Death of a Business……
“First, the business forgets its customer…….
Then, the customer forgets the business.” ……..Mark St.Cyr
I originally wrote of an experience I had with a vendor that in some cases teetered on the brink of foolishness. I have changed my opinion, and want to state clearly so there’s no misinterpretations. Foolishness was a little light. A better term would either be, ridiculous or just plain stupid. Let me explain…..
I originally wrote about how I tried to buy an item online from a vendor (you’ll remember, I PAY a membership fee for the privilege!) and in that transaction I noted they were allowing anyone to receive the same pricing as their best customers, and how that affected someone like myself who had to pay for the privilege, and the repercussions it might entail for the company. (read the January archived article for the details.) I thought it was over and couldn’t get worse. Boy was I mistaken.
Since the last article here’s what happened in chronological order….
1. I cooled off after a couple of weeks and decided to order the book anyway. ( I’m a fan of Seth Godin, and this was his latest book, more why this is relevant as the tale unfolds.)
2. I receive emailed discount coupons (remember I pay for the privilege) so I decided maybe I should use it on the purchase. At least it would be a token to make me feel better since now anyone gets my price.
3. At check out I enter my coupon, low and behold it accepts it. Only problem is, if I used my super secret, double decoder ring membership special pricing, it increases the price! That’s right, because it takes the price down cents below the free shipping price. So now I have to pay more than anyone else. Makes one feel just special, don’t you think?
4. At this point I’m mashing my teeth through this ordeal and decide I’ll use the convenient “Pick it up at the store” option. Maybe since now there’s no shipping, they’ll possibly, and I mean possibly let me use my discount. Trust me I was not holding my breath, but it was worth the shot.
5. I get to the store and wala..They have the book reserved. (Read archive for why this was a surprise.) I take the book and decide while there I will shop for a few other things.
6. I go to the register with not one, but three more items only to find out…..wait for it……….Not only do I have to pay more than the anyone who is breathing price, and more than the screw you “Mr. Sucker Membership Holder” price, but yes,…………..Even more!
You can not make this stuff up, and here’s the kicker. This epic tale is about trying to purchase a book by the author Seth Godin (who’s marketing insights I respect.) and who recently wrote on his blog insights why he believes the so-called “Book Stores” might be dead, and the fact this story revolves around trying to buy one of his products is just plain ironic.
So to wrap it up here’s the lesson. If you want to just kill your business, and tick off your best customers in these economic times, or any time ……..
Step 1. Make them feel like Suckers for Paying for a privilege of getting discounts that you’ll in turn give to anyone for FREE.
Step 2. Show them over and over in as many ways possible that they are “Suckers” not “Preferred” customers, as often as you can across all your P.O.S. (point of sale) outlets or platforms.
Step 3 . Have many manager and staff meetings to ponder the reasons why sales are down.
Step 4. Implement more foolish sales gimmicks because they sound good.
Step 5. Keep all your front line store clerks in the dark so when it’s explained to them by a ticked off “Membership paying” customer, they can either agree with how moronic your gimmick is, or they’ll just stand there like deer in the headlights signaling they don’t care, because they don’t. They’re not empowered to do anything about it, so they’ll just have to stand there and listen. They’ll shrug their shoulders agreeing with how foolish the policy is, and hope there isn’t another customer to wait on so they can get back to texting, or yakking it up with another non-empowered employee.
Step 6. While planning your companies great “Marketing and Sales” strategies, don’t give any thought about your bread and butter clients because you wont need to. They’ll all be there at the “Going Out Of Business Sale”. Because nothing attracts a crowd, like a crowd. Now that’s marketing you can stick with. Don’t worry about my consulting fee. It’s the least I can do for one of my “Preferred Clients”… Right?