A view of the industry through the
eyes of independent and chain retailers.
It's the Customer's Definition of Service That
Counts, Not Yours
Apple needs some help – and K&B's CHA
by Rich Kizer & Georganne Bender (December 7, 2009)
One of the things we're known for is our unique research: we
stalk and study that most elusive of mammals – today's consumer.
In addition to posing as every kind of customer you can imagine,
each year we host consumer focus groups, one-on-one interviews, and
intense on-site experience studies. Sometimes we pose as customers
and sometimes we actually are customers. For Rich, this was one of
those "I really am a customer" times.
Apple stores are cool, and so are their products. We can spend a
lot of time in them, when we have a lot of time. This was not the
case on this particular trip. Rich was in the market for a glare
shield for his iPhone, but he didn't have much time to spare.
So he stopped in the new Apple store near his home. He was met by
a young lady, the store's official greeter, who asked if she could
help. Rich said, "Yes, I need a glare shield for my iPhone."
The greeter processed his request and immediately began speaking
into her high tech device: "Evelyn? Can you hear me?"
Evelyn responded with a yes. Rich knew this because he could clearly
hear her – she was standing less than six feet from him. The two
Apple associates looked directly at one another and continued their
conversation via their high-tech devices.
"Evelyn, I have a gentleman here looking for a glare shield
for his iPhone. Can you help him?" Again, Evelyn replied with a
yes, followed by "Send him over to me."
Okay, are you getting that Rich was listening to the two of them
talking to one another in their normal tone of voice? They were so
close he didn't even need a high tech device of his own. He's
standing there thinking how weird this whole thing is, wondering if
he's on MTV's Punk'd, and he's laughing to himself. Okay, maybe this
is just the Apple way.
But it gets better.
The greeter points Rich to Evelyn (as if he didn't already know
who and where she was; she's now standing about an arm's length away
from him). He reaches Evelyn in a nanosecond. She blinks at him,
confused. He says, "I'm the guy looking for a glare shield for
my iPhone." "Oh!" she says, "It's you!"
Come on, Rich is thinking. You just saw me a few feet away, talking
with the greeter. Of course it's me. Evelyn escorts him to the
iPhone accessories wall and quickly points out the item he needs.
Perfect! But just like every other shopper these days, Rich
doesn't have a lot of time. He whips out his credit card and offers
it to Evelyn, who says, "Oh no, not me; you'll have to find one
of the people with a black holster on their belt to pay. I'm just
the concierge." Rich thinks, "What? I will have to FIND
someone? Why do I have to find someone? Why can't they find
me?" Or better yet, where's the cashier?
Rich looks around the busy store. He sees a few of the
holster-toting "Apple Geniuses" running around. (Yep,
that's really what they're called.) All the Geniuses are busy with
customers who have made appointments to see them. Rich stops one and
says, "Can you please ring this up for me? I'm kind of in a
hurry." The Genius replied, "Sorry, I'm busy with a
customer right now. Please wait until one of us is available. It
will probably be five to ten." Then he walked away.
No, he won't wait "five to ten"; he can't wait
"five to ten", so Rich put the glare shield down and
walked out of the store.
Here's the thing: we can understand that the Apple Geniuses are
busy with more important things than ringing up a glare shield, but
really, isn't Apple smart enough to figure out how to accommodate
customers who need to make a quick purchase and don't need a Genius
to tell them how it works?
Isn't that what customer-service sensitivity is all about? Why
can't the Apple concierges be trained to ring up a sale? When faced
with a customer request, concierges in the finest hotels respond
with, "It would be my pleasure." Not, "You'll have to
find one of the people with a black holster on their belt to
Look, we don't care who you are or what you do, don't ever forget
this very important service rule: When it comes to customer service,
it is the customer's definition that counts, not yours.
It doesn't take a genius to figure that one out.
K&B SEMINARS AT THE CHA WINTER SHOW
1. The $1.99 An Idea Luncheon, Sun., Jan. 24, 12:30 -
2:00 pm, Room 208AB.
Back by popular demand and hosted by Rich Kizer & Georganne
Bender, The $1.99 An Idea Luncheon is just the place to
learn, laugh and win money! Join Rich and Georganne for an
informative, fun-filled program that puts you in the spotlight –
your 15 minutes of fame!
Have you longed to host the door spinning in-store events you've
heard Georganne and Rich share at seminars? Do you want to be next
to hold an event envied by creative retailers across the country?
