Basic info that can lose a sale

Just a short post about hiring a car.

It’s Friday night after hours and I’ve only decided I need a car for 24 hours from tomorrow morning, to pick up from an airport but return elsewhere in the same city.

As I’m returning the car on a Sunday to a non-airport location, I wanted to know the trading hours of the local branch of the company.

In the order I looked for a hire car (of the four household car hire brand names I selected)

Company A — 8:00am, but no cars available the next day.
Company B — 9:00am Sunday open — cars available, but too late in the morning. And a ridiculous $110 “one way fee” yet I’m 25 mins from an international airport.
Company C — cars available, but no trading hours available on their website
Company D — cars available, and open 7am on Sunday.

Company D got the booking.

Notice — price wasn’t an issue. I paid more with Company D than I could possibly pay with Company C.

And I even contemplated a 2-day hire with Company B — except that one-way fee was nearly more than the cost of the 2 days hire! For a location still in the suburbs of the same city.

Company C MIGHT have got the booking if they had trading hours online.

But they didn’t. This basic info was hidden.

I even tracked down a phone number direct to that branch. Called it, but it rang out.

No answering machine message announcing their office hours, no redirection to an open branch, nothing.

How many other sales do they lose this way?

This transaction was all about convenience, not price. But basic information that should be online was absent.

Get some “fresh eyes” on your sales process to see what obvious factors you might be overlooking.

We can all be guilty of this — I’m no exception. But it’s often external “fresh eyes” that really see the gaps.

A sale lost, just by not providing the basics.

Usability Fail

Today I was looking for some photo/disk mailers that Australia Post offer for sale in every one of their postal shops.

Jumped onto their online shop.

Navigation failed to turn up anything relevant.

So I used search.

“Disk mailer” — no results (and no helpful suggestions).

“Disk” — no results

Hmmm, so I grabbed one of the mailers off the shelf that I have (a few left, need more!).

Ah ha!

“Computer Disk & Photo Mailer” — no results.

Product code on the product is “DP” — no results.

Size is 150mm x 200mm … so “150mm” — no results.

Went to their online pdf catalogue … finally found the product with a new product code.

“Bx9” — no results.

“CDs And Photos” as it is called now — no results.

Seven separate searches for the product … using the old name, old code, new name, new code, common “tag” words … nothing.

Zilch, zip, nada.

I wonder if a real user actually tested their online shop or search feature?

I guess now they don’t sell their own products in their online shop.

But nothing — nothing at all — informed me about that in their search pages or results.

Finally I found they also have an online stationery shop.

Great, it must be there!

No results.

They don’t even sell their own products in their stationery shop.

Can it get worse?

Yep!

In the online PDF catalogue I found earlier, I get to “print” the sheet with the product on it.

But not to order it.

Not even “how to order”.

The printed sheet defaults to Sydney 2000 to find the nearest postal outlet.

So I reset that to my postcode.

And then on that printed sheet — NONE of the three nearest postal outlets that stock this item are listed!

Not my town, or the nearest two towns.

Only the big “shops” not the licensed postal outlets — that all stock this item.

No wonder they say they face “challenges ahead.”

Price Persuasion

I noticed an interesting presentation of pricing for a subscription for my local daily newspaper (Geelong Advertiser) today.

Big graphic displays “Only $27.60” with a much smaller “per month” underneath, and then “SAVE OVER $96” underneath, with a much smaller “per year”.

How being "creative" helps make your pricing more persuasive

In other words, it could be a yearly comparison: “Only $331.20 per year — Save over $96”.

Or just having it monthly: “Only $27.60 per month, save over $8”.

Or, much worse, swapping the year and monthly figures: “Only $331.20 per year — Save over $8 per month.”

None of the other pricing options look particularly persuasive or appealing, do they?

Keep this in mind as a consumer and as a business owner!

The pricing claim is certainly factual, but by being “creative” about the amounts, it is presented in a much more persuasive manner than it would be if you solely used yearly OR monthly pricing in the claim.

John Carlton’s Action Seminar

Just read John Carlton’s latest blog post today which, for students of copywriting (you’re ALWAYS a student of copywriting, whatever your level of mastery) is a great study piece.

It’s often a common marketing “challenge” for copywriters to get attention promoting products as the new year arrives, as it seems to be that time of year when there’s quite a clutter of similar “new year, great time to take action and finally get what you want” offers, across a whole lot of industries.

(That many people ONLY look at making plans for 2011 by way of a “new year’s resolution” once at the start of the year, and then do nothing about it for 12 more months — well that’s a whole other opinion piece and may offend! But I’m getting distracted here. Back to John.).

So when you come across something like John Carlton’s post for his 2011 Action Seminar, you know you’re reading a master at work … well worth a good, close read!

Telco short-sightedness has me stumped

I’m rather confused.

My mobile/cell phone contract has just under 6 months (of 24) to go, and that includes 4 x $10 handset payments remaining.

I wanted a new iPhone4. Happy to have a new 24-month contract, and increase my monthly minimum spend by $30 per month to be on the relevant $79pm plan.

However, my provider wants me to pay out — in full — the remaining 6 months of my existing contract, even though I’m suggesting to them I increase my monthly spend by a minimum 61 per cent, and re-sign for another 24 months.

That’s rather crazy from the consumer’s point of view.

I would have expected the $40 in handset payments to go to a new plan, but not to both pay $49 per month for the next 6 months AND $79 per month on the new contract.

That’s double dipping.

And they’re potentially missing out on my business after this 6 months is up.

All for not seeing $40 in what’s fair to payout the remaining payments on my current handset cost, instead of $294 for the remainder of the monthly spend (plus the $40 anyway!).

What the????

Or … if they were really innovative and flexible, they’d say YES (now you might figure out who they are) and start my new $79 per month plan for 24 months from May 2011 (I would have agreed to that), and increased my monthly plan anyway in the meantime from $49 to $79 per month.

That’d keep my business for the next 30 months.

Here’s a customer offering to spend 61 per cent more per month and go onto a new 24 month contract.

But they’re too short-sighted to see that.

And now I’m looking for a new Telco.