Connect with us

Business Marketing

Customer service: businesses have taken their eye off the ball

As the economy suffers, so does retail, but could retailers be cutting off their nose to spite their face by implementing new policies that are anti-consumer?

Published

on

store closing, retail in trouble

store closing, retail in trouble

A narrow bottom line for the narrow minded

The fact that I own and operate and major business publication with a few million readers doesn’t cause me to be more aloof when it comes to being a consumer. The bottom line is very important, but your bottom line will grow narrower with a narrow minded sense of consumer experience – a novel fact that has withstood the test of time, just ask any boyfriend or girlfriend that’s ever dumped you for your poor consumer experience! AHA! Bingo, you get it.

Making idiotic business decisions to save money over consumer experience can be as small as no longer refunding cash to cash paying customers, rather insisting they wait for a check like Z Gallerie (humiliating the patron for having the audacity to return an item in the first place) to Best Buy’s decision to limit returns to 30 days from 90 days. These small shifts in the paradigm of the retail experience seem tiny when taken on a case by case basis, but retailers nationally are doing all sorts of irrational things in a down economy to keep more money in the bank and from consumers, even if common sense tells them they shouldn’t mess with consumer experience unless improving it, and no, don’t hand me a gift card, Apple.

Walk into any Banana Republic store and you’re bound to find the sale racks where last week I inadvertently picked up a pair of slacks, only to realize when I got back home that I’d already purchased the same trousers a few weeks back. What’s interesting is that I paid $15 more for the exact pair of trousers in the same store. I get it, the sale must have been different that week, 30% to 40% off depending on the mood of Banana Republic. The problem here isn’t the depth of the discount, it’s the consistency of the the experience. Which should I return? The more expensive ones, or the less expensive ones? Hmm, that decision won’t be difficult. But you get the point.

Maybe it’s not the economy, stupid

Retail is suffering right now, you see it from store to store, and in some cases you simply don’t see the store anymore, I get that, but maybe, just maybe, it’s not the economy, maybe it’s how retailers behave in a gloomy economy (where consumer sentiment is at an all time low) – a quick buck at the expense of consumer loyalty?

I’m not saying Best Buy is going to go out of business for burning consumers on the legnth of time for returns, but I am saying that I’ll be a little less sad about it if/when they do succumb to the economy, and I’ll support them a little less in the meantime, as I hit up other electronic chains that understand that the consumer really does come first, and in 99.9% of cases, the consumer is right whether retailers like it or not. For example, if your staff was foolish enough to leave a sale tag up on merchandise, do you honor the price? Not at Forever 21, or American Eagle – these two retailers are two of the worst offenders when it comes to sales confusion in their stores.

Food for thought, retailers.

Benn Rosales is the Founder and CEO of The American Genius (AG), national news network for tech and entrepreneurs, proudly celebrating 10 years in publishing, recently ranked as the #5 startup in Austin. Before founding AG, he founded one of the first digital media strategy firms in the nation and also acquired several other firms. His resume prior includes roles at Apple and Kroger Foods, specializing in marketing, communications, and technology integration. He is a recipient of the Statesman Texas Social Media Award and is an Inman Innovator Award winner. He has consulted for numerous startups (both early- and late-stage), has built partnerships and bridges between tech recruiters and the best tech talent in the industry, and is well known for organizing the digital community through popular monthly networking events. Benn does not venture into the spotlight often, rather believes his biggest accomplishments are the talent he recruits, develops, and gives all credit to those he's empowered.

Continue Reading
Advertisement
3 Comments

3 Comments

  1. kenbrand

    September 17, 2012 at 5:22 pm

    I’m with you brother.  A cool logo, if delivered would be, “We really do give a shit.”  Treat people like friends instead of products.  Of course it’s smart to think of consumers in terms of share of wallet, but only if you freaking earn it.  No tricks or inconsiderate fine-print surprises please.  
     
    I will say one great response to the recession was the number of happy hour style meals at some pretty cool restaraunts around town (Flemings Steakhouse for example).  The smart ones will keep us coming back the pretenders will roll back generosity and Indian Give.  I wish you had time to write more Benn.  

  2. kenbrand

    September 17, 2012 at 5:22 pm

    I’m with you brother.  A cool logo, if delivered would be, “We really do give a shit.”  Treat people like friends instead of products.  Of course it’s smart to think of consumers in terms of share of wallet, but only if you freaking earn it.  No tricks or inconsiderate fine-print surprises please.  
     
    I will say one great response to the recession was the number of happy hour style meals at some pretty cool restaraunts around town (Flemings Steakhouse for example).  The smart ones will keep us coming back the pretenders will roll back generosity and Indian Give.  I wish you had time to write more Benn.  

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Business Marketing

Pay employees for their time, not only their work

(MARKETING) Yes, you still must pay employees for their time even if they aren’t able to complete their work due to restrictions. Time = Money.

Published

on

pay employees for their time

The COVID-19 pandemic has inspired a lot of insightful questions about things like our healthcare system, worldwide containment procedures, and about a billion other things that all deserve well-thought answers.

Unfortunately, it has also led to some of the dumbest questions of all time.

One such question comes courtesy of Comstock Mag, with the inquiry asking whether or not employees who show up on time can be deducted an hour’s pay if the manager shows up an hour later.

From a legal standpoint, Comstock Mag points out that employees participating in such activities are “engaged to wait”, meaning that – while they aren’t necessarily “working” – they are still on the clock and waiting for work to appear; in this case, the aforementioned “work” comes in the form of the manager or supervisor showing up.

In short: if the reason your employees aren’t working is that the precursor to completing the work for which you pay them is inaccessible, you still have to pay them for their time.

Morally, of course, the answer is much simpler: pay your employees for their time, especially if the reason they are unable to complete work is because you (or a subordinate) didn’t make it to work at the right time.

