Saturday, August 14, 2010

Lessons From Subway: Cater to Guest in Person and Online

Here's a lesson from your local Subway store: cater to the customer both in person and online. It's not enough to network online. You have to build your brand, your business in the physical, face-to-face world, as well.

I went to a Subway sandwich store in Southern California today. There was a clear, simple sign out where I could easily see it announcing the fact that I could leave without being charged tax if I bought a cold sandwich to go. The sign pointed out right away in bold that the customer could avoid taxes: "Buy your sandwich without paying tax." It then proceded to compare other options to the no tax option. Simple, satisfying, and helpful. It served the customer.

How do you serve your customers?

On top of the great customer service, the fast food restaurant also displayed a sign advertising its affiliation with other Southern California Subways, all of which share a Twitter page.

How simple do you keep your ads? Is it important to limit yourself enough to keep you from going overboard with advertising?

Subway's advertising, in this case, was simple, and yet it managed to draw my attention. That combined with the custmer service won me over. As John Jantsch (author of The Referral Engine) says, it's important to balance social media with in-person service. You're bound to keep customers' loyalty if you follow this rule.

Video preview of "The Referral Engine" after the jump.

Jantsch says in his book:
There is an increasing danger in relying soley on one or the other [online vs. offline marketing]. If you are mostly off-line business... you will be overlooked by the growing percentage of your market that relies on Internet... On the other hand, businesses lacking an integrated approach that includes face-to-face selling and close customer contact... may find it difficult to engage prospects and convert customers.

1 comment: