Discount off next visit

February 28, 2009

The other Friday evening my wife and a group of her friends went out for a meal. The restaurant has had a good reputation, they had all been there before and there was no reason to doubt that they would not get great food and service. When the meals arrived however the food tasted bland, and most of the dishes were not sufficiently heated through. It got to the point where they did actually complain to the waiter. The response they received was that they could “get a discount off their next visit” – not a particularly good one since the whole party has vowed never to go back again anyway.

We know that a complaint properly handled can actually increase customer satisfaction and even go so far as to create a real brand advocate. On the other hand in the current climate this was probably not the best way to respond to customer feedback.

Valentine’s Day

February 16, 2009

I heard on the radio over the weekend that, according to research by Asda, 39% of respondents were looking to ‘cut the cost of Valentine’s day’.  It’s an interesting statistic, but is this something that any normal person would actually think about doing; I mean totally unprompted. Sure we look to cut the cost of our groceries, manage the cost of Christmas, or try to budget our summer holiday. But Valentine’s day? Believe me, I’m all for market research, but I’m not sure what this really tells us other than that thankfully the media still lap up ‘research’ statistics and brand owners will continue to source them.

Tweet tweet

February 14, 2009

It seems at the moment you can’t open a newspaper or turn on the radio without hearing about Twitter – so I thought if you can’t beat ‘em.  Here in the office we’ve been trying to figure it out as well for a couple of weeks now. I think we fall into two broad camps, one just can’t figure out what it is all about at all, the other, albeit a much smaller group, and the one that I am in, is intent on trying to understand more about it and its potential business applications.

Hearing about what Wossy is getting up to or hearing about Stephen Fry stuck in a lift is of course one thing, however what I was interested in last week was how Fresh & Easy the US grocery chain owned by Tesco was using Twitter to communicate to its customers promotional offers, recipe ideas or new store openings.

However what is also interesting is that despite 4.4 million users, of which 220,000 are in the UK alone it seems as though the founders have not got a clear idea about how they will actually make any money – not the first time we’ve heard this about an internet start up.  This means they are now thinking about charging brands to use Twitter, so I’m fascinated to see how this develops since I’m sure there is a way to harness this technology for our own particular business use

The other thing I’d really like to know though is how Twitter researched before launch, if indeed it ever went into research at all, my guess would be they skipped that bit in the business plan.  Apparently the fastest growing demographic group are the 35-44 year olds – I wonder if this was predicted.  And did anyone foresee its application for political candidates to ‘tweet’ tens of thousands of  voters? As I say I have to believe there are some interesting applications but maybe ones we have yet to invent.

I guess it doesn’t need a particularly powerful crystal ball to predict that we will see a degree of convergence and /or consolidation in what are defined as these social networking services.  If I’m regularly going to check Facebook, get off my latest ‘tweet’, log into LinkedIn to see what my professional network are up to, check my office emails, and also those who I prefer to contact via my personal email account it figures that whether in the office or at home the whole process becomes a bit of a chore and doesn’t allow much time for…living!