RAB Research Archive

Advertising Can't Make a Bad Business Better



Several years ago, while handling the account of a national restaurant chain, the account manager asked me if I would be willing to secret shop at a couple of their locations in my area. The process was simple. They sent me an evaluation form, and I went to eat at the restaurants and reported back. Tough work, huh? Doing this was a great way to be a source of information and business advantage for this client, so I gladly accepted.

Customer service and experience, or UX (user experience), has never been more critical than it is today. R.L. Adams, writing in Entrepreneur Magazine, gives 10 reasons why he believes customer service is your MOST IMPORTANT metric:

Customer retention is far less expensive than customer acquisition.

Existing customers are more likely to buy for you than new customers.

Great customer service results in a reduction of overall problems.

Excellent customer service improves public persona and strengthens your brand.

You're more likely to retain your customers for longer.

Word-of-mouth advertising is the best kind of advertising that money can't buy.

It improves employee turnover in your business.

Great customer service opens doors for new partnerships and other opportunities.

It conveys strong moral values and beliefs in the company's mission.

It elongates the life of any business.

You've no doubt experienced both good and bad customer service, and you know how it impacts your perception of the store, brand or service. It's critical to ensure we are providing the best possible service and experience for our advertisers. One of the ways you could do that is to offer to secret shop their business. If they are a regular and consistent client, it may be difficult for you to be anonymous or secret when you walk in the door. You might consider partnering with another seller on your team. You secret shop their clients; they secret shop yours.

Managers, this experience can also lead to a series of great sales meetings about how businesses are succeeding or not in the area of user experience. The findings can become more great resources to share with your clients.

In our work with and for advertisers, they need to know that advertising can’t make a bad business better. We've referred to it as the springboard to bankruptcy. A bad business that advertises to bring lots of people in will usually fail faster because of the exposure.

Inspired by Chuck Mefford and BrandsFormation, we've developed a tool called the BrandIgnition Touchpoint Analysis form. This simple form can help you whether you decide to secret shop, or just help your clients look at all aspects of their business with an eye on improvement. If you'd like the tool, just email me at Jeff.Schmidt@rab.com.

Using this tool can help set you apart from all the other sellers calling on your clients and solidify your position as a valuable and trusted resource. Happy Friday!

Jeff Schmidt is the SVP of Professional Development. You can reach him at Jeff.Schmidt@RAB.com. You can also connect with him on Twitter and LinkedIn.

Source: Jeff Schmidt, RAB





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