TECHNOLOGY is always changing but people stay the same.
This was the message local business operators took home from customer service expert Martin Grunstein’s presentation at yesterday’s 2013 Innovating Business Tourism Conference, held in Warrnambool by Shipwreck Coast Marketing.
Mr Grunstein is touted as Australia’s most in-demand speaker on customer service and his humorous approach to marketing not only had audience heads nodding, but may have explained some of Warrnambool’s retail trends.
He told the conference that businesses needed to create memorable and personal experiences with customers to effectively spread positive feedback through the community, rather than focus on marketing gimmicks.
“The real money is to be made in what happens after a customer’s experience,” he said.
“The only difference between recognition and bribery is where it happens in the sales process.
“Why spend all these millions of dollars on marketing when you have all these people coming through as customers and you’re not capitalising on their business by saying ‘would you like an apple pie with that?’.
“People are loyal to people, not to companies or businesses. The reason it’s more important in Warrnambool than Melbourne is the word-of-mouth factor is much stronger in a smaller town, negative or positive.”
Mr Grunstein told The Standard it was poor customer service, not online shopping, that posed a threat to the local retail community.
“The better they understand people and give reasons on a human, emotional level to do business with them, the more loyalty they will get. There are a number of people going to the internet that would not have gone to the internet if they didn’t have a bad experience.
“There will always be a certain number of people shopping online: price shoppers, tech savvy people — at the moment I think it’s six per cent of retail sales.
“All the ideas we talked about today were almost free to implement: communication and recognition of customers.”