Did you hear the one about the retailer who buys the phone numbers of competitors who go out of business?
The punch line is this: When shoppers find the advertisements of former competitors in the phone book and place a call, the retailer who bought the number gets the call.
The idea is one of many from Chris Zane, owner of Zane’s Cycles, Branford, Conn., who spoke at the 2008 Retailing Summit sponsored by the Center for Retailing Studies of the Mays Business School at Texas A&M University.
Other tidbits from Zane, as told in the fall newsletter of the Center for Retailing Studies, are:
- All the services you offer are like quarters in a bowl. When that bowl is held out to a customer, some retailers fear they’ll get ripped off. But, Zane says, no, you’ll be rewarded with customer loyalty.
- Customers shopping for bicycles aren’t buying rubber and spokes. They’re buying a relationship and an emotion.
- Zane’s Cycles provides a fun area for kids, a complementary coffee bar and data tracking to help customers buy the item that specifically meets their needs, based on past purchases.
Offers previously made by Zane include: lifetime free service on bikes purchased in his shop; lifetime warranty on parts and products; protective headwear for kids sold at cost; and flat-tire insurance.
One more customer-friendly offering from Zane is a live Web-cam tech center to help long distance customers assemble their new bikes or view repairs.
That’s what I call 10-speed customer service.