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Betsy Gustafson
Positioning and Efficiency Enhancement for Small Business
Positioning and Efficiency Enhancement for Small Business

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Seeing the Possibilities (is What it's All About)

I found this video thanks to +Nancy Duarte 's excellent book about presentations, Resonate. Benjamin Zander, conductor of the Boston Philharmonic Orchestra for the last 20 years and a motivational speaker, talks about 3 important things to be mindful of: 

- we invent our experience
- we stand in possibility
- we should not take ourselves too seriously

Such good stuff.

Am grateful for the book and video which both helped shape a presentation I recently gave that had the word "possibility" in the title and throughout. 
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Claire, Tom and I went to downtown Cleveland on Friday to celebrate the lighting of the new chandelier in the theater district, the second largest in the country (behind NYC). Go Cleveland!

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Yelp Reviews: Are Consumers Wise to Yelp's Practices?

There's a lot of anti-Yelp sentiment on the interwebs, from businesses who feel Yelp's practices are practically "extortion". If one doesn't subscribe to Yelp, they say, one won't have the ability to speak to a negative review and Yelp's algorithm may just display more negative reviews than if one were a subscriber.

+Kathi Kruse  makes a good case for the need for businesses to be proactive and ask their customers for reviews, thereby making sure positive reviews outnumber any negative ones.

Kruse stops short of recommending that small businesses subscribe to Yelp. What they need to do: know how the game is played.

I believe the consumer is becoming more wise to how review sites work and will one day discount reviews from the Yelp platform and find others - like Google reviews - to be more objective.

Do you think consumers are wise to Yelp's ways? Leave your thoughts in a comment! 

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How an Auto Body Shop Puts their Customers First and Brightens Their Days – Part  2 of 2

I had an exceptional customer service experience recently at Mayfield Collision Centers, an auto body shop, and called the business office to learn more about their model for interfacing with their customers. Cheryl Senko, the marketing manager, spent a few minutes with me on the phone.

I remarked on the framed customer service quote in the waiting area of the shop, “People don't care how much we know until they know how much we care.” Cheryl told me it’s a Teddy Roosevelt quote and yes, owner Tom Griffin definitely has a customer-centric mindset that permeates company-wide. Inspirational quotes on posters and mousepads can be found throughout the offices/garages. Employees are entrusted to take care of their customers’ 2nd largest investment, their car, and they take this very seriously.

Cheryl shared that in January 2014 Mayfield Collisions Centers was named one of the Top 10 Body Shops in the country for 2013 by Auto Body Repair Network Magazine’s annual “Top Shop” Competition. The employees were ecstatic the day they found out and spilled outside for a photo shoot (see photo).

Who are your customers? They can be regular drivers, dealerships, insurance companies or other third parties, Cheryl said.

How do you know their wants and needs? The employees talk to the customers and try to find out what's important to them. Maybe a cup of coffee spilled on their nice carpeting at the time of the accident and it would mean a lot if the spill were shampooed out of the carpet.

Do you do anything special to surprise and delight your customers? They like to make the cars "like new" again and return the car clean to the customer and get a "WOW"! 

Owner Tom Griffin has trained the customer service team to ask targeted questions designed to identify little “delighters” - like the front fender clip replacement they did for me - that don’t cost them much of anything to repair but help add to that WOW moment when the customer picks up their car.

They invited a rental car agency into the same building and provide the service of scheduling rental cars for customers, gratis, she said. 

I gleaned from this that they share the insurer’s payment information for your case so you don’t have to! They consider what it takes to make the body shop repair process as painless as possible.

How do you use other media in your marketing? They have a healthy Facebook following and use Facebook to mainly talk about and celebrate their employees and their families. It's hard to recruit in their industry, Cheryl said, but their shop is a great place to work and they try to retain their employees. 

They use a tool to funnel reviews from around the web - yellow pages, Angie's List, Google, Yelp, etc - to both their website and to a tab on their Facebook page. There are currently 53 reviews featured (Note from author: They use Bazaarify, an online reputation management tool that can be configured to filter out negative reviews).

