What Solo Entrepreneurs Can Learn From Nordstrom

Nordstrom is known for its incredible customer service and return policy. But what you may not know is they have quite a following among high end luxury shoppers who have exclusive access to in house fashion shows, pre-sale events, and special shopping days. Nordstrom knows how to give a great shopping experience.

Wondering what all this has to do with the solo entrepreneur? The quick answer is loyalty and rewards = continued support and more money.

National stores sometimes have to compete on price, service or some other type of characteristic to maintain loyalty. And one of the ways they maintain a following is offering their customer special events or rewards.

Nordstrom’s Collectors Department, on occasions throughout the year offers a select few of their luxury shoppers access to items before the general public and a style event showcasing their high end products such as Gucci, St. John,  Marni and Burberry.

Nordstrom, Walnut Creek , California

Using these techniques from Nordstrom and applying them to your business is a great way to interact with your loyal clients and reward them for their support. And who wouldn’t like a little recognition for loyalty? Everyone wants to feel special.

Create a loyal following by treating your customers with an extra perk now and again, and you will garner publicity by word of mouth. This kind of buzz is worth it.

Let me know your thoughts and comments about how to create a loyal customer base. Have a special reward that you want to share? Leave the information in the comments with a link to your site.

I look forward to reading your  great ideas.

Photocredits- me

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Unusually bad customer service destroys a business

Don’t abuse your customers!

Customer service is the foundation of almost every industry. The best rule of thumb is the Golden Rule principle. If you aren’t familiar with this principle, read what Wikipedia has to say to get a basic meaning. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Golden_Rule)

One of the most insane communication exchanges I have come across today, is between two parties involving customer service. The worst form of customer service magnified I believe I have ever read.

To fully understand what this post is about you must go to this link and read it thoroughly to comprehend the complexity of the situation.

Here’s the link:

http://penny-arcade.com/resources/just-wow1.html

This exchange of verbal abuse was wrong on so many levels that I’m not surprised about the outcome. Complete and utter destruction of a business.  I’m not sure I wholeheartedly agree with the guy who owns Penny Arcade to post the private exchange between the two parties, except that Dave did request help. I’m not sure that I would have posted the information, but I would have taken some action to try to correct the wrong that was done to the consumer, especially if it was someone I knew and it could create an effective change.

 Anyone have any thoughts about what transpired? What would you have done if you were the customer?

Thanks for taking a look at this post. I’m sure it will serve as a reminder to all of us how NOT to treat another human being.

Here are a few other related links to check out. It might be worth a look to see what others have to say about such an incident.

How Canon captured more than photos and film

Suzette at the Canon Event, Paramount Studios, Los Angeles, CA

Friday, November 4th at The Paramount studios in Los Angeles, Canon launched it’s newest product the C300. As a Canon 7d owner and longtime industry film and photo freelancer, I was excited to receive an invite from Canon to be at the product debut for a hands on demonstration.  Canon captured more than photos and film they captured their audience. Canon got alot of the publicity event elements right but professionals say they missed the mark with their product. Regardless, Canon knows how to put on a good show and get people talking.

This post isn’t about covering the specifications on this product, only a brief analysis of the publicity element, so if you are interested in reading more about the camera specs check out this blog:

http://www.onerivermedia.com/blog/?p=429

Canon delivered hundreds of passes to the product launch event to Media production facilities and notable film/video individuals around the country. By sending out invitations, to those movers and shakers in the film and video industry, Canon focused on the group they felt was their target audience. Focus is a key factor in determining your user group, and how the product will affect workflow. In this case filmmakers looking for a cinematic style optioned camera with easy maneuverability.

Location of the launch event was a key factor in setting the right mood for the aim of this product, namely filmmakers. Holding the event at Paramount Studios in Los Angeles, the film capital of the world made a bold statement to the community that Canon is opening its market to a new type of filmmaker whose budget is around the 20k area. Obviously, location is great way to shift your audiences thought process about your product. The average person knows Canon as a photography company as well as their dominance in HDSLR arena but this announcement gets people to see the company in multiple aspects.

