How was your Black Fri­day shop­ping ex­pe­ri­ence?
Be­ing the mar­ket­ing nerd that I am, I can’t re­sist the urge to visit a few stores on Black Fri­day. The ex­pe­ri­ence in each store varies widely, and of­ten in in­ter­est­ing ways.
You can learn a lot about a busi­ness, its lead­er­ship, and its val­ues by watch­ing the staff work with cus­tomers dur­ing the hol­i­day sea­son. I’ll re­count an ex­pe­ri­ence I had on Black Fri­day.
A cer­tain name­less big box store was hav­ing an in­cred­i­ble deal on 4k Ul­tra HD TVs. Hey, I’m a guy … and ev­ery­one knows guys love a good TV. In fact, men are al­ways in the mar­ket for a TV, even if we al­ready have one. I sus­pect there’s a deep ceded bi­o­log­i­cal at­trac­tion to large TVs, but I haven’t re­searched the sci­ence of it yet.
My amaz­ing wife saw the deal and wanted to sur­prise the house with the new TV. So, her and her mom went to the store and ar­rived back with the TV. The kids and I were ec­static! As we un­boxed the TV we no­ticed that it was dam­aged, though. The bot­tom left cor­ner was de­stroyed and the TV was un­us­able.
So, the next chap­ter in this saga was an ex­change of the TV. For­tu­nately there was one left, and she was able to get the TV back home where we un­boxed yet an­other dam­aged TV … with the same cor­ner smashed to bits (I’m guess­ing a fork­lift driver some­where along the line had a stern talk­ing to).
So, we give up on the of­fer for the TV only to dis­cover that the same TV is still on sale at the same store a week later (on Black Fri­day). So we in­quire about it, and they’re out of in­ven­tory.
As I’m retelling the story of our first two at­tempts to the big box store clerk, the gen­tle­man asked med to stay put and briefly ex­cused him­self. He came back to me with a gift card for $20 and the prom­ise to price match a bet­ter TV they had in in­ven­tory to the lower pro­vide of the one I at­tempted to pur­chase twice.
It is so un­usual for a big box to quickly and ef­fec­tively solve a cus­tomer’s prob­lem. They have rules to abide by, chain of com­mand with man­age­ment and cor­po­rate, etc. The re­sult is that it’s quite hard to de­vi­ate from what the suits in cor­po­rate want to do, and the lack of flex­i­bil­ity can be dif­fi­cult for work­ers at the re­tail level. I don’t know if the store as­so­ciate who worked on my be­half had spe­cial cor­po­rate au­thor­ity, if the ex­haus­tion of the Black Fri­day marathon had worn some­one down, or what hap­pened be­hind the scenes. All I know is that I had a bad ex­pe­ri­ence, then gave the busi­ness an­other chance and the busi­ness didn’t merely sat­isfy me as a cus­tomer… they de­lighted me.
The point?
Every time you do busi­ness – not mat­ter what type of busi­ness you have – you have an op­por­tu­nity to es­tab­lish a re­la­tion­ship or com­plete a trans­ac­tion. The ex­pe­ri­ence con­trols the out­come. If you want to be seen as a trans­ac­tion type of busi­ness, get peo­ple in and out of there as quickly as pos­si­ble.
That’s a great short-term strat­egy. But if you want to have a busi­ness that be­comes a legacy, build it on re­la­tion­ships. Create the abil­ity for any­one to solve a cus­tomer prob­lem in your busi­ness at any time. A
sk your­self two cru­cial ques­tions this hol­i­day sea­son as you’re out and about, sub­ject­ing your­self to the hol­i­day re­tail ex­pe­ri­ence.
1. What ex­pe­ri­ence are you try­ing to cre­ate for your cus­tomers?
2. Is your busi­ness de­signed to en­gi­neer that ex­pe­ri­ence?
Make no mis­take, the ex­pe­ri­ence you cre­ate as a busi­ness is ev­ery bit as im­por­tant as the qual­ity of your web­site and all of your other mar­ket­ing ma­te­ri­als.
Each el­e­ment has a role to play in driv­ing traf­fic to your busi­ness and de­liv­ery what your cus­tomer wants once they’re en­gaged.
Take some time this hol­i­day sea­son to think about the ex­pe­ri­ence you’ve cre­ated in your busi­ness, and the one you want to have.
Then make your New Year’s Res­o­lu­tion to build the ex­pe­ri­ence you want!
Josh Gor­don is an award-win­ning mar­ket­ing com­mu­ni­ca­tions pro­fes­sional and Pres­i­dent of Full Spec­trum Mar­ket­ing, a full-ser­vice ad­ver­tis­ing agency with dig­i­tal roots based in Kent, Ohio and Wooster, Ohio. You can reach Josh at jgor­don@full­spec­trum­mar­ket­