Your Employees’ Lack of Manners is Costing You Money

Customer service is not just about how you “appear” on line.  Good customer service is not just talked about.  It is lived.  It is how your employees represent your brand day-in,  day-out, online and in person.  Can you say confidently that your employees understand that having good manners directly impacts customer service?  What is the cost of poor manners in today’s retail environment?  Let’s take a look!

Wicker Emporium, an example of GREAT customer service!

Wicker Emporium, an example of GREAT customer service!

Think about the last couple of times you entered a retail environment.  Think about how you were greeted, or not.  Think about whether or not the staff made eye contact, or not.  Did they say hello, excuse me, or even continue talking amongst themselves, ignoring you.  How did you feel?  Better yet, how likely are you to return to such an environment.  The answer to the last question depends on how you answered the previous ones.  Well, everyday your customers are asking the same thing about your establishment and depending on the answer, your staff’s lack of manners could be costing you money.

I don’t like rudeness.  Never have.  To me rudeness is an excellent indicator of the type work one can expect from such a person.  If someone is that self-absorbed to not think about others, it is a bad sign.  Some may argue this, but it is how I feel.  Regardless research shows that rude employees are costing your company money.   Customers leave companies where rude behaviour is the norm.  Don’t believe me?  Check out the HBR blog post:  The High Cost of Rudeness at Work.

To make my point, let’s look at two very recent experiences that I had at local stores.

Winners also known as @Winners online:

Winners has been a place that I love to browse.  I confess that I go there at least once a week.  And, many times I don’t leave empty handed.

I was not however, particularly impressed with my visit Friday of last week.  I can get past the fact that not one employee made eye contact with me while I was shopping. No big deal.

What I find unacceptable is really bad manners.  I was standing in an aisle looking at some items on a shelf.  I was about 2 feet away from the shelf.  There was ample space behind me.  I was just about to pick up an item to look at it further when a staff member walked down the aisle toward me.  The polite thing to do would have been to walk behind me.  Or, at the very least, if there was not enough room, walk in front of me by first saying two simple words.  Those words:  “excuse me.”  This did not happen.  She did not walk behind me.  She walked right in front of me and did not even make a sound.  I had to move backwards to avoid being bumped by the store clerk.  Yes, had I not moved she would have ploughed right through me.  This annoyed and angered me.  I couldn’t help saying “certainly” loud enough so that she would hear me.  She did look in my direction, but I doubt that she understood her rudeness and the message she was sending about her values and by extension, the values of the store.

The question that stays with me however is simple.  What would have happened if an elderly person would have been standing in my place.  What if that person could not have moved as quickly and steadily as I did?  Would she have pushed through anyway sending that person falling to the floor?  I hope not.  I really hope not.

My opinion only worsened when I arrived at the counter to pay for my item.  There were three staff members there, including miss non-manners.  They were talking about a customer and not in a positive light.  They were very vocally complaining about a lady in great detail.  So much detail that I am fairly certain I know who they were referring to.  Completely inappropriate.  So she bought a bunch of stuff and returned it.  So what!  That is her right.  I can only imagine what was said after I left the store.

Had I not had a gift card that I needed to redeem, I would have left the store.  I did make a purchase. I should note however, and this is where I hope Winners is listening to social media conversations, I won’t be going back any time soon.  I hope that this employee is just one person who is so self-absorbed that she doesn’t see how her actions reflect not only on her, but also on the store that she is representing. Furthermore, I hope that Winners has the gumption on a go forward basis to train its employees to vent in private.  Sure, we all have to vent, but don’t vent about customers where customers can hear.   I can’t imagine that these are the values of the Winners store overall.  Surely Winners doesn’t want to be known for rudeness and customer put downs, right?  I don’t think that this is what Winners means when they say that “Everybody Loves To Get A Surprise.”

Thankfully not all stores are like this.  I want to give credit to those that do great customer service too! These are the stores that I will go back to over and over and over again.  I know that I am not alone in this.

Wicker Emporium or “@Wickeremporium online: 

Wicker Emporium on the other hand is always a great experience.  I cannot ever think of an experience in the 25+ years of shopping there that I have ever witnessed rudeness.  Just the opposite actually.

The staff always make eye contact and say hello when you enter a store.  Often times they are busy waiting on other customers and “focusing” on those customers.   I like that they focus on the customer they are dealing with.  It shows that they are paying attention to the customer and in that moment you, the customer, matter.  As soon as they have a chance, they do greet you.

In other cases where they are busy restocking and reorganizing the store they always come to see if you have questions and/or need help.  These ladies, and I say ladies as I have only ever seen women working there, could teach some other retail stores how to “BE” great customer service people.

To all the ladies at Wicker Emporium, and I hope your head office is listening, you rock!  You are great ambassadors for the Wicker Emporium brand and you should be recognized for this.

Do you have a customer service success or failure story to share?