Certainly, you might be able to justify sending all of your employees home early if you run into something like a technology snag or a hiccup in the processes which make it possible for them to do their jobs – that would mean your employees were no longer engaged to wait, thus removing your legal obligation to continue paying them.

Then again, the moral question of whether or not cutting your employees’ hours comes into play here. It’s understandable that funds would be tight for the time being, but docking employees an hour of their work here or there due to problems that no one can control may cause them to resent you down the line when you need their support in return.

The real problem with this question is that, despite most people knowing that the answer should always be “pay them”, the sheer number of people working from home in the wake of worldwide closures and social distancing could muddy the water in terms of what constitutes the difference between being engaged to wait and simply burning time.

For example, an employee who is waiting for a meeting to start still fits the bill of “engaged to wait” even if the meeting software takes an extra half hour to kick in (or, worse yet, the meeting never happens), and docking them pay for timecard issues or other extenuating factors that keep them from their work is similarly disingenuous – and illegal.

There are a lot of unknowns these days, but basic human decency should never be up for debate – especially now.

Continue Reading

Business Marketing

Cooler temps mean restaurants have to get creative to survive

(MARKETING) With winter approaching, restaurants are starting to find creative and sustainable ways to keep customers coming in… and warm.

Published

on

Outdoor eating at restaurants grows in popularity.

Over the last decade we have seen a change in the approach to clientele experiences in the restaurant business. It’s no longer just about how good your food is, although that is still key. Now you have to give your customers an experience to remember. There are now restaurants that feed you in the dark, and others who require you to check all your clothes at the door. Each of these provides an experience to remember alongside food that ranges from good to exquisite, depending on your taste.

Now, however, the global pandemic has rearranged how we think about dining. We can no longer just shove people into a building and create a delectable meal. If you’ve relied mostly on people coming into your restaurant, you may struggle to survive now.

The new rules of keeping clients safe means setting things up outside is the easiest means of keeping large numbers of them from crowding inside. Because of this, weather has become a key influence in a company’s daily income. Tents that were a gimmick before, only needed by presumptuous millennials, are now a requirement to keep afloat. People are rushing to make their yards into lawns that bring some in some fancy feeling.

The ties to the sun in some areas are so strong that cloudy days have been shown to drop attendance as much as 14% for the day. This will become the more apparent the colder it gets. For me, I always mention hibernation weight in the winter, when all I want to do is curl up and eat at home. Down here in Texas we are already finding cooler weather, drops into the 70s even in August and September. We are all assuming a cold winter ahead. So, a bit of foresight is finding a means of keeping your guests warm for the winter ahead.

San Francisco restaurants have started with heat lamps during their cooler evenings. Fiberglass igloos have also been added to outdoor seating as a means of temperature control. A few places down in the Lonestar state keep roaring fires going for their outdoor activities. While others actually keep you running in between beverages by encouraging volleyball matches. This is the new future ahead of us, and being memorable is the way to go.

Continue Reading

Business Marketing

Canva is catching on to content trends, launches in-app video editor

(MARKETING) Canva launches an in-platform video editor, allowing access to their extensive library of assets and animations to create high-quality videos

Published

on

African American woman working on Canva Video Editor Desktop in office setting.

Video content consumption is on the rise, and the graphic design platform, Canva, took note of it. The $40 billion Australian startup has entered the video business and announced the launch of its video editor, Canva Video Suite.

The end-to-end video editor is an easy-to-use platform that anyone, no matter the skill level, can create, edit, and record high-quality videos. Best of all, it’s free, and it’s available on both desktop and mobile platforms.

The tool has hundreds of editable templates that you can use to create videos for several online platforms like TikTok, YouTube, Instagram, and Facebook. Some templates can be used to create workplace and business videos, while other templates are perfect for personal videos. There are playful themes you can use to create that spooky video just in time for Halloween or make a laugh-out-loud video to send to your best friend! With a wide range of selections, in no time you’ll start creating your very own video masterpiece with Canva.

Caucasian man holding iPhone showing Canva video editor on mobile.

What else does the video software offer and what can you do with it? Well, let me tell you:

Collaborate in real-time

Having everyone on the same page is important and Canva’s video suite takes that into account. To collaborate with others, you simply send them an invite, and together you can edit videos, manage assets, and leave comments to give your input.

Video timeline editing and in-app recording

Similar to building presentation slides, Canva’s scene-based editor simplifies video editing by using a timeline approach. With it, you can quickly reorder, crop, trim, and splice your videos. Also, users don’t need to leave the platform to record that last-minute shot; within the app, you can shoot and record yourself from a camera or a screen.

Library of assets

The video editor is filled with an array of watermark-free stock footage, icons, images, illustrations, and even audio tracks that you can choose from – but if you really need something that is not on their platform – you can upload your own image, video, or audio track.

Animate with ease

Although still in the process of being released, soon you will be able to add animations of both text and visual elements in just a few simple clicks. Among others, animation presets that fade, pan, and tumble will help you transform your video and take it to a whole other level.

Overall, Canva Video Suite is very intuitive and has all the essential things you need to create a video. And by streamlining the video creation process, Canva is ensuring it enters the video marketplace with a bang.

“One of Canva’s guiding principles is to make complex things simple, and our new Video Suite will allow everyone to unlock the power of video, whether that’s to market their business, make engaging social posts, or express their creativity,” said Rob Kawalsky, Head of Product at Canva.

Continue Reading
Advertisement

Our Great Partners

The
American Genius
news neatly in your inbox

Subscribe to our mailing list for news sent straight to your email inbox.

Emerging Stories

Get The American Genius
neatly in your inbox

Subscribe to get business and tech updates, breaking stories, and more!