+ About Martin Grunstein
Martin Grunstein studied Psychology and Marketing at University of N.S.W. He spent four years in sales and marketing with Colgate-Palmolive before setting up SUCCESS COMMUNICATIONS in 1985.
Martin’s outstanding results with over 500 companies across over 100 industries have made him Australia’s most in-demand speaker on Outstanding Customer Service.
He has also worked with sportsmen up to international level in Rugby League, Rugby Union and Soccer, taking teams from losing to winning situations by teaching players the mental side of their game.
Martin doesn’t hype people up, he teaches techniques and how to apply them to your business in the areas of professional attitude to business; understanding the ego of your customer; and how to generate the repeat and referral business that keeps your bottom line healthy.
One of Martin’s strengths is his ability to customise his material to the needs and situation of an individual organisation and that is one of the strongest themes in the many corporate testimonials that are evidence of the success of his involvement in a conference or meeting.
Most importantly, Martin believes that entertainment is the best form of education and in his spare time has written comedy professionally.
Martin’s keynote presentations, or workshops for smaller groups, will make you laugh but it’s the results you get from the techniques that will keep you smiling.
Monday, June 25, 2012
Psychologically, the strongest drive we have as human beings is self-preservation. And that is closely followed by revenge!
One application of this is how customers react when they feel they have been treated poorly. Understanding this concept can determine the success or failure of your business.
For more than 25 years I have been running customer service workshops and during those workshops I ask people to relate their poor customer service experiences and I ask them how they react after they have had such an experience.
The result I expected initially was that they won’t do business with that person or retail store or professional again. But what happens in reality is SO much more that that. Customers who have been treated badly will take revenge and some will go to great lengths to do so, often inconveniencing themselves to make a point to punish the business that has treated them badly.
Let me give you a few examples.
One lady in regional Australia said she was humiliated by a car salesman when trying to buy a new car (not an unusual occurrence as my research shows that about 90 per cent of women in Australia have been humiliated while trying to buy a car). She wanted that brand of car but refused to buy it from that dealer so she drove over 100 kilometres to the nearest town that had the same brand of car and bought it there so the original dealer wouldn’t make the sale. And, of course, she told everybody in her hometown of the poor experience she had.
A young man used to buy his lunch from the same place every day. It was close to his place of work and the food was good. One day he was treated rudely by the person serving him and complained to the boss. The boss told him he was “just another customer” and he could like it or lump it. Since then, he has walked close to a kilometre to another sandwich bar every day rather than going back to the first place. And told everybody at his work not to go there.
My personal favourite story was told to me by an Australian who used to live in America. He said one of the value added services of his bank, which was located in a shopping mall was “we validate parking with a transaction” so he cashed a cheque one day while he was in the shopping centre to save him a $25 parking fee. The teller said to him, “I am sorry sir but that is not a transaction so we can’t validate your parking”.
The customer said, “That’s ridiculous. I have stood in the queue for ten minutes and now you tell me you won’t validate my parking. What do you define as a transaction?” The teller said, “You must make a deposit or a withdrawal from one of your accounts”. The customer was furious and this was the “straw that broke the camel’s back”.
At this point I should mention that the customer is a multi-millionaire with several business accounts as well as personal accounts with the bank and he also had a little time on his hands. He said “Good. I want you to close every account I have at this bank and deposit the money in the bank across the road.” It took about half an hour and a few phone calls but the teller did what was asked and closed all accounts.
“Now”, said the customer, “can you validate my parking?” and the teller replied “Certainly, by closing your accounts you qualify for validated parking”. And the customer never did business with that bank again.
The internet has certainly made it easier for customers to take revenge through bad word of mouth on Facebook or negative reviews on tripadvisor.com <http://tripadvisor.com> but let me tell you the most powerful case of commercial revenge instigated by a single customer.
It happened to UNITED AIRLINES.
A rock band was travelling on a U.S. domestic flight and one of the band members saw one of the baggage handlers throwing his guitar case around (the guitar case was distinctively marked and coloured so he knew it was his) and he saw him drop it on the tarmac. When he arrived at his destination, his guitar came out broken (not surprisingly). He complained to UNITED customer service staff and they told him that there was no way it was their fault and virtually called him a liar to his face.
