Clearly the better choice…

This is a true story.

I was intrigued about why my friend’s family got a Mercedes-Benz instead of one of those cool-looking BMW’s. When I brought this up, I was hoping for a convoluted answer that would spark a very interesting debate about the awesomeness of BMW’s versus Mercedes-Benz. Instead I got a very trivial answer with him replying, “We went into the BMW dealership and wasn’t even greeted within the first 15 minutes. My mom got pissed and we went next door to the Mercedes dealership.” Then I asked whether it was just a matter of convenience and his reply was that the order of visiting dealerships were already planned ahead: first BMW , then Mercedes-Benz next door, then Lexus down the street from there.
I was speechless. At how insignificant these points were compared to the myriad of rebuttals I came up with.

However, this story does serve a point.
Imagine the difference in sales volume a certain store can get if all customers were greeted upon immediately as they entered the store.
It’s a simple concept: everyone has an ego, they want to feel important.
If you make them feel important, then they’ll more likely be inclined to pry open their wallets and fork over their hard-earned disposable income during this recessionary stage.

Oh, it also helps not to judge your customer’s by their appearance. I’m not implying that the sales people at that certain BMW dealership were not greeting them or acknowledging their existence because they were dressed humbly and casually. Perhaps they were just busy.

To illustrate the power of social media as customer service tool, let’s take a look at one of my top picks for budding companies: ClearlyContacts.ca.

As their name suggests, they started their business with sales and distribution of contact lenses. In my opinion, it wasn’t until they started to enter into the framed glasses business were they truly successful.

Their social media
With two customer relations representative extraordinare, Julia B (JB) and Maria J (MJ), at the helm their communications through facebook and twitter is fast, efficient, and effective.

http://www.facebook.com/ClearlyContacts.ca

Firstly, I was exposed to their facebook page. With frequent announcements of special deals, their facebook page is a solid vehicle through which to deliver strong promotional campaigns.

http://twitter.com/#!/ClearlyContacts
Their twitter serves in a similar capacity to announce promotions and address customers’ questions and complaints.

The most powerful way they’re leveraging this is replying to posts within a short period of time, often within two hours during a work day. Emails are then sent to confirm the problem is addressed and outline the actions they’ve already taken.
This is value-added customer service people.

Their print media
ClearlyContacts.ca has also taken a very aggressive approach to their marketing through print media. If you check out the local newspapers in Toronto right before the holidays (Christmas, New Year, Valentine’s, Mother’s day etc) you’ll see huge ad spots for ClearlyContacts.ca.
Amazing deals such as the current buy one, get one free deal.
Also it helps to have some good-looking models.

Frankly, with how their business is set up, the company is aiming to change the purchase pattern and consumption/shopping behaviour of consumers. This is perfectly complemented by their aggressive promotional offerings as well as quality products. The highly experiential process of purchasing a pair of glasses is leveraged by creating an environment where customers are treated as royalty so as to encourage repeat business.

The take-home message for this case study is that for any company out there aiming to change purchase patterns and behaviours of consumers this is a viable strategy. But be prepared! The margins for the first year or so will definitely be a write-off. If you can tough it out through that rough patch, then the margins will surely return as you build a strong customer base and a loyal following.
Of course, those have a foundation in superior customer service.
A tool to achieve that superior customer service is through the fast, efficient and effective communications done through facebook and twitter.

For their outstanding and sound marketing strategy, ClearlyContacts.ca has earned
9 b’s out of 10
b.b.b.b.b.b.b.b.b.b.

And of course, the bee Choice Award!

 

PS. Let me know what your inclination is: BMW or Mercedes-Benz?

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