Short Attention Span Posting (as I recover from last night´s Rose Bowl) containing one innovative idea, a "do" and a "don´t". For those of you outside the US, the University of Texas outscored the University of Southern California 41-38 in what many consider the best college (American) football game ever. This game made the Texas Longhorn football team the best in the nation, but since there are no other countries playing collegiate football, that makes them the best in the known universe (smile)
From my hometown, a blog called the Austinist mentions that a local music retailer, Waterloo Records, is accepting gift cards from competitors, including the national chains. This is the second year they´ve done this, so they must believe it´s a good idea. The poster doesn´t know how they manage to recoup their loss, but a commenter believes Waterloo may be using some of the many Web sites set up for gift card exchanges. If you think this might be something in which you are interested, contact Waterloo’s management. This is just the kind of “edgy” idea that might help you inch in front of your competition next Christmas. Perhaps a news release touting this could be sent to the business section of your local newspaper resulting in additional publicity. I also think a unique idea like this would garner a lot of word of mouth marketing for you as well.
Still think it’s risky? Imagine a loyal customer of yours who receives a competitor’s gift card from a relative. What if that customer has a better customer service experience when he or she shops at your competitor? The risk is in losing the customer. Of course this would take careful research and I would certainly contact Waterloo to discuss this before proceeding.
Don´t Let This Happen To You!
In his blog, A Shel Of My Former Self, Shel Holtz talks about Microsoft´s PR blunder related to the security flaw in the Windows Meta File. If your company walks into a PR nightmare, I strongly urge you to consider professional help. Consult a public relations firm experienced in crisis management. Just because your press release sounds good when you read it back to yourself doesn´t mean your customers, future customers, and the public will react the same way.
Is The Year Of The Dog Seven Years Long?
Over at Return Customer, Joe Rawlinson has a different take on New Year´s Resolutions. Given the unethical shenanigans we´ve seen from businesses such as Enron, WorldCom, etc. we should all practice what he preaches. A successful customer policy seeking to exceed customer expectations must have a strong ethical foundation.
"Ethics must begin at the top of an organization. It is a leadership issue and the chief executive must set the example."
–Edward Hennessy, quoted on thinkexist.com