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Lawrence, KS 66049
Phone: 785-760-5071
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A view of the industry through the eyes of independent and chain retailers.

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It's the Customer's Definition of Service That Counts, Not Yours

Apple needs some help and K&B's CHA seminar schedule.

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 pay."

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.


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 208AB.

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 year!

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 learn

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 your business.)

KIZER & BENDER Speaking!

Keynotes | Seminars | Consulting | Store Design

103 North 11th Ave., Ste. 206, St. Charles, Illinois 60174

Phone: 630-513-8020 | 24/7

Mobile: 708-347-2682

Fax: 630-513-8098

Web: www.kizerandbender.com

Blog: www.kizerandbender.blogspot.com

Twitter: http://twitter.com/kizerandbender




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