Tuesday, September 9, 2014

The story of how one loses a customer

Acquiring a new customer is typically way much more expensive than retaining an existing one. You might have read this already and it should be no news to you. Now hear this story.

Excited about the imminent release of the new iPhone, last week I stopped by one of the local Elisa Shops to ask whether they could put me on a waiting list for the iPhone 6. I have visited that shop several times in the past, to inquiry for products and services and to buy mobile phone subscriptions. I bought my Elisa Viihde service from them. About two years ago I also bought my iPhone 5 there. 

As I entered the store, I took my queuing number (there is always a small queue there) and waited patiently to be served. I was already thinking of what number I would end up being on the new iPhone waiting list. Was I early enough? Could there be already other names in the list? Silly thoughts but I am sure you will understand me if you are a sucker for gadgets as I am. 

Soon enough it was my time to be served. I went straight to the point , said I wanted to buy an iPhone 6 as soon as it was available and asked, could they put me on their customer waiting list. Take my money!

I expected to be told the typical “we do not know when we get it, how much it will cost, in which version it will come, how many we will be able to get”. What I was unprepared to hear is that they are not taking names from people who want to buy. The reason? “If we put your name on a paper and leave it in the back office, it might get lost”. 

Wow! How hard can it be to keep a list of customers who want to buy something from you? And shouldn’t you care about that enough to make sure it won’t get lost? 

I did not want to argue with their policy. Disappointed, I left the store.

The end result? I guess they won’t lose the list, but they have definitely lost a customer. 

PS #1: Retaining existing customers is probably not the easiest thing in the world, and it surely requires effort from business owners. When you sum up all the work that is required to keep an existing customer base active with your business, it probably will feel like it is a hell of a job. Will it ever pay back? Can I even manage to do it all?

However, if you break it into the small individual actions you need to take to make it happen, it might actually turn out to be as easy as taking a sheet of paper, writing down names and phone numbers on it and keeping it safe in your store.

PS#2: my good buddy @petruslundqvist gave me a different way to look at this. He said: “at least they were honest”. 

Monday, July 21, 2014
Italian beekeeper attending to some of his bees at the end a June in Northern Italy. He was wearing no protection and I saw him getting a few stings.

Italian beekeeper attending to some of his bees at the end a June in Northern Italy. He was wearing no protection and I saw him getting a few stings.

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Bears as biggest threat to Finnish beekeeping

(This post was cross posted also on beekeepinginfinland.com)


(Photo credit: Pirkka-Hämeen Mehiläishoitajat ry)

According to the Finnish Association of Beekeepers, already 137 beehives have been destroyed by bears in Finland in 2014. 

The association estimates that, depending on the year, Finnish beekeepers experience losses of between 350 and 1200€  per hive when bears visit their bee farm. 

The red pins in the map below represents the reported incidents from 2014, while the yellow pins those of 2013.


(source: SML)

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

This week’s good reads: stories of life at the top and at the bottom.

The american dream can happen outside America. According to Dong Nguyen, the creator of Flappy Bird, the dream can also quickly turn into a nightmare.

Read the story on rolling stone.com.

How is life when you have a retail job? Joseph Williams, a veteran reporter who after losing his journalist gig took a job at a sporting goods retail store, tells his story on The Atlantic.

Read the story on theatlantic.com.

Thursday, January 30, 2014

How to easily get test email inboxes

Do you ever need quick to activate and easy to terminate email inboxes?

Have a look at http://www.fakemailgenerator.com

I love this service. It couldn’t be easier or faster to get a new email address up and running and ready to receive email messages. As you land on their home page, you will already have an email inbox ready to be used. You can still configure the email address picking from a list of available domains.  No need to register. 

I found the service extremely convenient at least for two use cases:

1. Testing email messaging from applications we are building.

Most online services will send, sooner or later, some email to their user as part of the user experience. With Fakemailgenerator I can easily test whether an application is sending emails when it should and whether the message is the correct one.

2.  Testing how an email message will look like at the receiver’s side.

Sometimes you have to make sure the text is readable, looks good and the links you might have added work at the receiver’s side. You want to make a good impression. Fakemailgenerator can help you also with that. This is not fully error proof as formatting can depend on the email client used by the receiver, but at least it might help you spot common problems. 

