Customers Aren’t Always Right

Rhonda HiltbrandI recently had an interesting conversation with a 16 year-old that works for a fast food chicken sandwich restaurant.  He was telling me that they have a man who comes in once a week, and orders a combo meal.  He then complains about the meal, so he is given a coupon for a free one next time.  He goes through this routine every week.  I was amazed and asked why they let him get by with it.  He said it is their policy (not widely known) and everyone who works there knows what the guy is doing, but they don’t want the hassle of correcting him.

I have customers who are devastated when they get an unfair, unkind review online.  They ask me what they should do.  They panic! I look at all their reviews and they are glowing…except for the one “mean” one.  I tell them to ask (online) the disgruntled customer to call them directly, or to stop in.  That gets it off the Internet and shows caring to any other reader.

I do notice one thing in common…it is always a complaint about the pricing first…then maybe the work.  I feel that makes it a pricing issue.  They want something for free and feel if they go online and make a fuss about it, the shop owner will cut them a deal just to keep them quiet.  The customer probably does this over and over again at different repair shops.  It is obvious that they knew the price before they said, “go ahead” so…

If this ever happens to you, and they do come in and talk to you, determine if this is just a “money-grab” or a real complaint about the service/repair job.  Of course, if the service/repair was incorrect, make it right!  If it was really about the money, ask why they gave permission to proceed with the job.

I am mostly writing this to say, should this happen to you, don’t be devastated.  There are people out there who almost make it a profession to “get something for nothing” due to the convenience of online complaining.  Don’t let it tear you or your staff apart.  You know you are great, I know you are great, and most importantly, from the majority of the glowing reviews, your customers know it, too.

Rhonda Hiltbrand
CEO
News Works Marketing


Your Website Is Now Your Yellow Pages!

Rhonda HiltbrandMany of our customers are telling us that they seem to be getting a lot more visits to their website, but it isn’t generating more sales.  Here is what a recent study discovered:

“The MMA recently unveiled a study for Allstate containing compelling new insights – including proof that there is no direct correlation between click-throughs and conversions.”

Your website will get more visits these days and should…because it is now being used to look up your telephone number. If consumers hang out a bit and click through that is good news…they may just be trying to see if you have an article about what they are experiencing with their vehicle.  Make sure you have that information on your website.

If you need help in this area, please contact us!  We’ll be glad to help!

Rhonda Hiltbrand
CEO
News Works Marketing


Looking for The Positive in a Negative World

Rhonda HiltbrandBusiness owners and/or service advisors often must set the tone for their business day.  If you are in the front-line servicing customers, you deal with all sorts of personalities.  Some days, you may feel a bit stressed and anxious and you aren’t exactly sure why.  I got to thinking about this recently when I was having a conversation with someone about how to deal with negative people.  They were wondering why people in general seem so negative lately.

We concluded that people could subconsciously become negative due to many factors; like waking up to the news on the alarm clock/radio each day.  The news is rarely good in those few minutes, and one’s head starts to be filled with negative vibes then and there.  What can you do to make life better for these negative folks you deal with?  You have to try to be the positive force.  It isn’t always easy but greet each one with a smile and hopefully your good attitude will spread and push out the bad attitude. Smile when you talk on the telephone, too.  It really does make a difference.

I also find counting my blessings helps me feel positive and I have much to be thankful for, including all of you.  I appreciate you more than I can say!

I hope you all have a wonderful Thanksgiving!

Stay positive!

Rhonda Hiltbrand
CEO
News Works Marketing

 


The Tale of the Hot Dog Vendor

Rhonda Hiltbrand“Early to bed, early to rise, work like [#%!] and advertise.” – Ted Turner

Over the years there have been similar versions of this tale.  It is one of my favorites.  From time to time I get asked to share it again, so here it is!

The Hot Dog Vendor

There was a hot dog vendor who sold the very best hot dogs by the side of the road. His business was booming, people loved his hot dogs, and his business steadily increased month after month. The man loved his business and believed in the need to provide great food at a great price.

This man was so busy advertising and selling his hot dogs and making lots of money, that he didn’t even have time to read the newspaper or listen to the radio. Consequently, he never heard a word about the potential economic slowdown. He just continued to offer his delicious hot dogs and his customers bought them. He kept advertising and selling, and they kept buying.

Then one day his college educated son told him that an economic downturn was surely coming. His son told him that people wouldn’t have enough money to buy his hot dogs. The successful hot dog vendor believed this, so on his son’s advice, he cut back on his advertising. Additionally, he started ordering less supplies and product, because after all, people would be cutting back soon.

