Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Value Add

Many companies have one thing in common, that being the need for customer retention. They are constantly asking themselves how to hold on to the customer base they currently have. Brand loyalty is a powerful thing and can be rather harsh if lost. And it is very easy to lose it. Oh really?

Take JiffyLube for example. I will never take any vehicle I own to that business again. Nor will any of my friends or family. The sordid story of deception and bad practice, that when involving a thousand-plus pound people projectile, is long and boring to recount.

Anywho, here in Austin, TX, we have this awesome sandwich shop called Schlotzsky's Deli. They have rye and pastrami, so I guess that makes them a deli. You can buy their peppers. I have been "dining" there for some time. It isn't so much fast-food as it is food, fast. Love the Original. Adore the Smoked Turkey. Never tried their pizzas... I digress. Customer retention.

What does a deli do to keep customers guessing and always coming back for more? Offer pizza? That just seemed weird. Flavored breads? Been done, but a nice approach. How about one thing that, in my many, many years of eating sandwiches, that all delis should have, yet Schlotzsky's seemed to lack? Pickles. Go into any other delicatessen-style eatery and you get pickles with your meal. Sometime during the course of your consumption, a cured cucumber is conspicuous. However, Schlotzsky's, while showcasing one here and there in their artwork, has never offered their customer a pickle with their meal.

Bring in the pickles! I only noticed this recently, and am not too sure when they started doing it, but now you get an individually wrapped pickle spear with your meal. Way to go, Schlotzsky's! It's the little things that mean so much, and those little things add value to your customer base and keep them coming back for more.