Tom Garrity

Crankshaft

In Uncategorized on February 10, 2018 at 5:10 pm

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My dad enjoys reading the newspaper.  It is part of his morning ritual.

Thumbing through the news of the day he heads to the sports page. Soon there after he will grouse about the success or failure of his Notre Dame Irish and whichever Houston sports franchise is playing.

Then, he gets quiet.  Occasionally a chuckle, other times outright laughter.  He reads through the comics like a bookie studies a racing form.  The frames of humorous wisdom helps dad make sense of the world.

IMG_8228Once, a long time ago, after I graduated from TCU. I commented about the Crankshaft cartoons. According to Wikipedia, “Crankshaft is an eponymous comic strip about an elderly, curmudgeonly school bus driver which debuted on June 8, 1987.”

I must have been an early adopter because I’ve been reading the comic strip since 1987.  But, I’ve never purchased a newspaper with Crankshaft on its pages.  My dad, remembering the comic strip comment has made saving the daily muse a part of his morning ritual.

As a result, whenever I head to Houston to visit, I have a stack of comic strips to catch up IMG_8226on when I get back to Albuquerque.

Funny, I let my dad know that he didn’t need to clip those out for me.  Gosh, it has been 20 years now?  He says he doesn’t mind.

And now in my later years, I “get it.” Clipping the comics provides a way for him to connect with me each day, even though I am not in his immediate presence.

Today, I went through another collection of Crankshaft comics.  A stack that was procured during my last trip to Houston.

He wasn’t with me in Albuquerque, but I could sure hear his laugh as I read through the comics.

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Resetting the customer experience

In Messaging, Reputation on January 30, 2018 at 5:12 pm

IMG_8027A client of mine tells his staff “everyone is going to make mistakes, its how you respond to those times that matter.”

In essence, it is a primer for crisis communications 101.

Putting a twist on my client’s words, when things go wrong, and they will, every organization has a chance to reset the customer experience.

The airline industry is a place where you see customer expectations fall short on a regular basis.  It just happens.  We’ve all seen how airlines have, and have not, done a good job resetting the customer experience.

When twitter was in its infancy, I groused about the Delta Airlines boarding process and how their many different “zones” reminded me of Dante’s Inferno.  The person who handled the airline social media account reached out and said my tweet was making the rounds.  That’s nice. But, for the most part, nothing has changed.

United Airlines flight attendants just looked at me with puppy dog eyes when someone who really needed two seats was doing what he could to fit into one seat.  I raised the arm rest and commented “come on in the water is fine.” I then sat through the next two and a half hours contorted in my seat trying to do my best to give my seat mate “space”.

On another United flight, I gave up my window seat so a family could sit together.  The attendants rewarded me with an emergency exit row to myself.  That was nice.

American Airlines… don’t get me started.

But Southwest Airlines, in the spirit of full disclosure I was an A-List member, has found a way to master resetting customer expectations. My flight yesterday (documented on Instagram Stories) was scheduled to be five and a half hours.  Because of mechanical issues with the airplane, it ended up being closer to a ten hour trip.

It was just one of those days that the word “delay” was in play… all day!

The apologies from the pilot and flight attendants were nice.  Lord knows they also wanted to have the never-ending flight end.

But, this morning, at the top of my email was a message from “Allison” with the Proactive Customer Communications team.  Her message went like this… I’m so sorry for the delay you experienced in Phoenix yesterday due to an unexpected maintenance issue.  [yada yada yada] We would like to invite you back for a more pleasant travel experience.  In this spirit I’m sending you a LUV Voucher that can be applied as a form of payment toward a new Southwest reservation.  We look forward to welcoming you onboard another flight in the near future.

In the words of Emeril John Lagasse III “BAM!”

That is how you reset the customer experience.  It wasn’t the voucher, don’t get me wrong, that’s nice.  It was the follow through.

Dancing on the Graves of NM Small Business?

In Messaging on August 17, 2017 at 1:48 pm

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The sticker on the morning newspaper (yes, I still get home delivery of two newspapers) caught my attention, but not the way advertisers intended.

Despite economic revivals in surrounding states, New Mexico continues to be mired in a multi-year recession. Some franchise stores have struggled, some have succeeded and others have even opened in New Mexico during that time.  Small businesses have been hit the hardest during this time.

Back to the sticker.

“we hear a store closed in your neighborhood. We’ve got you covered. KOHL’S® the best brands. The best savings. The best place to shop.”

The sticker left me with the impression that KOHL’S® is dancing on the graves of New Mexico small business.

However, the misworded ad provided a chance to do a quick dive into the 2017 Garrity Perception Survey (#GPS17) to see what kind of impact National Franchise stores have in New Mexico.

Overall, New Mexicans generally prefer to purchase products and services from locally owned stores over national franchise stores (41% to 8%).

Before small business starts doing high fives, nearly half of all residents (47%) say it doesn’t matter.  And, when we asked residents in 2013 what their favorite local store was the number one response was Walmart.

And, it doesn’t get much better.

The #GPS17 also surveyed New Mexico residents on how often they make purchases in national and local stores.

When making purchases in-store at local stores, 44% of New Mexicans do so at least once a week with 21% saying they do so several times a week. When it comes to making in-store purchases at national retail stores, 38% of New Mexicans say they do so at least once a week, and another 30% do so a few times a month.

While residents are preferring to shop local, they are shopping at national franchises more often each month.

In the coming months, The Garrity Group will be taking a closer look at how residents shop through online and mobile devices in addition to other buying patterns.  This misstep by KOHL’S® caught my attention and presented an opportunity for context.

The Garrity Group commissioned Albuquerque-based Research & Polling to conduct the Garrity Perception Survey from February 8-14, 2017. A total of 403 adult New Mexico residents were interviewed by telephone (both landlines and cell phones), providing a 95 percent level of confidence. For more information and analysis – or to request a copy of the Garrity Perception Survey 2017 – visit http://www.garrityperceptionsurvey.com.