Strengthening The Relationship
Even When Things Go Terribly Wrong

I’m not easily impressed – especially when I feel as if everything is going wrong. But in the end I have to grudgingly tip my hat to ComEd’s Customer Service Group even though I’m sitting here with only half power 6 days after the storm. Did ComEd’s electronic response system make mistakes? Looks like it. Did individual ComEd reps make mistakes? Looks like it. Did the customer (me) make mistakes? Probably. First, about my problem – Why am I still at half power? Turns out an electrical spike fried my breaker box. Unfortunately, ComEd kept saying the power disruption was their issue until about 5 pm yesterday so I delayed calling an electrician. I’m writing this from a computer that is running off a series of extension cords strung from from a kitchen outlet that is also running my fridge and stove. I had never heard of half power before, … Continue reading

What Makes A Great Trade Show Booth

Floor space, budget, image, key messages, partners, neighbors, product display, education… The list can go on for quite a while. All matter. All must be optimized. But the key factor to a great trade show booth is the people who are there to talk to prospects. In small booths it’s easy to make the mistake of putting a table between you and the aisle, adding a few folding chairs and creating a situation where prospects must actively try and grab your attention. Be standing, make it easy to shake hands. In larger booths its easy for personnel to gather deep inside the space, forcing prospects to walk-in and around before being greeted. Yes, the prospects that make it that far are more likely to be interested. And unfortunately yes, the marginal prospect has walked past. Booth design strategy must take into account ways to encourage your peoples’ natural ‘outgoingness.’ The … Continue reading

Shelf Optimization Turned Me Into A Yogurt Fanatic

Until last week I was not a yogurt fanatic. Then my local Dominick’s optimized their yogurt selection. During this process I’m sure they looked at sales, product attributes, profitability and synergies. Unfortunately my milkshake-like kifer drink didn’t make the mix. The matrix they developed seems to cover every possible known and unknown yogurt need…regular, low fat, no fat, sugary, sugar free, kid flavors, cartoon characters, real fruit, mashed fruit, desert flavor, medicinal, snack…. My product didn’t make the cut. It was expensive, in a large bottle, and I’m sure low volume. And now I am a yogurt fanatic. I am making a special trip to find my old favorite, strawberry-banana Lifeway Kifer. I was so used to grabbing the familiar milk bottle shaped package, that I didn’t even know the brand name until I looked it up on the internet. What does this mean? Well for Dominick’s, I’m sure their sales in the … Continue reading

When Am I Suppose To Buy Halloween Candy

I was in a retail store last night getting a prescription filled. Halloween was almost non-existent in the store with Christmas already looming large. The Halloween candy selection was all but replaced with marshmallow Christmas trees and candy canes. I don’t know about you but I can’t buy my trick-or-treat stash before October 30th if I want to actually give it away October 31st. Even more frustrating is that I know Valentine’s Day will fill in behind the empty Christmas card pockets and candy shelves with Easter following closely behind. Last year I tried to buy a new winter coat at the end of January. Couldn’t find one but did find a number of bathing suits to take me through the summer. Need a wool sweater buy it in August. Back to school supplies actually begin showing up in large retailers in July. Heaven forbid you want to buy the … Continue reading

Little Things Pay Off

I spent several hours writing at my local library today. Before I cloistered myself in my favorite cubicle, I stopped by a local eatery for my favorite sandwich – a bacon cheddar egg bagel. (We can talk health issues later!) When my sandwich was delivered I did the same thing I have done every other time I have ordered it – turned the bacon around. You see, they make the sandwich — bottom, egg, bacon, cheese, top – and then they cut it in half to make it easier to eat. Inevitably they cut it so that the bacon lays perpendicular to the cut. So what you ask? Well, the bacon mostly hangs over the edge of the sandwich instead of being on the sandwich causing it to be eaten separately or having to turn the bacon around. So what you ask? (again) Well, as much as I like this … Continue reading