What I Learned about Marketing and Customer Service after Spending 17 Straight Days on the Road

I don’t know how it happened.  But it did.

Have you figured out why
your center may be under performing

Between my assistant and me, we put together a schedule that had me flying all over the country to visit clients, attend BPA’s Bowl Summit and visit my wife’s cousins. 

But here is what I learned:
Airlines just don’t care. They simply don’t. In fact I am sure in their job searches they advertise, “If you really dislike people and are totally incompetent and can’t make logical decisions, then we have a career move for you.”  Since when does a “we apologize for the inconvenience announcement rate a gold star in customer service?
They cancelled my flight twice, because the deicers were frozen. Really? The DEICERS were frozen?  The DEICERS???

C’mon Man!!

I got stuck in a middle seat between two hip hop artists who though that the volume on their headsets should exceed the noise level of an Air Bus 320. In fact on this fabulous cross country red eye flight, I was treated to several diet cokes and my choice of salt or fat loaded high carbohydrate snacks at outrageous prices. 
The gate to my plane closed as I was running up to it screaming from about 50 feet away, “Please hold the door” as it was shut in my face and guess what I got. That’s right, “Sorry for the inconvenience.” 
Flight delays due to weather I understand, but after being delayed two hours and finally landing at an airport to be told, there is no gate, so we’ll sit here for 45 minutes. Time passes and then when we get up to leave, we find that the jet bridge is stuck.  I hope you don’t run your bowling center like the airlines.
Car rentals and hotel rooms were not much better. Since when is a mid size sedan a Chevy Spark?  Ina ddition to me, my rollerboard, briefcase and my nose barely fit in there; (I do, however; kind of undersatnd about the nose. 🙂

And why does my gold status in your hotel rate a handicap room next to the elevator? And oh yes, why does your FULL service restaurant close at 9pm with the nearest eating establishment being a McDonald one half mile away that also closes at 930pm?
More importantly when I visit bowling centers and a few FEC’s why are you all complaining that the programs didn’t get done because your “help couldn’t get to it.  Didn’t you write it down? Didn’t you check off the “to do list” and timeline I sent you? Didn’t you hold meetings to see what the progress was on these important projects? 
You mean you really couldn’t get together an MLK lockin program when I gave you the letter, telephone script, flier and press release as well as all the contacts to all the kid’s organizations, schools and clubs in your town last month?
And you didn’t get the email campaign content and Facebook campaign copy we did and just follow the schedule?  Copy, paste, click.
Fortunately, this was only a few instances, but still…why not?
Perhaps, it is just easier to count money, do the receipts, go to the bank and fill vending machines, (the easy tasks that don’t challenge you, but it sure takes up time), rather than do the hard work of bringing in new customers and retaining others. That’s your choice. But its not a very good one and I say that kindly of course.

It’s four basic steps. Plan. Delegate. Monitor. Modify. Repeat.  

Look at the debacle in Atlanta, caused by two inches of snow, if you really want to see what happens when you don’t plan, delegate, monitor and modify?  You get a “Holy S^*T.”

Some centers claim they don’t have a marketing person on staff, but then again when that person comes on board, she is, all of a sudden a pizza maker, hamburger flipper and desk person more than a marketing person.


So here’s what I am suggesting:

1.     Find someone you respect in your town who can hold you accountable for hitting deadlines, doing the tasks you agreed to and measuring the results. I’ll do it, but I won’t be gentle about it because I care, passionately, about your business and don’t want to see you fail. Ever!
2.     Train your employees better than you trained your new puppy. In many instances, I’ll bet your dog is better trained and listens to your commands better than your employees.  Do your employees really know how to approach a customer? To do lane to lane solicitation? To implement a “90 second sign up” process. To collect data on a busy Saturday night without begging or pleading?  To instantly identify a prospect’s demographic profile and match the prospect to the program. That’s how they were designed, right?
3.     Are you constantly providing your employees with feedback and coaching tips to get them to be better at their jobs.  Professional and collegiate football teams practice, practice and practice again.  After you hire someone, do you retrain, reinvigorate and re-energize him every few weeks?  Do you formally review that person’s performance after three months, six months?  See, if you don’t care, why should they?  And do they know how to deliver great customer service?
4.     And finally, is marketing and selling the number one priority for everyone inside your building. Have you established a culture of “business growth” or just mere survival?
5.     Promise me you’ll put this sign up over the time clock in your office and wherever else your employees congregate:
“I Will Do Today What Other Cannot Do So Tomorrow I Can Do What Others Can’t”

And that’s my rant for the month.  
Call me if you need me to fire you up. No fees. No bills. Just because I care…alot
About Fred Kaplowitz
Marketing is in my DNA. I love to solve problems and meet challenges head on and I have successfully produced results for hundreds of clients. I love what I do and love helping to make my clients more successful and happier. I am a husband and father, consultant, a coach, a teacher, a motivator, a copy- writer, and a speaker. I look forward to working with anyone searching for a proven methodology out of mediocrity. May I assist you in taking your business to the next level. Please call me now @ 516 359 4874 to review your business goals and strategies.

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