By Guest Contributor Kathy Hartman, US Marketing Director; Trading Area Expert, Builder of Infrastructure Technology Solutions at McDonald’s Corporation
Start on shaky ground and you’re sure to collapse!
What is the biggest mistake local businesses make when creating a Local Store Marketing plan? It’s driving customers to their location and delivering a horrible experience. That horrible experience can literally take years to overcome—worse, that horrible experience often goes viral—impacting many other customers along the way.
So, before you decide to invest in a local marketing plan for your business, make certain that you’ve established a solid foundation your Local Store Marketing efforts can build on. A foundation built o the things most important to your customers. Ask yourself the following seven questions:
1. Are you delivering a quality product?
Whether it’s a fabulous frappé, a precision-driven oil change or a perfectly prepared order—today’s consumer won’t settle for anything less than great! They simply have too many other options to choose from.
2. Is your business properly staffed?
Do you have the right number of employees to serve your existing customers? Proper staffing is critical to delivering a good customer experience. In today’s always multi-tasking world, no one wants to wait to give you their business.
3. Are your aces in the right places?
Every employee has different strengths. Some are friendly. Some detail-oriented. Some would rather be home watching TV (maybe they should be). Know your employee’s strengths and areas for improvement and assign them the tasks that will allow them to help make your business a success.
4. Does your Team need training?
Working in a retail location is complicated—POS systems, mobile app redemptions, steps to producing a freshly made product, expertise in your product offerings…Make sure that you’ve set your employees up to shine with proper training.
5. What does your business look like through the eyes of the customer?
Is it clean? Organized? Easy to navigate and find what they are looking for? Approach your location as if it’s the first time you’ve seen your business and look at what the customer sees. Look at things like landscaping, trash bins, restrooms, product organization. Are you impressed? You need to be if you want your customers to be.
6. Are your existing customers satisfied?
Many franchisees and business owners forget that they have a built-in survey system available to them—they simply need to talk to their customers. Introduce yourself as they are leaving and ask for their opinion. If you use a receipt survey system, track your customer ratings and see where you can improve. It’s all about delivering a great experience!
7. Do your customers value what you are offering?
Value goes way beyond offering a good price for a product or service. Value is the entire package…friendly service, clean location, reasonable prices, great products. The beauty of value is that it provides forgiveness. If you are delivering something that your customers value, the goodwill you’ve generated will help overcome your occasional misses. Mistakes will occur, but customers want to forgive – as long as what you’re delivering is something they value.
Establishing this strong foundation of Quality, Service, Customer Satisfaction and Value is critical to your Local Store Marketing plan’s success. These are the things that are most important to your customers and that you have to deliver on first and foremost before you even contemplate implementing Local Store Marketing ideas and driving customers into your business. You wouldn’t build a house on a crumbling foundation. Don’t try to build your business on one!
Kathy Hartman is one of the world’s foremost authorities on Local Store Marketing, building sales and community connections at the individual location level.
Kansas City ~ Atlanta ~ Chicago