Would you like to have at least one no-cost, low-cost in-store event
penciled in each and every month on your promotional calendar?
Share your store's best success ideas with other CHA members:
Have you run a promotion that drew customers to your store in
droves? Great! Share your idea and line your pockets with $1.99. How
about a unique display technique that sells product so fast you
can't keep it in stock? Cool! Share your idea and win a $1.99. Have
you discovered the way to your associates' hearts? We're all ears
and you'll be a $1.99 richer.
Nourish your wallet and your mind! Your imagination will go into
overdrive as you share the ideas you've used on your path to
success. The $1.99 An Idea Luncheon promises to be an
insightful and profitable event you can't afford to miss!
2. First Out of the Gate: In-Store Events to Drive Sales
in the 1st & 2nd Quarters, Mon., Jan.25, 12:00-1:00 pm, Room
Described this way: "EVERYTHING You Need to Run In-Store
Events that Build Sales and Increase Traffic!
At CHA Summer 2009, Rich and Georganne shared enough
traffic-building, door-spinning, no-cost, low-cost events to fill
your promotional calendar for the months of September through
January. This seminar comes full circle with even more
sales-building, in-store events and promotions for the rest of the
This seminar promises to be a storehouse of insider tricks of the
trade and practical suggestions on how to spin the doors in your
store! You'll learn retailer-tested, tried and true major and minor
in-store events and promotions, including marketing ideas and PR
plans for each month in the first and second quarters. You'll
receive a Promotional Planning Calendar you'll fill in as we go
along – plus all of the how-to instructions, ad slicks, templates,
store meeting notes, and more you'll need to thrill your customers
and drive your competition crazy.
This seminar is the next best thing to having KIZER & BENDER
working in your store! Get ready for some crowd control: Retail
Sales Building Events for the 1ST & 2nd Quarter Calendar is
loaded with "Non-stop Traffic-Building, Profit-Producing,
Attention-Grabbing, Sales-Generating, Competition-Miffing,
Customer-Winning Retail Promotions you just can't afford to miss!™"
3. Social Media Lab: Learn the Steps to Join the
Conversation, Tues., Jan. 26, 12:00-1:30 pm, Room 208AB.
Have you heard the buzz term, "Social Media" but you're
not sure what it means? Are your kids and customers using Facebook
and Twitter, but you're not sure how you can use them to promote
your business? Or, do you want to be on Facebook and Twitter, but
you just need help to setup accounts?
If you answered "Yes" to any one of these questions,
then plan to attend CHA's Social Media Lab! Georganne Bender will
show you step by step how to be part of the conversation; you'll
A) What's the difference between Facebook and Twitter? Which
should you use?
B) How to join Facebook; Do you need a personal, business or
fan page? How many "friends" are too many? What's the
difference between the "Wall" and my Profile?
C) How to create a Twitter account: What should your account
name be? Who should you follow and who should follow you? What does
that "@" sign mean?
D) Who, What, When: To whom am I talking? What am I saying?
When am I saying it?
Bring your laptop loaded with photos, and join this hands-on
session to leave with both a Facebook and Twitter account created
for your business. (Note: laptop is not required, but
recommended, to participate. Computers will not be supplied.)
(Note: Rich Kizer and Georganne Bender are professional
speakers, retail strategists, authors, and consultants whose client
list reads like a "Who's Who" in international business.
Retailers depend upon KIZER & BENDER for timely advice on
consumers and the ever changing retail market place.
Named "Two of Retailing's Most Influential People,"
KIZER & BENDER are experts on consumer and generational
diversity, marketing and promotion, and everything retail. They are
widely referred to as retail anthropologists because they stalk and
study that most elusive of mammals: today's consumer.
Any speaker can talk about customers, but Georganne and Rich
actually become them. In addition to focus groups, one-on-one
interviews, and intensive on-site studies, their research includes
posing as every kind of customer you can imagine – and maybe even
a few that you can't! The result of their research is literally
straight from the customers' mouth: solid, ground-level intelligence
that you can use today to better serve your own customers and build
KIZER & BENDER Speaking!
Keynotes | Seminars | Consulting | Store Design
103 North 11th Ave., Ste. 206, St. Charles, Illinois 60174
Phone: 630-513-8020 | 24/7
COPYRIGHT KIZER & BENDER 2009. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED