WEBSITE

Page Not Found, But Here’s a Cute Dog

Looking for inspiration for your 404 web page? That’s the page people go to when they hit a dead link within your site, and, of course, we can never advocate dead links on a site, but, hey, it happens ... even to the best of them. Take a cue from a website that knows a thing or two about the web: Amazon. On the very rare occasion a link takes you nowhere, you get to meet one of Amazon’s dogs — a different one every time. 

CUSTOMER SERVICE
Don’t Forget This Question 

On the back of the door to your grooming or boarding area, put up a sign reading “I.T.A.E.Y.W.L.T.A.M.” It stands for “Is there anything else you would like to ask me?” It will remind you to ask that question to customers before you say goodbye. Asking that question sends a positive message to customers that they matter, and that you’re not just trying to rush them out the door to get to the next client.

SALES
Boost Recall With a Fist

March 21 is Memory Day. If you always have trouble remembering clients’ names, try this trick: Clench your right fist as the person introduces herself, and the next time you meet, squeeze your left fist. Sounds crazy, but the technique boosted name recall by 15 percent in a study at Montclair State University. The squeeze increases activity in the opposite brain hemisphere.

CUSTOMER SERVICE
Now There's Gratitude 

What’s better? A grateful customer or a loyal customer? A paper in Journal Marketing argues the former. It says customers who are made to feel grateful become enduringly loyal and as a result, increase their purchases from the business. In contrast, loyalty or rewards programs rarely inspire gratitude. Miles or points are seen more as something consumers earn. So what’s the psychology behind it? Humans get pleasure out of reciprocating good deeds. What unexpected gifts or services can you surprise your customers with?

MARKETING
Have a Chummy Voice

Want an example of how a friendly, down-to-earth store communicates with its customers? Check out this email bulletin from popular online clothing retailer Moosejaw.com: “One of the Moosejaw programmers accidentally deleted a bunch of people that signed up ... We’ve since challenged the programmer to a series of duels including a staring contest, Red Rover and that game when you slap each other’s hands. But, that won’t bring back the names so we’re emailing everyone to sign back up. And if you’ve never signed up, now is the perfect time to do so....” You don’t get much friendlier than that. Another endearing touch is the way every customer receives a card with his merchandise that’s written by the person who packed the box. The note will say something like: “Hey, I’m the one who put all this stuff in a box for you. Isn’t it a great day?”

MANAGEMENT
Change Requires Focus

Changing employee behaviors is one of the toughest things you do as a business owner or manager. People generally like the status quo. The secret is to start small, one step at a time, says Morten T. Hansen, writing on the Harvard Business Review blog. “People need clear direction. If you bombard them with eight values or 12 competencies you want them to practice,” you will be met with inertia, he says. A better approach is to focus on changing one behavior at a time.

STRATEGY
Don’t Be a Know-It-All 

Want to make better business decisions? Learn to say “I don’t know” more often, recommends Freakonomics author Stephen Dubner in his latest book, Think Like a Freak. “Nobody wants to look like an ignoramus — but it’s hard to learn anything if you pretend you already know the answer,” he says. Once you concede you don’t know the solution, you can start testing new ideas and gathering feedback, he adds.


This article originally appeared in the March 2018 edition of PETS+.