5 Reasons “Share If You Agree” Posts Drive Me Crazy

You know these Facebook posts.  The ones that profess love for your family, or that your son or daughter is the most wonderful in the land, or you will be friends for eternity and if you agree you should share (or Like)!  Just this morning I have 15 in my Facebook feed.  Seriously 15!  And, on top of that they were one right after the other.

Share if you agree

So why do they drive me crazy?  Here’s 5 reasons why:

5.  Can you say SCAM?

First and foremost I have to say that sharing a post, or liking a post, is not going to make you rich, have your luck change over night, or make someone fall in love with you.  Of course I am referring to the posts that claim if you share (or Like) it, something miraculous will happen within a set period of time.

4.  Exploitation

People who set these up such posts are often praying on someone’s insecurities or fears.  Think about the posts that show sick children or accidents.  Think about the ones that say “share if you hate [insert disease], ignore if you don’t.  Really?  By ignoring said post I like a disease?

3.  Pollution

Yes, I am calling if Facebook pollution.  It is polluting my Facebook newsfeed and taking away from the things that I want to see.  Real updates from people that I care about.

2.  Social Proof or Herd Instinct

A formal and proven psychological phenomenon, as discussed in depth by Dr. Robert Cialdini, demonstrates that people are influenced by their friends and also the number of people (the herd)  who are involved in an act.  So, if you see that 100,000+ people, some of which are your friends, have shared a Facebook post you feel that you must do it as well.  You want to be a part of the herd.

1.  You Are Making Someone Else Money and You Don’t Realize It!

This is the number one reason for me.  People are playing on all the reasons stated above to make money off of people who don’t realize it.

When someone creates these posts they have a very deliberate motive:  to make money. I am not talking about the companies who create Facebook Contests in order to get you to share or like their page in exchange for the opportunity to win something.  This is legitimate and the business is being up front with you.

Stupid Share

I am talking about the people who want to do this without being up front.  What they are doing is working with Facebook’s algorithm .  By getting more likes, shares and comments it is improving someone’s ranking in the algorithm (some used to call this the EdgeRank) and therefore this means that the better the ranking the more it will show up in other people’s newsfeed.  So, what does this have to do with the price of tea in China?  Everything.  Once the original page hits a certain threshold, the owner can sell the page to another party.  Because it is so popular, it has a better price tag.  The new owner can then update some information and have a ready made community to spam, I mean share information with.  Yup, that is what it is all about.  Dollars.

So, if you agree with this post “Like” and “Share”.  If you don’t, just ignore.

3 Things We Can Learn From Angela Ahrendts Jump to Apple

There is no question that Angela Ahrendts has a lot of street cred when it comes to creating a brand.  The rise of Burberry and timing of Ahrendts joining the company are definitely tied together.  So, what can we learn from her jump to Apple?  Plenty!

Photo courtesy of

Photo courtesy of

1.  Apple is repositioning

Ahrendts is well known for turning around the Burberry brand and making it desirable again.  Apple has been going gangbusters for some time, but people have begun to ask what is next for Apple.  Unlike Blackberry, Apple has realized that it can’t rest on its laurels.

2.  Women are increasingly important for the Apple brand

Bringing on Ahrendts in this senior role triggers a different message for Apple.  Currently there are not a lot of senior roles filled by women.  With her reputation and capacity of previously and successfully filling a CEO role, this would suggest that Apple is looking to reinforce the importance of women in buying decisions.  The question of course will be fully answered if and when they add her to the board. If they don’t, that could also be telling.  What influence will she carry?

3.  Renewed Global Interests

Ahrendts is responsible for outstanding global growth during her tenure at Burberry.  With her finesse in global markets, it could be a sign that Apple is going to focus or refocus attention on the global market.

With the announcement just being made, there will be much analysis about Apple’s gain and Burberry’s loss.  What do you think about this change?  Hit or miss?  Will Ahrendts be able to shift gears from a luxury brand to a brand that reaches the masses?  Or, is Apple wanting to shift gears and focus on the luxury market?

3 Ways Color Can Influence Buying Behavior

There are many things that influence human behavior and color is definitely one of them.  The effect is often so subtle that we have no conscious realization that we are being influenced by color.

Research shows however, that color can actually influence buying behavior.  In fact, color has the power to evoke strong emotional responses and depending on your culture and your geographic location, using the wrong color could be enough to turn potential and existing customers away from your business.  As a result many marketers, like myself, have studied the meaning of color and the psychology behind color.  So let’s take a 50,000 foot view of color and give you some tips to help you influence customers the right way.

1. Geography and Culture

Sounds straight forward doesn’t it?  Not necessarily.  You don’t need to be a big company to think about the implications of working in different countries or selling to people of different cultures.  In fact, small business really needs to be on top of localization.