He even went so far as to take down many of the billboards that led to his roadside stand. And sure enough, people stopped coming to him. People stopped buying his hot dogs, and he eventually went broke.

Then he thought to himself. “How smart my son is in predicting this.”

Hope you enjoyed it!

Happy advertising!
Rhonda Hiltbrand
CEO
News Works Marketing


Can You Be Replaced by Artificial Intelligence?

rhonda…Stephen Hawking suggests that “The development of full artificial intelligence could spell the end of the human race” to Elon Musk saying that “If I had to guess what our biggest existential threat is, it’s probably artificial intelligence.”

I must admit to you all that I am a Star Trek fan. My favorites are Star Trek, Next Generation and Star Trek, Voyager.  When it comes to artificial intelligence interacting with humans I always picture Data and The Doctor.  I know a lot of Sci Fi shows (and even these showed the dark side of AI on an episode or two) have the AI’s wiping out humanity, unhappy at how they had been treated.

My inbox is full lately on the subject of AI. My Smartbriefs articles are all about AI and what it can do for businesses.  It has been seen as the way to get back good customer service.  I have been thinking a lot about that lately and think to myself…what a shame that customer service has become so poor that we need to create an artificial type.

I had the point driven home to me when I was exceptionally tired last week and in a moment of weakness drove through and ordered a diet coke.  (I try to just have my morning coffee and then water the rest of the day).  The person handed me a dripping cup.  I asked that it be wiped off please (who wants that on their clothes and in the cup holder?).  They did and I left and when I went to take a drink the lid came off, getting me wet anyway.  At that moment, I thought that an AI being couldn’t do any worse and perhaps could do a whole lot better!

The news was saying that in ten years banks will no longer have tellers as they will be replaced with AI.  I find that very sad. Other businesses are also preparing to replace humans with kiosks and other forms of AI.

Next time you are out and about notice the type of customer service you are receiving.  Then ask yourself if you are giving the best possible customer service to your customers.  It is something to consider.  I am sure no one wants to feel they can be replaced by AI.

Rhonda Hiltbrand
CEO
News Works Marketing


Never Be Too “Busy” to Help the Customer

Most-Important-Visitor

Rhonda HiltbrandThis week I went, as usual, to our local farmer’s market.  They have many unique items, a wonderful array of Amish goods and local homemade items. I was at the deli counter and asked for a pound of shaved ham.  The counter person kept slicing and putting it up on the scale until it was short one quarter pound.  She sighed deeply and said if I must have a pound she would have to open a new package.  I was shocked at the attitude but said, “No, that is okay. I’ll try to get by with this amount.”

I think she then realized what she had done and asked me what I was going to use it for.  I told her and we chatted a bit about recipes and such and then she asked if I needed anything else.  Before I could answer she said, “I know, the rest of your order of ham!”  I told her it was okay and took my package and went about my shopping.

She was an employee at this small business and in my opinion basically cheated her employer out of a full sale (and this is always wrong no matter if it is a big box store or small independent) but I felt especially bad for this employer as it is a small, independent business and every sale counts!

I then thought about the Facebook post I had put on our News Works page (the one above) and thought…how very true!

Have a great month and treat those customers well!

Rhonda Hiltbrand
CEO
News Works Marketing


Who Likes To Get Mail?

Rhonda HiltbrandWhat a wonderful thing is the mail, capable of conveying across continents a warm human hand-clasp.  ~Author Unknown

I was going through my marketing smart briefs this week and ran across an article for marketers.  It said that many presume that only elderly people like to get direct mail but went on to say that, contrary to popular opinion, that assumption is just not true!  It turns out that all generations like to get mail.  I, of course, knew this as it is my job as a marketer to have all that information at my fingertips each and every day, just like it is your job to have your finger on the pulse of the automotive repair industry.

These days, when so many of us pay our bills online, our mailbox is less cluttered.  We pay more attention to the mail we do receive.  Online ads are always popping up and we have become so desensitized to these ads that we shut them down without even giving them a chance to be viewed.  We are focused on what we wanted to see online…and not allowing that ad(s) to interrupt our singlemindedness.

People will often look at something online and unless they print it out, will forget where they saw it.  A well put together printed piece of mail, on the other hand, is something people can hold on to and save until later.  They enjoy holding it, touching it, and retaining it (especially if it includes a coupon offer).

It seems that all generations, from Traditionalists (born 1945 – and before), Baby Boomers (born 1946 – 1964), Generation X (born 1965 – 1976) and Millennials (born 1977 – 2000) trust direct mail more than any other marketing channel.

