Thursday, May 1, 2008

Create and Keep Customers

What an awesome holiday. I’m actually still home until next week and I’ve already been home for about three weeks. Over the holidays I had two completely separate but yet both inspiring meetings.

The first was an all day seminar with the Spheric management team. It’s a great honor to be placed back into that group and have my opinions count. We had Gair Maxwell from the Fundy Group speak to us. I meet him two years back and felt a connection then. He completed a Profile on me and ever since then it was like he saw something in me he liked and there was something in him I wanted to learn. So having the all day with him as the speaker was just an awesome experience. Plus, I found another die hard Van Halen fan.

The next day I had another all day meeting for the Belts. I spent the entire day with my business partner at Joe Moka Cafe lattes (one of the best vanilla lattes I’ve ever had) and using free wi-fi all day. I was able to carry a lot of the teachings from the day before over. The biggest one was the purpose of a business, “Create & Keep a Customer”. I didn’t see how it applied to us as a kiosk setup but it made sense. I came up with some of the following ideas:

- Customer appreciation cards to capture their info

- As a card holder you get 10% off

- Buy 4 get the 5th free

- Newsletter with updated on product line, exclusive sales, etc.

- A free gift with every purchase

As I read “The Starbucks Experience” and having Gair talk endless about WestJet it was clear to me that:

1) Our employees need to feel ownership and

2) I need to make my employees feel apart of something special.

These are all things Dan has burned into Spheric from day one and it makes perfect sense. So why can’t I do the same with my kiosks? I can and I well. The ideas I had are simple and a start

- A book club for the employees

- Employee of the month program

- Over lapping employee shifts to let them know their co-workers

- Monthly staff meetings

- Internet at the kiosks to let them interact with other kiosks while working

- Profit sharing

- RRSP contribution program (how many part time jobs have that)

- Career path program

Obviously there are more but this is a sample of where my mind is going right now. Spheric has about ten employees, four are creators and two more have been here since almost day one, and even at lower numbers it’s an extremely hard task to put everybody on the same page at all times. At the belts I have about thirty employees with an average of three leaving each month and three new ones coming in. About 20% are computer illiterate and 60% don’t own one, and 100% have never used one for work purposes. And my employees are located all the way from Nova Scotia to Victoria, BC. (I only know what 6 of them look like in person)

I need my employees to be on board and buy into the company.

As far apart as Belts and Spheric are in regards to industry and cliental they are both businesses. Anything that applies to one business can always be applied to another.

Create & Keep a Customer” – it’s that simple and that universal.

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