One of the best companies for localization is McDonald’s.  Small business can leverage the work they have done and apply it to their businesses.  For example, McDonald’s has  not only adapted the look and feel of their website to meet the local customer’s expectations, but they have changed their menu.   In terms of color, we see that Red plays prominently on their website in India.  Red is an important color and one that has positive meanings in India.


McDonald’s Website for Northern & Eastern India

 In Mexico however, red is really downplayed.  The website focuses more on the colors that are seen in the Mexican flag.

McDonald's Website for Mexico

McDonald’s Website for Mexico

And in The Netherlands, green is much more prominent than red on the website.  The golden arches are encased in green, not red.  Again, understanding the implications of color is important so that you can focus the right attention in the right place.

McDonald's Website for The Netherlands

McDonald’s Website for The Netherlands

2.  Age

This little known fact is one that can significantly impact your prospect or customer base. Understanding age and how color influences decisions is important if your business focuses on a specific age group.

According to research, green is a color that is more acceptable to people up to about 50 where as orange is a color that, as a person ages, is generally not preferred.   Additionally, as people age, the darker and strong the color, the more it is not desired.  Blue is consistently acceptable and preferred across all age groups.

If you are marketing to baby boomers, be sure to know what colors to fully leverage and which to stay away from.

Baby Boomer Image courtesy of

Baby Boomer Image courtesy of

3.  Psychological Impact of Color

It is true, colors bring on emotion.  Different colors mean different things.  Silver for example, brings about the emotion of calmness and if more on the gray side, it can bring about an emotional response of security, modesty or even intelligence.  Red in China is a sign of happiness and vitality.  When sending flowers to a family who is grieving and close to their Asian culture, be sure to send flowers that do not contain red.

For more information on the meaning of color, what emotions they evoke and how to use color, check out Using Color to Influence Buyer Behavior.

Takeaways:  Do your homework.  Look at what other companies have done and take cues from them.  Hire professionals who know about localization and understand how color can influence prospects and existing customers.

BOOK REVIEW: Danny Brown & Sam Fiorella’s Influence Marketing

I love that I get the chance to meet really smart, interesting and inspiring people and in the process read great books and do book reviews. Danny Brown is one of those people. Sam, hopefully we get to connect soon too! As I get ready to do my PhD on Digital Influence, I was pumped to read Danny’s and Sam’s book: Influence Marketing: How to Create, Manage, and Measure Brand Influencers in Social Media Marketing. After all it is a bout Influence!

Both Danny and Sam are well known for their marketing prowess and have really developed the conversation around influence. When done well, we don’t even realize that tactics of influence are being executed on us. As expected, this is a well written book chalk full of information.

From the Book’s synopsis:

Influence Book

“Today, you face a brutally tough, maddeningly elusive new competitor: the “wisdom of crowds.” Social media gives consumers 24×7 access to the attitudes and recommendations of their most engaged peers. These are the views that shape buying decisions. These are the views you must shape and use.Influence Marketing won’t just help you identify and enlist key influencers: it will help you manage the influence paths that lead consumers to buy. By sharing empirical evidence of hard-won lessons from pioneering influence marketers, Danny Brown and Sam Fiorella provide a blueprint that moves influence marketing beyond simple brand awareness and into sales acquisition and customer life time value measurement. They integrate new tools and techniques into a complete methodology for generating more and better leads—and converting them faster, at higher margins. 

• Put the customer—not the influencer—at the center, and plan influence marketing accordingly
• Recognize where each prospect stands in the purchase life cycle right now
• Clarify how your consumers move from brand preference to purchase
• Identify key micro-influencers who impact decisions at every stage
• Gain indispensable insights into the context of online relationships
• Recognize situational factors that derail social media brand recommendations
• Understand social influence scoring models and overcome their limitations
• Re-engineer and predict influence paths to generate measurable action
• Master the “4 Ms” of influence marketing: make, manage, monitor, measure
• Transform influence marketing from a “nice-to-have” exercise into a powerful strategy

Additional online resources can be found at”

Now, My Review:

This is one of the most comprehensive books on Influence Marketing that I have come across. From defining what Influencers are to understanding the emotion and logic that drives Influence to role of social media to exploring the shift of power from the brand to consumer and more, Danny and Sam have this exciting topic covered. They even go one step further and offer case studies to reinforce and support their topics.

What stood out for me most? Well, it was really the discussions around Customer Lifetime Value (CLV) and Net Promoter Scores (NPS). This section of the book, like the entire book, was well thought out and got me thinking a lot about how to better measure Influence and the need to incorporate different measures than what have been discussed. This will be an area that I explore much deeper thanks to the authors.

Finally, another part of the book that I particularly liked and will draw upon to support initiatives is the definition of Influencers. As Influencer Marketing becomes more and more the topic du jour, helping people understand who is an Influencer and who is an Advocate, for example will really make a difference in developing ones strategy and tactics to use in an integrated marketing plan, that includes Influence Marketing.

So, you are looking to get an A-Z understanding of Influencer Marketing, I would get this book.