I thought that all my customers who currently do direct mail with my company would enjoy reading this, and those who aren’t might wish to explore this option! It is hard to beat direct mail for Business to Consumer!

Rhonda Hiltbrand
CEO
News Works Marketing


Why We Suggest a Little Humor (and Sometimes a Lot!)

Rhonda HiltbrandHumor is the great thing, the saving thing after all. The minute it crops up, all our hardnesses yield, all our irritations, and resentments flit away, and a sunny spirit takes their place. ~Mark Twain

My mother has been gradually declining in health for four years.  She was 81 years old and today February 7th) the daily nurse came to my parent’s home and left some literature about what to expect during these final days of her life.  My sister and I were there, and of course, we were all feeling sad. (Mom passed around midnight).

Our dear Pastor Roberts came by and we discussed the funeral plans and he wanted some of my Mom’s history (where her and Dad met, where they got married and other facts) and Dad answered and told some stories.  The Pastor then asked us all to go to Mom’s beside where he prayed a beautiful, uplifting prayer.  He then asked us to join him in the living room.

Dad, my sister and I listened to him as he shared an experience he had as a chaplain for Hospice (he was a Hospice Chaplain for 30 years during much of his time as a pastor).  He went to a patient’s room that he had known for some time, and her two daughters were there.  He said he would like to pray with their Mom.  They said that was okay but that she had been totally unresponsive for two weeks.  He knelt and gently told the patient that he would like to pray with her, not expecting a response, when she said, “Okay, just keep it brief!”  He fell over and her daughters were shocked!  Those were the last words she spoke before she died.

We laughed, knowing that pastors frequently get teased about long sermons and prayers!  He spoke at her funeral and said that this woman told him exactly what she expected at her funeral.  The daughters started laughing thinking about it and when Reverend Roberts shared the story with those attending the funeral, they all laughed.

I know my Dad, sister and I felt so much better after he shared this with us.  It has been a very serious time in our lives, one which no one can ever really be prepared for, yet when he left our day had been brightened and our energy renewed!

We know some of our customers simply want “very serious” all the time and that is fine.  Our customers who allow us to include humor know it helps in so many ways, because humor transcends your audience. Do what works best for you, of course, but this is just an example of how humor always has a place! We shared this story with the funeral director as we finalized the plans for Mom and he enjoyed it as well. It got us through the tough times.

Hope you all have a great week!

Rhonda Hiltbrand
CEO
News Works Marketing

PS:  Don’t forget about our referral program for 2017!  If you refer a shop to us and they become a customer, we will give you the following for free:

Newsletters – 250 free with your order or

Postcards – 500 free with your order

This special is good all year long!


Gratitude

Rhonda HiltbrandGratitude is the best attitude. ~Author unknown

It is that time again!  Time to pause and count our blessings.  It would benefit us all, of course, to count our blessings daily.

I know life gets crazy and sometimes it is difficult to stop and realize all the good we have in our lives.  Service advisors sometimes deal with difficult customers and of course, being a small business owner is a daily challenge all by itself.  I’m sure, like me, you sometimes wonder, “What was I thinking?”  LOL!

Speaking as a business owner, I know I have lots of people to thank each and every day for keeping the business going.  It seems seamless sometimes, but of course, that is just because my staff and my suppliers do their jobs so well that it seems to run on auto pilot.  Of course, if anything happened to any one of them, the business would feel it!

I am very thankful for all our wonderful customers! We talk about this at our Friday staff/lunch meetings.  We have such great customers and they seem more like friends as we truly care about them on a personal level and we feel they care about us in return.  Can it get any better than that?  The only way that can be improved on is to get more just like them!

Thanks for everything you do to help us make News Works Marketing a success! Our goal each day is to help you keep your business successful!

I hope you all have a wonderful Thanksgiving!

Rhonda Hiltbrand
CEO
News Works Marketing


Certified

Rhonda HiltbrandA certificate does not make you certified. Attitude, performance, commitment to self and team — these and a certificate make you certified. ~Author Unknown

This quote pretty much says it all!

Attitude – Come to work each day and do your best to put any troubles behind you and add a smile!
Performance – Come to work each day ready to perform to the best of your ability!
Commitment – Come to work each day ready to serve the customer and help your team!

A certification is really great…it shows you know how to pass a test.  The real test each day is to put what you know into practice.

You can do it!!
Rhonda Hiltbrand
CEO
News Works Marketing