar service in the future.

    Reply
  • Owen
    Owen
    04 Feb 2013

    The 'Service Experience' is becoming more and more integral in the hospitality industry. Customers are no longer simply paying for the product. Due to customer expectations, it is very difficult to differentiate the product. This leaves the service offering for companies to gain a competitive advantage.

    The atmosphere in a coffee shop is set by the staff. If they are bubbly and pleased to see everyone, then everything becomes more relaxed. On a recent trip to Phnom Penh I went into Brown Cafe on recommendation from friends who had been before. The drinks and food in this cafe were nothing special, however the atmosphere was very relaxed and the staff were constantly trying to help you and improve your experience. Needless to say, we liked this place and ended up going there 4 times in a week.

    The product is obviously important, but the quality of the service experience can make an average product seem like a premium.

    Reply
  • Athos
    Athos
    31 Jan 2013

    I concur. People underestimate the value of the client/consumer experience in every transaction regardless of the industry. Its powerful. It can allow you to charge a premium, gain loyalty and an advocate for your product or service.
    Good story.
    Never underestimate the magnitude of the impact a bad coffee experience has on a coffee aficionado on a Sunday morning...

    Reply
  • Marketing Eye
    Marketing Eye
    31 Jan 2013

    Hi Kenny, thanks for the comment! As we're a consultancy that helps small businesses grow, we put this post together to draw a parallel between SMEs and the competition in a relevant-to-many industry - the hospitality industry. The post was written to demonstrate how the "experience" alone can make a small to medium-sized business stand out from the pack; this everyday example is relevant to many of them.

    Thanks for reading, we value your feedback!

    Reply
  • Kenny
    Kenny
    30 Jan 2013

    Funny story! But there are thousands like it on Urbanspoon and elsewhere. So to me attempting to draw such a profound link between the marketing industry and such disasters seems, um, tenuous at best.

    Reply

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