Archive for the ‘customers’ tag
Here’s our digest of cool and interesting stuff from the web. Enjoy, and have a great weekend!
Related to yesterday’s post about how much we make, today we bring you this chart that explains how we spend it.
But poor families spend a much larger share of their budget on basic necessities such as food at home, utilities and health care. Rich families are able to devote a much bigger chunk of their spending to education, and a much, much bigger share to saving for retirement. (The retirement line includes contributions to Social Security and to private retirement plans, by the way.)
You can read the full story here.
We’ve all had a bad day at work. Sometimes it’s so bad that you may want to punch something. Next time this thought crosses your mind, remember New York Knicks Amare Stoudemire. The power forward was so angry about something, possibly losing game 2 of the NBA Playoffs to the Miami Heat, he punched glass surrounding a fire extinguisher, lacerating his hand. The move not only hurt Stoudemire, but also his team. He most likely won’t play the rest of the series, and as the team’s second best player, he is needed.
So just remember, your actions can have a huge affect on the people around you. If a client is giving you a hard time or a foreman is making mistakes, take a deep breath, collect your thoughts, listen to some Yanni and address the situation calmly.
Here’s a list of the best stuff we found online this week. Enjoy!
- What drives customer loyalty in 2012. (via)
- Some winter plant inspirration from the Neave Group.
- “Caring, it turns out, is a competitive advantage, and one that takes effort, not money.”
- A little trompe-l’oeil with landscapes. (via)
- Weed ink.
- Donec venenatis latina nomina.
- Above: The oldest living things in the world photo series by Rachel Sussman.
Last week I bought jewelry from Stella & Dot, so it was no surprise when a plain, brown box showed up in the mail Friday.
I cut through the packaging tape with my key and pried open the first flap of the plain, ordinary brown box. When I turned the box flap over, there was a message that read “You are truly fabulous.” The boxes inside followed with the messages: “You have a great eye” and “You’ve got smarts and style.”
Of course Stella & Dot’s wrapping is pandering to its 20-something female customers like me, but there are a few lessons here.
1. It was totally unexpected. Did they need to do it? No. Did I appreciate it? Yes.
2. It shows they pay attention to detail. A company that puts that much time and energy into designing the boxes it ships its products in is probably going to put the same detail into the product.
3. It changed the entire buying experience. I knew what was going to be in the box. But instead of just opening the box and taking the earrings and necklace out of plastic wrapping, the carefully, individually wrapped boxes made me feel like I was opening a present.
Stella & Dot is comparable to say Mary Kay or CUTCO – you can’t buy its products in stores, they are sold through local representatives, and it relies on a brand forming largely by word of mouth. In shipping me my purchase – its final form of communication with me – Stella & Dot needed to make a lasting impression. The company needed to do something that would make me enjoy the entire experience and make me think of them the next time I want to buy jewelry.
For landscapers, it’s like doing a one-time project and hoping the customer likes your work enough they call you back on a regular basis. Besides doing great work for the client, what are you doing to leave a lasting impression?
Big Brother is watching, and recording. Marketers, researchers and analysts mine all sorts of data to figure out what makes people tick. Input some information on your target customer demographic to find out what they do for fun, what TV shows they watch and what they spend their money on.
A new tool from Marketplace gives you 65 profiles of American households. The site is a collaboration between Marketplace, a daily radio broadcast from American Public Media, and mapping and data analyst company ESRI.
We mentioned this in our January cover story, but it’s a fun way to learn a little more about what your customers are into. Here are some great examples. Recognize any of your customers? Or yourself?
The power parents! You are in your mid-30s to mid-40s, you are highly educated, highly successful in your career and you make bank. You also make jellyfish costumes out of streamers and garbage bags for the 4th grade production of The Little Mermaid. You’ve got kids in school and they dominate your free time and your wallet. You drop most of your dough on toys, sports equipment, flat-screen TVs, family vacations and video games.
Senior Sun Seekers:
The snowbirds! Break out the playing cards and the SPF, your golden years are all about sun. Your budget maybe tight, but that doesn’t stop you from migrating between houses depending on the weather – while there, you like to invest in fixing the place up. You love eating out as well as painting, and gardening. You’re very fit and active and also active in your community—belonging to local fraternal orders and participating in charities. You love the great outdoors, and are a frequent visitor to national parks and also like to hunt and fish.
Main Street USA:
It’s the Griswolds! You are solidly middle class, average in our late 30s, own a house and most of your have kids. You’re very family oriented. You’ve got a solid job (which you NEED because braces, piano lessons and summer camp are not cheap). You watch your pennies and tend to prefer frugal activities like home movie night or board games. When you travel, it’s all about the munchkins—theme parks and national parks (Walley World!) You enjoy working on your home and your lawn. You enjoy eating out when not savoring the latest installment from the Jelly of the Month Club. Also, you own cats (don’t let them near the Christmas lights!)
According to NPR and the folks who make cars, luxury is back. After years of pinching pennies and worrying what the neighbors would think if they came home in a brand-new Bentley, people are starting to buy high-end goods again.
I won’t go into the psychological calculus behind consumption (suffice it to say that research shows people like to spend money — thanks, science!), but I do recognize the need in some high-end customer segments for a service provider that just gets the job done.
Whether it’s cars or stereo equipment or patios, some people have the desire (and money) for the best, and they don’t want to apologize to their friends or colleagues that they don’t have it.
Here’s Seth Godin’s take:
People will go out of their way to buy and recommend products that don’t require an apology.
They don’t want to have a dinner party and say, “Gosh, I’m sorry there’s no more room out here to sit, we’d wanted to put in more benches.” They don’t want to have their neighbors over and say, “Gee, I’m sorry there are so many weeds in the lawn.”
They want a pristine, lush lawn and a big, bold patio, and they’re unabashed in that desire. And now, with the economy turning around, they can pursue those things.
You don’t sell computers, or gadgets. But, we could all take a page from the folks at Apple on how they approach customer service.
If you like Apple products, and you’re their target demographic, then you’re in the club. They work very hard to give sell you (at a premium) what you want.
If you don’t — you don’t like the iPad, you think the iPhone should have more rounded corners, etc. — then they don’t have time for you. Send him your complaints and suggestions, and Steve Jobs will not be nice to you. He won’t be kind because he’s busy trying to please the people who already think Apple is awesome, and doesn’t want to waste time trying to convert someone who isn’t already sold.
It’s the same in any service industry. Why spend lots of time, attention and focus trying to capture new customers who don’t already want a new landscape or a greener yard? Spending that time on people who are already sold — or better, are already your customers — will be much more profitable.
Oh, and if you don’t already, you should definitely follow @lawnlandscape on Twitter.
Tweet image credit: @hotdogsladies.