If you’ve ready Ignited it’s hard not to be impressed with Andy Pawlowski. He knows how to leverage the Ignition Points and gets the stuff done that he feels is important. While I’ve been crazed on the road, Andy took some time to share his thoughts with us on the customer experience. An area where so many of us "Managers in the Middle" can make a difference.
Two great brands making steps to get to know their customers and change the world. So a few weeks ago I went into the local Apple store to buy an anniversary gift for my wife (a cool Nike Sport kit for her Nano and headphones). When I went to pay, I was shocked when the cashier asked me the question, "Do you want me to send you your receipt via email?" Now that is brilliant.
Well, if you're like me - you save your receipts and later enter them into software like Quicken or MS Money to track where you're spending your cash. Or you hang onto them just in case your spouse doesn't like the gift you got them. Or if it doesn't fit. Then, one day you see this pile of paper and input them into your system and throw them away or spend time shredding them, half afraid someone else might find that receipt later. I can't even imagine how many paper receipts we go through in a year.
But this wasn't just about saving paper. It was about both offering something convenient to the customer (now it is on file forever, or as long as I keep that Hotmail account) and getting to know who your customer is. Think about that. I mean, if you run a store or a restaurant or a dry cleaner, how many people just pass through your doors each day and you don't have any means of contacting them. They might love you and be willing to share things you're doing with others. They might be able to give you feedback on a new service or product or hours of operation. Maybe they'll help you when you open a new location? But they can't do that if you don't take that simple step to ask them who they are first. And to do so in a way where you are actually giving them value (in this case by not giving them a paper receipt) dramatically increases the number of people who will participate! Another of my favorite brands, Trader Joe's, is on this path. But they aren't all the way there just yet. If you don't know who Trader Joe's is, you are really missing out. For me, they make grocery shopping fun and affordable. They offer great food that is good for you and that you can actually afford. They'll open up a product in the store if you are curious if you'd like it or not - a free trial of about anything! And now they are trying to encourage their customers to bring their own bags. If you bring in your own bags, you can enter your name and phone number in a monthly drawing for free Trader Joe's groceries! Cool.
The only comment I have is that Trader Joe's should be looking for people like me who would gladly give them my email address to become more connected to their stores and learn more about their products. Sure, I've filled out the forms to enter my name in a hopper for free groceries. And there are always a TON of entrants. Why not find a way to speak to us, the consumers who are participating in your programs? I'm sure they will get there. And we all can do this too. How can you create a way to get to know your customers better? It doesn't have to cost you anything - it might even save you money (less bags or receipts to print!) And it just might help you change the world in the process.
Andy has spent the past 5 years working at Rawlings Sporting Goods, where he's currently the Brand Marketing Director for the Rawlings & Worth brands. Andy has led the shift of marketing focus from an older demographic to a young and dynamic 12-17 year old consumer base by leadership in creating a digital brand. His efforts have led to two straight years of double-digit sales growth in a flat industry, including online sales which have grown more than 50% in 2007. He was named to Fast Company Magazine's Fast 50 list in 2006. In addition to his marketing role, Andy has started the Grounds Crew - focusing Rawlings on the impact they are having on both the environment and in the local St Louis community. (https://rawlingsgreenteam.blogspot.com) He's also the creator of the Rawlings UFC - a virtual ultimate fighting competition that is driving communication among employees and a shift in mindsets across all groups: (https://rawlingsufc.blogspot.com)
Prior to Rawlings, Andy spent 3 years in Corporate Finance at IBM, with a stint marketing the Puppy Chow brand at Ralston Purina in between. He played college basketball at Drake University in Des Moines, Iowa from 1994-1998 and currently resides in St Louis, Missouri with his wife Sara.