Bowling Industry Online

The World's Only Online Magazine Devoted Exclusively to the Business of Bowling

Today, “flat” is the new “up.”  As the economy continues to drag, that new
reality is banging into an old reality.

When times are tough, owners and operators take a cost-cutting knife to
Marketing.  However, intuitive these actions might seem, it’s time to
spend.  Companies that continued to invest in sales, innovation and
marketing during the past 18 years have a  book-to-market value 25% greater
than those that “battened down the hatches” (“The Importance of the
Customer Experience in a Down Economy – International Thought Leader
Report, First Edition,” Customer Futures, 2008).

More importantly, when you cut back, you become invisible

When no one is buying, chasing new business not only demoralizes everyone,
it’s a waste of time.  Instead, divert new business development resources
to customer retention and concentrate your efforts on meeting the needs of
the customers you already have.

Perceptive marketing people look “closer to home” will find that they
already own the single most effective asset needed to jump start sales.
Buried in your customer list are those new business opportunities you
need.  Discovering and closing those opportunities, however, requires a new
way of thinking.

Customers are in the driver’s seat when it comes to buying decisions.
Customers do more to compel sales than marketers do.  If you doubt that,
consider the power of social media, word-of-mouth and referrals in these
real world behaviors:
· 87% will stop doing business with a company after a negative
experience–up from 80% in 2007 and 68% in 2006
· 84% of those who had suffered a negative experience would tell someone
else–up from 74% in 2007 and 67% in 2006 (2008 Customer Experience Report,
Harris Interactive)

Don’t throw in the towel just yet.  This same report contained some good
news for companies with outstanding service:
· 58% would pay more for a better experience – even now
· 58% credited outstanding service as the number one reason to recommend,
outstripping low prices (44%) and product/service quality (43%)

The secret is building loyalty. And to do that you need some information.
So how do you do that?

Ask just three simple questions:

1. What do you need/want/desire that we aren't  providing?
2. Will you buy from us again?
3. Will you recommend us to your colleagues?
(The goal in this question #3) is to register a 9 or 10 on a 10 point
scale. Anything that is 8 and under is a “fail”)

Use this free R&D to expand your footprint in existing markets, uncover new
business opportunities and find ways to improve your products, services and
communications.

When you make those improvements and communicate them back to the customer,
not only will you let him know that he was heard, but you will make him
part of your success!

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