Fakemailgenerator does not allow to send email messages from the inboxes they provide. If that is what you need, then this service is not for you. 

Here is a screenshot to give you an idea of how the service works.

Thursday, January 16, 2014

UX: Don’t ask if you already know the answer

Dear Tori.fi:

You know when I posted the item, and you know when I removed it, so why do you ask how long it took to sell it? Just have your computers make the math, the answer will probably be much more accurate as I do not exactly remember when I posted it anyway.

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Typical example of an error message fail

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Long term change happens through small steps

When faced with a difficult issue or challenge, do something else. Focus entirely on solving a subproblem that you know you can successfully resolve.

I realized my problem is not just procrastination but focus. Ah ha! So for ten minutes, I’ll turn off my computer and cell phone and spend that short uninterrupted time knowing there will be no distractions. Once I’ve made this little ten-minute practice a daily habit, I’ll revisit the larger challenge of time management.

Taken from Derek Sivers’ notes  of the book “5 Elements of Effective Thinking

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Make your own mistakes

There are tons of articles out there to pick from and the business around helping new entrepreneurs continues to flourish with online and classroom courses, books, and conferences. 

It has been a few months now since I actively started working on a new project that hopefully will turn into a business. It has been a roller coaster ride so far and it hasn’t been easy. 

I am reading something every day about how one should go about building a new business, a habit I started with the hope I would move faster and avoid mistakes other have already learnt from.  This has helped but not as much as I though it would. At the end you have to try and make those mistakes by yourself to learn. Only when it burns, you can feel it. 

Today I run into this post by David Spinks. It was so well written that I thought I would repost it here. He did have a paragraph specifically about learning through your own doing:

11. The only way to truly learn something is to experience it yourself

Some of you might be nodding your head as you read this post and thinking how it’s cool to learn all this stuff.

The problem with these kinds of posts is you won’t truly understand what I’m sharing until you experience it yourself.

I can’t tell you how many times Nadia and I have talked and just laughed about how everyone told us the same thing but we made the mistake anyway.

They can tell you that startups are hard, fundraising sucks, validate first, hire slow, fire fast, follow your gut, ignore advice, etc… but we’ve failed to truly grasp any of those concepts until we went through them ourselves.

So if you take one thing away from this post it’s that you should just try.

Put yourself in uncomfortable positions.

Take risks.

If you don’t know shit about fundraising but you think you need to do it, then just start. You’ll learn quickly.

Want to start a company but can’t wrap your head around everything involved? Just take that first step and you’ll learn along the way.

Jealous of that person who seems to know everything about woodwork? The only difference between them and you is that they did it and you haven’t yet.

People don’t do things because they understand them. They understand them because they did them.

Now let me go back to trying something new…

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Do you care… or do you just want to sell?

Today I read this article by Tom Fishburne on customer acquisition and it made me think of something that happened to me a couple of weeks ago.

A customer support rep for Saunalahti (read “a salesman) called me. She started the call by telling they were conducting a special campaign to measure their customers’ satisfaction with a service called Elisa Vihde and gather feedback from customers. 

The  Vihde package includes fast cable/fiberoptics broadband and a cloud based PVR/movie rental service that is accessible via a dedicated box and PC/tablet/smartphones.

As I am as subscriber of the service, they wanted to know how satisfied I am with it. I was confused because I actually bought the “vihde service” not from Saunalahti, but from their parent company, Elisa.

I asked: “Do you want feedback about Vihde or the mobile phone/data service I get from Saunalahti?”. The question put the rep a bit off track, she answered “well….we are interested in any feedback you want to give”. Sounds great…

Well, she asked for it, so I went on telling what I like and dislike about both their Vihde and  phone service. I believe I spoke for about 10 minutes, that must have felt like death to the person on the other side of the phone. She did not speak once and gave me the impression she was doing something else like preparing for the next call or checking her Facebook feed.

When I ended my elaborated review of the services I bought from them, she started again to speak, this time to sell me a tablet. That was the confirmation that she did not really care of anything I had to say and had not probably listened to me at all as she could have understood I was not the target market for that offer.

I politely replied we already have two iPads at home and were surely not interested in an android tablet. I also finished the call saying I hoped she still took notes of the feedback I gave and would pass it on to product development teams. I bet she didn’t. I bet she didn’t care. She only wanted to sell.

Photo by Giulia Forsythe /flickr