PetSmart “gets” CRM and builds brand loyalty

Tuesday, July 28, 2009


PetSmart is a company that understands its customers and gives the tools and training to its employees to make an impact where it counts–with the customer.

We had been taking our shih-tzu dog, Lizzy, to PetSmart for grooming every 3 to 4 months consistently for several years. We have been rather pleased with their service, price and convenience and have seen no reason to change.

Last night we noticed that a couple of her nails did not get clipped during her last grooming visit at PetSmart and have curled under so far that they were now embedded into her paw. Painful for the dog I’m sure. So, we called our local PetSmart to find out if they had services to take care of this and to inquire about how or why a nail would not be clipped. The employee’s response on the phone shocked us. In fact, I wish more stores and businesses would shock us more.

They were empathetic, offered us reassurance and took ownership of the problem.

At the beginning of the call, the PetSmart employee had not yet established who we were. We were just another customer calling with a question or problem. After a quick explanation, the employee said if we had paid for a grooming with nail clipping then they would take care of the problem and pay for any antibiotics that may be necessary. They even have a veterinarian on site which reassured us further. The employee then asked our name and looked up our information. Sure enough, we had paid for the service and the nail clipping. They would take care of the nail issue and also offered us a free grooming session for the inconvenience.

At this point, we were pretty happy with the way PetSmart was handling the issue. They were empathetic, offered us reassurance and took ownership of the problem. PetSmart had all of our customer data in their CRM system. They knew the date of our last grooming, the details of the purchase and our past purchase history.

But having the data is not the shocking part that I referred to earlier. It was that PetSmart entrusted the front line employee with access to the data so that they can resolve the issue right then and there. There was no need to pass us off to someone else, call us back, make us come in for a consultation, or make us speak to a manager above them. No, it all occurred with the person we explained our situation to in the first place.

  • Because the employee knew their service they took ownership of the service problem.
  • Because the employee had access to the customer data, they were able to confirm the purchase over the phone without us proving the purchase in person.
  • Because the employee was empowered to resolve the issue right then, we were reassured and satisfied with the resolution.

But it didn’t stop there. There was more “shock” in store for us. Remember, PetSmart offered a free grooming session for our inconvenience. Well, we mentioned that we were not really satisfied with the last couple of groomings. We understood that we could always have the grooming touched up, but the hassle to bring her back was not worth the time. You see, were were not dissatisfied with the grooming, but we were not fully satisfied either.

Again, PetSmart went back to the data and looked up who had groomed Lizzy more consistently in the past and assured us Lizzy would be scheduled with that employee in the future. Now we felt PetSmart really wanted our business.

PetSmart had the CRM tools in place and with access for the right employees to truly impact their customer relationship. PetSmart gets CRM. PetSmart made the customer feel like a king and for that, they made an immediate impact on building their brand loyalty with this customer.

Are there other companies you have dealt with that have shocked you?

I had certain expectations when I called PetSmart. And they overwhelmingly exceeded them.


Kodak Shutters KODACHROME Film

Tuesday, June 23, 2009


Yesterday, Kodak announced that is was ending production on the KODACHROME Color film after 74 years to the dismay, I am sure, of many professional and amateur photographers. Some may even say Kodak is making a mistake.

Too many times,  products are canceled without regard to its customers, dealers, fan base, shareholders or employees. Without succession plans for ending a products life or replacing them with new or better options, customers can be left confused and unsure of the company’s new direction.

But what Kodak has done right in its decision to end KODACHROME is to celebrate the iconic product on its way out. Several things appear that make me think Kodak has done its planning to make sure this product’s end-of-life is just as successful as the previous 74 years.

  1. Kodak made sure that the one and only lab in the world that can still process the film has agreed to offer processing through 2010. It won’t leave customers high and dry with unprocessed film.
  2. Kodak has created a gallery of iconic images to celebrate the film’s storied history at
  3. Kodak will donate the last rolls of film to George Eastman House International Museum of Photography and Film in Rochester, which houses the world’s largest collection of cameras and related artifacts. This reinforces a sense of nostalgia and firmly supplants Kodak as a pioneer in film technology.
  4. Kodak is allowing Steve McCurry to shoot one of those last rolls and the images will be donated to Eastman House. McCurry is the photographer whose picture of a young Afghan girl on the cover of National Geographic in 1985 captured the hearts of millions around the world.
  5. Kodak offers information on its next-generation of products for its customers to consider. Companies evolve and so do their products. Kodak is planning for the future by showing its new products while celebrating its history of its previous product.