Do you maintain an email list and use email in your marketing? No, Cheryl replied, “the customers don't want to hear from us until they experience a problem and call us. They wouldn’t want us to sell to them and we don't want to bother them.” 

It’s clear to me (and no doubt to other customers) that at this business the employees work hard to deliver their services in the context of considering what’s best for the customer. It’s a simple and admirable business model.

Part 2 of 2

#custserv #custexp #getssmm
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How an Auto Body Shop Puts their Customers First and Brightens Their Days – Part 1 of 2

The rear bumper of my car was crunched this winter in a minor accident. Getting it fixed turned into a very positive customer service experience that I wasn’t expecting, and I came away thinking - of the body shop - these people really get it.

Mayfield Collision Centers is a preferred body shop of the other driver’s insurance company, plus I have a friend who swears by the place, so I took my car there for an estimate.

A marketer with a customer service background, I was taken right away with the poster in the waiting area that displayed the quote, “People don't care how much we know until they know how much we care.” Later I learned this is a Theodore Roosevelt quote.

This business makes it a priority to be attentive to the customer’s needs, I thought to myself.

At estimate time I asked Mike for an additional estimate for a non-accident-related imperfection in the front of the car. The corner of the front fender was pulled out from the bumper. Mike said it looked like a clip had broken and thought they could push the protruding piece back in, no problem.

We scheduled an appointment 2 weeks out. The body shop said they'd arrange for a rental car to be ready on the morning the repairs would be starting. All was arranged. 

The day arrived. I walked across the hall to Enterprise Rent-a-car to pick up my rental car. Yes they had a reservation for me, and a car waiting. This was pretty easy so far. 

I could check on my car remotely, any time I wanted, by logging in to the shop's website to view my car's progress.

Two days later I returned to pick up the car. An employee at the front of the shop took me to the garage to proudly show me my freshly washed car. The new rear bumper, painted to match, looked great. The protruding corner of the front fender had been reattached to the bumper. I didn’t owe anything for the accident repair or rental car and there was no charge for the front fender fix.

A few days later I received a thank you card in the mail from the body shop, with a customer satisfaction survey postcard. This place really cares about their customers and want to make them feel good.

In fact I felt as though I'd been taken by the hand and led through a painless process. It was so unexpected I would find recovering from a car accident to be a pleasant experience!

Part 1 of 2 

Mayfield Collision Centers:
View a car being repaired in real time:
#custserv #custexp #getssmm
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A Podcast Dug Up an Old Story about a Favorite Jingle and Revealed  a "Shocking Truth"

A recent This American Life podcast, No Place Like Home, tells a decades-old story and exposes a "shocking truth" that wasn’t known until now.

The story is about the insanely catchy and popular "Hello Calgary" jingle from the ‘80s written to promote Calgary, Alberta, Canada.

The jingle was reportedly well loved by Calgarians and they knew every word.

The Calgary Herald reported on the podcast in a piece titled Shocking Truth Behind the “Hello Calgary” Jingle — as Only American Public Radio Could Tell Us. (!)


Have a listen and read the short article for a treat. The full podcast link is also included.

Listening to it, I'm reminded of the Mary Tyler Moore show jingle that was also well known and loved (MTM show was an American tv show in the 70s).

The "shocking truth" that was revealed brings to mind that in business sometimes it makes sense to take a successful idea and replicate it over and over in other markets.

What else can be gleaned from this? :) Mention in the comments below!

This American Life podcast #520 No Place Like Home:

Calgary Herald article Shocking Truth Behind the *“Hello Calgary”** Jingle — as Only American Public Radio Could Tell Us*:

<SPOILER: The songwriter wrote and produced different versions of the song for 100 other cities far and wide. He visited the cities and personalized each jingle. Calgarians didn't know this and thought it was their song!>

#surprise #SurpriseEnding #replicate #Calgary
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2nd test Friends+Me (post to both Google+ and FB) #nq
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