The band member’s response was to make up a song called UNITED BREAKS GUITARS and post it on YouTube. It told of his experience with humour and melody and was effectively a three-minute advertisement to all people to never do business with UNITED based on the way he was treated.
The video went viral!
The band member was invited onto the Jay Leno show and several other talk shows where he told the story again and UNITED’s share price went down on the stock exchange.
Eventually, UNITED admitted liability and compensated the band member.
If you go to youtube.com <http://youtube.com> and search UNITED BREAKS GUITARS you will see that video has had more than 11 million views and every one of them is an advertisement against UNITED.
One complaining customer can take a lot of revenge!
What is the lesson for businesspeople from this?
Obviously, it is to look after your customers and not disappoint them but it is so much more than that. You MUST have the skills to deal with a complaining customer without crushing them in the process. Or they will take revenge.
Here’s how to do it.
People want three things when they complain.
Firstly, they want to whinge. Don’t interrupt them. Let them whinge. Secondly, they want acknowledgement of their inconvenience. When they have been waiting four hours for furniture to be delivered and the truckie hasn’t turned up and they are angry, they want someone at the end of the phone to say “I am sorry for the inconvenience you have been caused and I appreciate your frustration”. But that almost never happens.
What you usually get after waiting on the phone for 45 minutes is someone covering their arse and saying something like “It’s not our fault. We tried to contact the truck driver but his mobile is off for some reason”. The customer doesn’t care who is at fault, they are just angry and want some empathy and a solution. Please be aware. “I’m sorry” is not an admission of legal liability, it is an empathy statement.
Thirdly, they want to know what you can do, not what you can’t do.
I was working with a lighting company in Queensland and they had a policy that if the delivery didn’t arrive on time and the customer complained they would airfreight the lights to the customer straight away.
Not only was this not always what the customer needed, it was incredibly expensive. In most cases the air-freighting costs took away all the profit on the job. I taught the sales and customer service people to let them whinge; acknowledge their inconvenience; and then ask “what can we do to put it right?”
In more than 80 per cent of cases, the company did not have to airfreight the lights. The customers were angry and just wanted to be listened to. When they were listened to and had their inconvenience acknowledged, they didn’t need to have the lights air-freighted the next day (in most cases the deadlines weren’t that tight). A large number of customers, after they were pacified effectively just said “please make sure it doesn’t happen again”. My client asked them “Is it OK if we put it on the next road train rather than air-freighting the lights to you?”
In over 80 per cent of the cases the customer said “That’s fine” and my client saved the profit on the job. One thing my client did though was to have a bottle of wine and a note of apology with the lights that came the next day and in almost all cases, the relationship was enhanced rather than damaged by the incident.
You might think this is common sense but let me tell you from my consumer experience and the workshop participants who have told me poor customer service stories (and good ones too, but the bad outweighs the good about 25:1), this is happening all too rarely in the marketplace – and it is causing customers to take revenge.
A small amount of prevention (giving your staff the skills and empowerment to deal with these situations) is better than a large amount of cure (compensating the customer after they talk about you on a television show).
I hope you have learned lessons from this article and it wasn’t a waste of your time but if you did consider it a waste of your time and you choose to phone or email me to complain, I promise to listen and to treat you with respect. I don’t want to end up on Jay Leno!
Martin Grunstein is contactable on 0414933249 or email@example.com
Friday, June 08, 2012
In a business world where so many drop their price at the drop of a hat and then complain that margins are tight and it’s hard to make a profit, I find it strange that so few businesses give the consumer what they REALLY want when they ask for a price reduction, which is RISK reduction.
The money-back guarantee, which is offered by EVERY business in this country (because if I’m not happy I’ll take you to the Department of Fair Trading and I’ll win because the system is in all favour of the consumer) remains the ‘forgotten value add’, yet one that is remarkably lucrative and at the same time very inexpensive to implement (unless you give terrible service and disappoint your customers on a regular basis).
Why is this so? Simple. Because most businesses look at the downside of the guarantee, not the upside.
The downside of the guarantee is ‘the ratbags are going to get us’ and that is true, a very small number of people are going to exploit your money back guarantee. But guess what? The ratbags get you any way, whether you offer the guarantee or not!