Just think of all the products that will be shelved this year. Some will be replaced by newer models. Others will vanish along with their companies. And some may just need to go. A lot of these products won’t have had the foresight like Kodak to plan their succession. Will their customers adopt the newer product or go elsewhere? Will their customers feel shunned or hurt?

Kodak made the correct decision–and that was to plan for KODACHROME’s end-of-life with an understanding of its customers. For this, I feel, Kodak will be rewarded. You can read more about Kodak at their blog A Thousand Words.

How Twitter is Changing the Way We Live

Friday, June 19, 2009

Twitter changing the way we live

As I continue to read more and more about the opportunity of Twitter, new examples are showing up everywhere. Take a look at this article on Time a couple of weeks ago about how Twitter will change the way we live.  I agreed that at first sight, why would I care about what my friends had for breakfast this morning? But Twitter is becoming more than just a posting of daily routines. People are finding ways to use Twitter that provides value.

In the article above, the author writes about how Twitter changed the dynamics of a conference and how its content was shared with the world. However, Twitter is only the latest tool in a series of changes to how information is shared.

It goes on to state,

“Twenty years ago, the ideas exchanged in that conversation would have been confined to the minds of the participants. Ten years ago, a transcript might have been published weeks or months later on the Web. Five years ago, a handful of participants might have blogged about their experiences after the fact.”

Enter Twitter,

“Injecting Twitter into that conversation fundamentally changed the rules of engagement. It added a second layer of discussion and brought a wider audience into what would have been a private exchange.”

Twitter is definitely changing the way we live, learn and communicate with the world just like blogging has done rather recently and the what the Internet has done in general.

Here are some ways that Twitter is changing our lives. Check the air quality in the city of Beijing.  Gain awareness for non-profit organizations. Rally the troops to protest online. Get customer service from businesses. Place your order to go.  Find a new job. Campaign for office.

These are just a few examples. Twitter is helping people to sell, prospect, educate, invite, converse, promote, teach, help, assist, brand, serve, publish, gather, demonstrate, advertise, market, announce, elect and more. Now it is your turn to see how Twitter can help you.

Backup Plan Revisited

Friday, June 12, 2009

Well, if you follow the NBA and advertising you know that the much-hyped Kobe vs. LeBron did not materialize. The Orlando Magic sent the LeBron James-led Cavaliers to the NBA Finals sidelines. At the same time, the Lakers were able to fend off the Denver Nuggets and hold up their end of the anticipated match-up.

Nike, which spent considerable time, money and creative energy on the Kobe / LeBron MVPuppets (Most Valuable Puppets) leading up to the Finals, didn’t quite get the match-up it was hoping for. So, did Nike have their backup plan ready to implement? It appears they did.

In a successive spot of the Kobe / LeBron puppets, LeBron is pumping iron…”2007, 2008, 2009, 2010; Yeah 2010.” This spot is a creative way for LeBron to look forward to the 2010 Finals and for Nike to implement its backup plan and still brand itself during the Finals.

In another spot, LeBron is home for the Finals and Lil Dez wants LeBron to take him to the Finals.

In your marketing strategy, have you prepared a backup plan? It appears Nike was ready all along.

Twitter value

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Have you started to Twitter yet? Are you tweeting for business or for personal reasons? I’m still torn on the value of Twitter. From a personal perspective, I don’t care to share the mundane minutiae of every action or event in my day. Nor do I care to read that of others. From a business perspective, there are glimmers of benefits to Tweets. I am responsible for the @GetTeamGear Tweets and am still working at it to find the business value while at the same time adding value to the community and industry.



I’ve read a few case studies on companies that have seen success from using Twitter. (Courtesy of MarketingProfs) Even today at MarketingProfs, there is another example of Twitter success with the “We Love Eric” movement. But, there can also be a dark side. Your tweets live on forever, so be careful of the posts you make. Tweets that hold anger, bad jokes, off-color comments, insults and the like can all come back to haunt you.

If you are new to Twitter there are many do’s and don’ts that have been written, blogged, tweeted, and posted. You won’t have to search too far to find them. This should get you up to speed pretty quick. But I believe the best way is to jump in and begin for yourself. Find out what you are passionate about and contribute to the community of Twitter fans that share the same.

Twitter can be a powerful tool in your marketing tool kit. You just need to find the right use in your situation. As marketing budgets shrink, social media is finding a home in the marketer’s arsenal.

Have you found success?

If you still can’t seem to figure out just what all the hoopla is about, there is always the next generation of technology coming…Flutter, the nano-blogging platform. Check out the mokumentary below.