Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Why Sport Really Isn’t Business

If you ask most people they will agree that sport is business these days. It’s big business no matter how you look at it.

However, it has sometimes been an uneasy fit as the long traditions and tribalism's of sport are pushed together with the quest for the almighty dollar. Granted, there are aspects that work perfectly but it came into sharp focus this week just how unlike sport can be compared to a traditional business.

Imagine if you had a massive customer base and they were fairly captive, not completely, but that your product has been used by them, their families and their friends for so long that it has become part of who they are. Technically they could stop using your product but they are so attached to it that it wouldn’t even cross their mind.You’ve been so successful for so long and you are safe in the knowledge that your revenue streams are safe.

Sound like the perfect business right?

But it comes to your attention that there is a fault with your product that pisses a lot of people off. Thing is, you don’t really care. Why change it? People will still buy the product. Worst thing is, from the customers view point, is that its so bloody easy to fix that they just really think you are a wanker for not fixing it especially when similar businesses have done their best to fix the exact same problem. A lot of your customers feel really pissed off and angry that you could let this happen.

2 points if you have guessed what the business is.


This week we saw two unexplainable errors from the referees and linesman.  Both could be easily fixed with introduction of video technology. But the reality is that FIFA are so pompous and arrogant that they really don’t give a flying whatsit about the fans (the customers). They are happy for the game to be wrecked and write it off as “that’s just football”.

Ger v EngMex v Arg

Bet we wish we could all tell the boss “that’s just business” when something went wrong and absolve ourselves of any responsibility.

They’ll alk about introducing technology at a meeting and they’ll make a decision because they believe they know best. And that is why the marriage of sport and business is sometimes rocky because it’ll be the wrong decision because it will be based on what they think and not what the fans think. Any normal business would conduct the first step of marketing – conduct some market research.

All FIFA need to do is some market research to determine if it is what the customers want. Assuming they want video technology then trail it in small segments then roll it out when needed.

That’s what any normal business would do.

Monday, June 21, 2010

WTF Was The Agency Thinking?

This is the third ad (really a collection of ads) in my WTF Was The Agency Thinking series.

Just like the last post in the series, I was scared watching this ad!

I know that this is old school artwork but surely these were scary even in their time? WTF Was The Agency Thinking?


Tuesday, June 8, 2010

This is Good Customer Service

La Porchetta A few weeks ago I wrote about a bad customer service experience and pondered if "a great product or service is an excuse for bad service”

Interestingly, I was recently at one of the competitors of the restaurant I received bad customer service from. Here’s what happened.

Mrs Oyster and I took little Oyster (18 months) out for dinner to La Porchetta at Tuggeranong, Canberra. As usual, the guys behind the counter said “g’day” even though they weren’t going to seat us. A waitress showed us to a table and promptly got us a high chair. She offered us drinks and we obliged.

A couple of minutes later a second waitress came past and offered us drinks. Not smooth but better to have two drink offers than none, right?

Soon little Oyster’s dinner arrived and I accidentally knocked my beer over while helping him eat. Once I returned the bottle to it’s rightful position I didn’t even have time to turn around and ask for a cloth before a waitress arrived and took care of the spillage.

They obliged nicely when I asked for some tap water in his bottle.

So far we were proving a little high maintenance but nothing a family heading out for dinner would expect. But what happened next was pure customer service gold.

Little oyster was being a shit and wouldn’t eat his dinner properly. This went on for a few minutes before a waitress arrived and offered some sauce, “kids love tomato sauce on anything” she said. It worked a treat as he got to dunk his food into the sauce before trying to get it in his mouth.

Then she noticed that Little Oyster was using a big person’s fork and returned with a kids size fork to make it easier (for all involved).

This type of customer service, above and beyond, is what made our dinner a much nicer experience.

La Porchetta is fairly similar to Zeffirelli but the great product is enhanced by La Porchetta’s customer service and damaged by Zeffirelli’s.

I suppose a lot of what happened at La Porchetta is as much to do with the general attitude of the staff (rather than some sort of systematic training). However, in a broader sense, the opportunity for any business is to understand what your customer’s “expect” and deliver above it. You don’t have to deliver much more, maybe only 1%, maybe a kids fork and some sauce, but boy does it create a great experience and positive word of mouth!

In comparison, I haven’t even had a response from Zeffirelli despite emailing them my post. Just a “sorry, we’ll try harder next time” would be nice. They are lucky that they make such great calzone because if La Porchetta made calzone then I wouldn't have to go near Zeffirelli’s again. Hint hint La Porchetta ;)