American fashion retailer Nordstrom began collecting examples of great customer service from its employees. They called them Nordy stories.
For example, a customer comes into the store, laden with items already purchased from rival store Macy’s. The customer shops in Nordstrom, comes to the till and takes advantage of Nordstrom’s free giftwrap service.
The Nordstrom employee obliges and then, to the surprise and delight of the customer, offers to wrap the Macy’s gifts too for no extra charge.
In another example a customer comes into Nordstrom wishing to return a $17 tyre iron. They don’t have a receipt. Nordstrom doesn’t sell tyre irons. The employee gives the customer a full refund.
That employee knows full well that the Nordstrom customer has an average lifetime spend of $8,000. What’s $17 compared to that?
By publishing these stories, Nordstrom not only gives concrete examples of how great their service is to customers, but also to new employees as well.
Your employee handbook might say ‘give great customer service’ but to the average employee that basically just says ‘smile, make eye contact and tuck in your shirt’.
Nordy stories give concrete examples to the employees to show them exactly how good customer service is given.
1. Identify your target market
Promotion helps you reach your target market, but first you must know who they are. Gather statistical information regarding your target market’s demographics, market segment, needs and buying decisions. Use your research to clarify which media will best promote your product, whether print, online or broadcast. Become an expert in your field and create personal profiles for your ideal customer. How old are they? Are they male or female? What is their job? What salary bracket are they in? What do they do for fun? Do they own a car? Do they have kids? Such details will help you clearly define pricing, promotion and place.
2. Understand the strengths and weaknesses of your competition
Collect data on how your competition promotes their products. What is their price point? What do you like and what don’t you like about their marketing campaign?
3. Develop a pricing strategy grounded in market research
Small businesses can set a price for their product or service based on popular profit margins, competitors’ prices, financing options, or the price a customer is willing to pay. A popular profit margin examines the profit of similar products also in your market. Profit margin is a very helpful measure when looking at other companies in your industry. Many industries have profit margin standards which are easily accessible on the Internet or through your Better Business Bureau.
4. Research similar products
Whether you sell a service or a tangible item, it is important to know what is currently on the market, and what the competition is offering. You can improve your product or service based on findings about what your customers really want and need. Focus on things like function, appearance, customer service and warranties.
5. Identify the best placement or location for your product or service
Where should you set up your product? Where should you distribute from? Is a department store the best platform for your product, or are your needs best met online?