Another vital aspect of this event launch was the hands on product demonstration and cross promotion effort. Canon had more than a generous amount of different models available in different configurations to suit a variety of filmmaking situations. We all know how important it is to be able to hold the product in hand and get first hand knowledge of what we like about the product and what it can really do. Now here is where the product can really affect the consumers and make or break the appeal for the intended audience. After the product reaches the consumer’s hand, its really out of your control the direction opinions will take. All you can do is set the stage to give the target market access to get the word out, and they will decide whether it meets their needs. Canon definitely excelled in this department and collaborated with numerous related film and photographic companies to provide the best possible user experience. One company on hand that collaborated with Canon was Red Rock. Each representative was very knowledgeable not only with their company’s product but the host company’s product as well.

Social media played a huge impact in information being rapidly deployed the minute it was unveiled. As always there is always more than one opinion about whether a product is good or whether a product is bad. Nothing can be all things to all people. But like the saying says, sometimes any coverage is better than no coverage. Twitter, Facebook and their website all offered information about the product and its future.

The climax however of Canon’s publicity event was the Full cinematic screening of several films made on the new camera before it made its debut to the general public. You can view some of the released films here at the following links

http://canoncinemaeos.com/?Nov3

http://vimeo.com/user8943175/review/31623615/c55b54fdb3?Nov4

http://www.canoncinemaeos.com/media-gallery.php?Nov5

 

Canon, indeed made their mark  again by capturing more than just photos and film. They captured the audience they felt was their target market. Isn’t that what we all want to do? Start capturing your audience. And if you need help, don’t hesitate to call. I’m here to help you make your dream visible.

5 Ways to Deal With the Difficult Client in Your Chair

In daily life, difficult people can be everywhere, whether driving or in the checkout stand at the grocery store. Most people in the service industry have dealt with difficult clients. But, it becomes particularly interesting to work with clients in the hair or makeup chair who believe, they are paying you for a service, and feel that they are entitled to treat you as a servant for the duration of the service.

As an industry veteran, I have worked with all kind of negative clients, the difficult, the bossy, the naïve, the passive aggressive, and the constantly angry personality. Five ways to deal with a negative client, and still maintain professionalism, is to create an outline of the service, establish boundaries, maintain focus, don’t internalize their behavior, and as a last option, discontinue future services.

 

  1. Create and state, the outline of the service you intend to perform with the client. Make it clear, that they chose you, because of your expertise in your field. Do not argue, or raise your voice with the client, but clearly state the services you are rendering for them.
  2. Establish boundaries with the client, and let them know up front, that you are rendering a service, but you understand that they may be having a bad day, but it is NOT acceptable for them to take it out on you. If you don’t know what your boundaries are before the client gets in your chair, then they are directing the behavior of the session. Know yourself and what does and doesn’t work for you.
  3. During the service, if the client is still occasionally rude or difficult, maintain your focus while working, but continue to be clear, and let them know they are crossing the established boundary. Be firm, but polite when letting them know they are close to the line.
  4. Often, clients step in to your chair with all of their problems, and immediately want to talk about what is going on in their lives. They use the beauty session as their personal therapy outlet. More often, than not, we are first to hear about the latest gossip about relationships, financial disasters or family loss. Because of the willingness client’s have with sharing personal information, it’s important to remember, not to internalize the client’s problems and behavior. Don’t take it personal. Realize that it isn’t you that the client is frustrated or angry with, unless you did something that directly caused such behavior. Know that everyone has good days and bad days. Try to give the benefit of the doubt before taking step number 5.
  5. Dismissing a client should be your last option. However, if a client continues to cross the line and is verbally abusive, he or she MUST leave. Do not acknowledge that this behavior is acceptable.  I have been in this situation on set where I clearly let the person know that I work for myself and that such behavior is not acceptable and will not be tolerated. I further informed them that they had two choices, they could continue with the service with a new revised attitude, or could leave and find someone else to take care of their services.

 

If you need to use option five make sure you have exhausted your resources and patience with the situation. If you are working on set, make sure that you involve the Director or Production Manager. Do not try to handle the situation alone. If however you are in your salon and renting space and this is a client that was referred to you, you must take matters into your own hands and clearly state the reasons why you are dismissing them. It is also important to let the person who referred them to you know that such a client is not appropriate for your clientele base. There is no need to give details, but do make the referring source aware of the situation.

Although there are many more ways to handle difficult clients, this should give you a good base to start with. Good luck and maintain your professionalism!

 

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