Best Buy vs Apple Stores

There is a very simple way to earn my dollars and loyalty as a customer – simplify my life and I’ll be a customer for life. With as hectic and time challenged as we all are, our time is one of our most precious commodities and something I don’t like to waste. Helping to make my life easier and less complicated is what a great Lifestylist, marketing program or customer service department should be all about. To show this, I want to talk about two competitors and how they handle the customer experience.

Best Buy has spent a fortune advertising how they understand the customer and their lifestyles, and they are there for us to help us make the right decisions in our electronics buying dilemmas. They started their “Geek Squad” which is supposed to help customers in their homes or online – for a fee of course. To be honest I had stopped buying at Best Buy because of their sales teams lack of knowledge, and every time I went in and needed help there never was anyone in sight to help. But my grandkids were coming to visit and my television projector that I had bought through NewEgg and have had for years died. I ordered a newer model online and when I received it found out it was a projector, but couldn’t be used with cable. Called them, they were wonderful and immediately issued a refund and a call tag so I could ship it back. This didn’t leave me with enough time to replace before my company got here so went to my local Best Buy to see what they had. After looking at them and trying to decipher what my options were I made a decision and of course – it was mis-marked and the price was actually $200.00 more than the tag said. They wouldn’t honor the price shown, but again I was time challenged so went ahead and bought it. By this time I was working with the manager trying to get them to honor the price, no luck on that but he did talk me into the extended warranty which included one bulb replacement which I knew was an issue. Bought it, got it home in time to hook it up, all was well with the world.

Fast forward 7 months, and the bulb is going out. I call the number on my warranty policy and was given to the parts department after 4 attempts to get connected to the right department, and they didn’t have and couldn’t get a bulb for my model. The warranty is supposed to be “repair or replace” so they try and connect me to customer service where I get disconnected 3 times. At this point we are going on over 2 hours on the phone trying to get this resolved, and remember I was looking for a way to simplify my life. When I finally ask for and talk to a manager… wait for this… they tell me I have to find a place to buy the bulb, pay for it and install it myself, then send them the receipt and they will reimburse me! The only other thing they would do is I have to take the unit into the store, they will ship it off, then they will try to find a bulb, and it could take up to three weeks. Even though they know the part number they won’t look for it until I send the unit to them. Best Buy, and Kevin, Mary, and Daniel who totally wasted my time on a beautiful Saturday – you failed me and every other customer who walks through you doors.

Now let’s look at the Apple Stores. If you have never visited one you need to – I just can’t say enough good things about them. The people who work their are obviously treated well and love their jobs because they couldn’t be nicer, and more helpful. My favorite example is when I was in there having a lesson the other day a gentleman rushed in and asked one of the sales guys for help. Said was from out of town, had an iphone that he hadn’t even purchased from Apple and it had crashed. Oh – and the store was packed like it always is. The  sales person said not a problem, leave it with us for 10 minutes or so and we’ll see what we can do. The customer came back, the phone was fixed, no charge to customer and Apple picked up another Customer for life. Apple is there to simplify your life, and they sure have been able to do that for me. I have the confidence to know that when I buy from Apple I’ll have a team of geniuses ready to help me succeed in my marketing and life tasks.

It really doesn’t have to be that hard – if you show that you truly care about your customers it will show. Not once did I get a “sorry you are being disconnected”, “let us try to find that for you”, nothing from Best Buy. They took my money and ran.

The great lesson for me and if there is a silver lesson in all of this it’s that everything should start and end with the customer. I do appreciate the customers that support Lifestylist Design and I consider them a critical part of our success. I know Apple understands this as well which is why if it’s a product I can’t buy from Apple, I’ll be buying online and not from a company (Best Buy) that doesn’t appreciate my business.

Lifestylist Marketing by a True Lifestylist

What makes Lifestylist Marketing different from other forms of marketing? In our case it’s because the base information that we market around is someone’s lifestyle. To understand that buyer’s needs or expectations we go to places they would go to, shop where they would shop and read what they would read. This includes our extensive research on the travel and leisure industry, and participating in events that would attract the buyers that our clients are hoping to attract. We are definitely more than a design firm, and one of our strengths is our relationships outside the design arena.

We are now busy planning for the Super Bowl that will be coming to Dallas sooner than we think! The Gaylord Texan is the official hotel for the Dallas Cowboys and our relationships with this amazing hotel will help our clients experience this event in a great way. For anyone coming into Dallas that needs recommendations on where to dine or what to see, we are the people in the know that can make that happen. Lisa Stewart of LAS Photo is another one of our great resources and her team can help capture your special Super Bowl memories in photos. Event planning? Extraordinary Events and Design are the people to call.

We’ll be sharing more of our resources in the future – contact us and let us know what your needs are and how we can be of service at answers@lifestylist.com

Savor Dallas Wine Stroll in Arts District

One of my favorite foodie events that I attend every year is finally here! Savor Dallas started last night with the wine stroll and it couldn’t have been more perfect – perfect weather, perfect locations, perfect food and of course perfect wines!
My favorites were the Cakebread Cellars wines, Fedora, and the food and team at the Dallas Museum of Art.  People go to events like these for different reason, but I see it as a great opportunity to get to meet the different winemakers and chefs and really get to know what makes their creations special.
The Cakebread host was amazing. So gracious and willing to share his knowledge. They brought 5 different wines to try and I would have loved to try them all, but with the wine stroll being only 2 hours with over 60 participating companies sadly I had to keep moving. But he did share a DVD that is a Virtual Visit from Vine to Wine with me that I can’t wait to watch and learn from. And the Cabernet that I tried? Stellar!
Fedora is one of my favorite restaurants, and I was thrilled to see them on the stroll at the Nasher Sculpture Center. A beautiful backdrop to beautiful food. I still remember the dish they brought last year because it was a work of art with pomagranate sprinkled on it and tasted great as well! This year they brought a Bruschetta that was divine and I would have loved to have had more than one but I’ll just have to go back and sample them at the restaurant.
Fedora has been very generous about giving back to the community, including HomeAid / HomeBuilders Care. One of the owners was at the wine stroll serving – loved getting to visit with her and being able to thank them for all that they do.
I also absolutely loved the chef and team at Seventeen Seventeen in the Dallas Museum of Art. I wish I would have gotten teh servers name because she was so helpful, and when I told her I wanted to get some photography she brought out fresh food and helped us guard the goodies from all of the participants who couldn’t wait to sample! But what really won me over is when Executive Chef  Jason Ferraro came out and introduced himself. I’m not sure restaurants understand how much of an impression it makes when the chef takes the time to come out and greet you. It makes you feel so special, and it makes the dining experience personal.
There is so much more to talk about, but I need to get ready to head to some of the seminars and the Grand Tastings this evening. Hope to see you there!

How Social Are You?

It’s hard to believe some days how quickly the world is changing. Am I just getting older or is technology changing the way we live and do business? Social media is changing the way we get our information and how our customers shop. If you don’t have accounts on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Foursquare, Blogger and Buzz you are missing out. If you think I’m writing in a strange foreign language when I talk about these it’s time to do some Google searches and find out what the buzz is all about!

Some of the greatest reasons to join in the conversation with these groups are that:

1. They are free!
2. Information is shared immediately – no lag time for what you want to share to be published.
3. These are great places to listen as well as share your thoughts.

How do you get started? Join us at MHI Congress April 13 – 15 when Lifestylist® Suzanne Felber  will be sharing her experiences and resources with this marketing tool. We have also stared a Facebook group for PreFab Housing to help share between our community as well as get consumers excited about what we do. Please join us and help change the image of our community!