What about the upside of the 99+ per cent of people who are impressed by the money-back guarantee and NEVER TAKE UP THE OFFER? Presumably because the product or service lives up to expectations. Sadly, in this country we market at the people who are out to rip us off instead of the people who are putting money in our pockets and that’s just DUMB!
You want real world examples? I have plenty.
I was working in the nursery industry and one of the franchise owners had the misfortune of a chain store opening up right next door. He couldn’t compete on price (he was 30 per cent more expensive) and he didn’t want to.
So what he did was he put up a big sign as an anti-opening sale that said, “We offer a 12 months unconditional money-back guarantee. If you buy a plant form us and it dies within 12 months, whether you kill it or the plant is faulty, bring it back and we will give you your money back or replace the plant free of charge”.
The franchise owner was really happy with how his sales went during the opening sale of his competitor that at the end of that six-week trial period for the guarantee sign, he decided not to take it down and he left it up forevermore.
Now, here’s the point. After having the sign up for 12 months he analysed his business and he didn’t have to give any more refunds in the course of the year he had the sign up than he did in the course of the previous year when he didn’t have the sign up – yet his business improved significantly.
Why? I’ve always said that business is about understanding human nature not tricky marketing – and human nature says that the value is in the offer, not the delivery.
How many people do you know that are going to turn up seven months later with a dead plant demanding their money back?
Very, very few, if any. That’s how many!
How do they sell puppies to children? You go to the pet shop or markets and your kid falls in love with a little dog. Now, if the pet shop owner has any brains he says, “Your child obviously loves that puppy. Pay for it and take it home and if you’re not happy bring it back on Monday and we’ll refund your money and put it to death in front of your children” (that’s just a joke by the way, I don’t advocate euthanasia as a marketing strategy).
Still, very, very few people bring the puppy back. They just want the reassurance that they can.
But the greatest suckers on earth when it comes to guarantees are golfers (myself included). You don’t believe me that golfers are the greatest suckers on earth, read a golf magazine. There are ads in golf magazines that say “If you don’t get a birdie on the first hole with this magic new golf club, we will refund your money” and these ridiculous ads work on us idiot golfers.
Why? Because the golf equipment companies know they are not selling golf equipment. They are selling HOPE TO THE INEPT! And people will pay a lot more for hope than they will for a golf club.
Let me share a personally humiliating true story that reinforces this point.
Many years ago my golf pro had a $500 driver in the window (that used to be a lot of money to pay for a driver). I was hitting the ball pretty badly but I said to the pro “I’m not paying $500 for a driver”. He replied that he had a trial club that I could have a hit with for 18 holes and if I didn’t like it I could return it and give someone else a go.
As luck would have it I hit it really well and at the halfway break in my round I went into the pro shop and said “I’ll buy it”.
The pro was walking out the back and I said “where are you going?” The pro said “I’m getting you a brand new one” I said “I don’t want a new one. This one works” (any golfer will tell you that’s normal behaviour). In fact, I’m not suggesting I am paranoid but I left the words TRIAL CLUB on it for two and a half years because while the thing thinks it’s a trial club, it knows as soon as it stops working it’s going back into the pro shop!
Now, the point I’m making is that the pro could have taken 20 per cent off the price and I wouldn’t have bought the club but by giving me a free trial or unconditional money back guarantee I am very happy to pay full price once the product has demonstrated value.
Surely, this can apply to your business.
Martin Grunstein’s work with over 500 Australian companies across over 100 industries have made him this country’s most in-demand speaker on outstanding customer service. He is contactable by phone on (02) 96623322 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting (02) 96623322 end_of_the_skype_highlighting or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org
Friday, January 20, 2012
Does the following sound familiar?
You spend 10 minutes on hold waiting to speak to someone who can’t help you because the system doesn’t allow him to deviate from standard procedure even though you are a ‘gold’ customer of that business. You tell him the issue is an urgent one and that if you can’t be helped, you will take your business elsewhere. He promises to get his boss to call you and you receive no phone call. So, in a fit of anger you take your business to the competitor – WHO IS JUST AS BAD, IF NOT WORSE!
It’s enough to make you tear your hair out.
When I run an interactive workshop on customer service, I get people to tell stories of poor customer service they have experienced as consumers to show them that once your ego is crushed, price doesn’t matter anymore, the motivation becomes revenge.
This helps people to understand two things that are fundamental to running a profitable business in this country – firstly, that price is not as crucial in the buying decision as most businesses think and secondly, in most industries you don’t have to be brilliant to be better than your competition, and hence, turning up is often a marketing advantage.
Let me share with you a few of the funnier/sadder/more outrageous examples of poor customer service my clients have contributed.
A Brisbane man had just purchased pay TV from Foxtel and was experiencing poor TV reception after installation. He rang Foxtel to get someone to fix it up and was told that although it was a simple problem that would take only a minute or two to fix, they could not specify an exact time for a technician to arrive, only a four-hour period (ie. morning or afternoon) and they couldn’t even ring him on the day when the technician knew his schedule to allow him to come home from work and let the technician in.
He got so frustrated at the fact that he would have to take four to six hours off from work that he decided to cancel his purchase of pay TV and they could come round and remove the box and cables. The Foxtel person replied, “OK sir, we can have the technician there at exactly 10.30am tomorrow to remove everything if that’s convenient for you”. My client laughed out loud but the Foxtel representative still didn’t see the funny side, or should I say the stupidity, of the situation. They are totally flexible when it comes to removing the cables but totally INflexible when it comes to keeping a customer happy.
I was speaking at an Apple conference once and they were outlining the marketing and promotional schedule for the launch of their new computer – the iMac. There was visual advertising scheduled on television, newspapers, outdoor advertising and a number of magazines, both computer and general interest. One of the salespeople asked, “Why is it that we are only advertising the iMac in women’s general magazines and not men’s magazines? Is it a marketing strategy to attract female buyers?”
The reply was staggering. “No. It’s much simpler than that. We rang four men’s magazines and told them we wanted to place advertising in their September issues but none of them returned our phone calls”.
WHAT! Nobody returned a phone call from Apple Australia to say, “We’d love to take your money”. Not even one out of the four.
A hairdresser advertised for a junior to join the salon and have a career opportunity. Pay was award wages but with unemployment high, the hairdresser was not surprised to receive 15 replies and arranged interviews for all of them. The girl who got the job asked her new boss why she was the successful candidate. “Simple,” replied the hairdresser, “you were the only one to turn up on time for the interview. Three were late and the other eleven didn’t even show up.”
And my personal favourite told to me by a client who lived in the US for a number of years.
My client’s bank had a sign in the window saying “With a bank transaction, we validate parking”. So, to save himself $15 one day, he cashed a cheque and asked for his parking ticket to be validated. “I’m sorry,” said the teller, “we can’t do that. You haven’t conducted a bank transaction.” “Yes I did,” said my client (who incidentally had an account worth more than $1 million dollars in this bank). “I just cashed a cheque,” my client replied. “I’m sorry,” the bank teller said again, “cashing a cheque is not a transaction.” “What’s a transaction?” asked my client who was getting a little frustrated by this stage. “To qualify for validation of your parking,” the teller said trying to be helpful, “you have to either make a deposit or a withdrawal from one of your accounts”.
My client had a brainstorm.
He asked the teller “Are you able to transfer money from your bank into the bank across the road?” “Certainly,” replied the teller. “I can do that with one phone call.” “Good,” said my client. “Then, withdraw all the money I have in this bank and place it an account with your competitor across the road – and please validate my parking.” “No problem,” said the teller.
Is there a deep philosophical point to this article? Not really.
I just thought you might like to be entertained a little, and every once in a while, if you’re feeling a little down you can reread this and remember that people like these are your competition.
As trivial as it seems, unreturned phone calls are the number one reason for existing customers taking their business elsewhere and right behind that is having systems that are so inflexible they defeat the customer.
Some companies are so involved in creating vision statements and implementing state-of-the-art technology that they forget to return phone calls and they fail to have empathy with what it’s like to be the customer themselves.
Monday, June 25, 2012
Friday, June 08, 2012
Friday, January 20, 2012
Friday, October 28, 2011
Friday, October 21, 2011
Friday, October 14, 2011
Friday, September 23, 2011
Friday, June 24, 2011
Friday, May 20, 2011
Wednesday, April 20, 2011
Wednesday, March 09, 2011
Wednesday, January 12, 2011
Monday, December 13, 2010
Monday, December 06, 2010
Monday, November 22, 2010
Wednesday, November 17, 2010