user experience Posts

That’s not my department.

Responsibility; ownership; accountability; these themes sound weighty, and they are; being responsible, accountable, with an ‘owner’s mindset’ is tough to achieve.

A few weeks ago I witnessed firsthand an employee lacking the drive or interest in being responsible and accountable when I was ready with an open wallet to buy his store’s products.

It was Sunday afternoon and the family and I were finishing some ‘before school’ shopping. The store wasn’t insanely crowded, so I believed that I could get some help if I needed it from one of the store clerks.

When a customer arrives at your storefront, act as if you want them there.

When a customer arrives at your storefront, act as if you want them there.

After meandering through the store in search of running shorts, I was at the end of my rope; I needed some help. A few minutes passed before I was able to locate an associate, sporting a bright blue shirt. The clock read 1pm, but he appeared as if he had just awakened from a nap.

“Excuse me, sir,” I said, hopeful that I’d soon find some shorts.

“Can you help me find the running shorts?”

“Uh. Hmm. Not sure. That’s not my department,” a pimple-faced clerk announced.

He pointed towards the back wall of the gargantuan store and reluctantly shared: “I think it is “kinda” that way. I would just walk over there and find someone wearing a blue shirt.”

I faked a thank you (what was I thanking him for exactly?), mumbled something under my breath and walked away. I must have displayed a troubling, confused, bewildered look as I glanced at my wife.

Eventually, I found a few pairs of nice running shorts, but let’s rewind and see how the sales associates could have played this one better.

  1. Take ownership: Walk me over and introduce me to a sales associate who knows the department a little better. Pointing in a vague direction isn’t leadership.
  2. Be a servant leader: Instruct me to wait where I am for a few minutes while the clueless associate finds someone to help me.
  3. Apologize: This person had to know he could have done better, but his lack of an apology had me convinced that this wasn’t the case.

Responsibility, accountability and ownership aren’t just pie in the sky, ethereal concepts. When present, these themes empower employees and shoppers, creating memorable transactions that will make a difference.

Until next time,

Dan Naden

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How NOT to follow up with your trade show leads

I’ve been to enough conference/events/trade shows over the past few years to see all the tactics that vendors use to collect contact information:

  • Prize giveway sign-up
  • Games
  • Food

I attended a recent event as an exhibitor, but had a chance to visit competing booths during some of the breaks in the action.

A few weeks after the event, I received the following e-mail from a vendor (I’ve slightly modified the text to keep the vendor name private.) I must have filled out a registration card or given them my business card.

Are your event follow-up tactics on target or shooting in the dark?

Are your event follow-up tactics on target or shooting in the dark?

Thanks for stopping by the ABC booth at the ABC conference.

ABC’s John Doe delivered his presentation [The Best Presentation Ever] to a completely full theater at the recent ABC show.  If you missed it or would like to see it again, John will be giving that presentation again in our office at Niceville on January 1st at 11:30. If you would like to attend or send a friend, you can sign up at

 I had a few challenges with this post-event follow up message.

  1. Who is this John Doe person? Was I supposed to know him? I wasn’t aware of him from the conference guide. He certainly wasn’t a thought leader.
  2. Where is the ‘Niceville’ office? I live in Texas, and I have no idea if the event is happening near Seattle, Washington, Orlando, Florida, or Chicago, Illinois.
  3. There were also a few egregious grammatical errors in the message, causing this vendor’s credibility to drop dramatically.

My company does its share of event follow up e-mails. We don’t have it perfected (far from it), but we try our best to avoid some errors that could have easily been avoided.

Be cautious the next time your company is connecting with attendees post-event. Understand how it important it is to be specific; vagueness causes confusion immediately.

Until next time,

Dan Naden

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eBook: How Do Brands Win Business

Friends, Product marketers, business owners, customer service reps, product managers, marketers:

It’s been a lifelong dream of mine to publish a book. I am thrilled to announce: I did it!!

Here’s my first of what will hopefully be many e-books and books.

The journey is just beginning.

The journey is just beginning. Let’s get there together.

This book is titled: How Do Brands Win Business

In this book, you’ll learn what brands such as Subway, Walt Disney, Hertz, Cirque Du Soleil, CBS did and didn’t do to connect with their customers.

I’ve collected some of my stories and lessons in hopes that you can do more of the good things and fewer of the less desirable things that push us further from our goals.

Enjoy this book and help spread the word.

Note: The book can be yours for only $2.99. That’s less than the price of your extra caffeinated treat this morning.

Until next time,

Dan Naden
Naden’s Corner
How Do Brands Win Business’ – eBook

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Coffee Bean: Customer Focused every day

I have high expectations for new businesses.

I have an expectation when entering a new store that I’ll be treated like royalty. I want that business to do everything they can to show me that I am a valued customer.

Frequently, this lofty ideal is crushed, leaving me departing the venue dejected, despondent; a new business’ worst nightmare.

I’ll tell my friends about my miserable experience, enlightening them about all that went wrong.

Coffee Bean's not just serving coffee, but memories.

Coffee Bean’s not just serving coffee, but memories.

On a sunny Monday morning in Austin, Texas, a shining, triumphant new business star was born. Nothing went wrong.

A new Coffee Bean Tea & Leaf store opened in our neighborhood, and my wife and I were eager to give the store a try.

Opening the door for my wife, we were serenaded with welcomes from the staff: “Hello, how are you today? Welcome, it is great to see you.”
We may have come in strangers, but we felt welcomed within an instant.

What store makes this a common practice? In most in-store experiences, it’s tough to get eye contact with an employee. This interaction, though, was authentic, engaging, breathtaking, refreshing.

After ordering our drinks, we relaxed in soft, cushiony chairs; the sunlight threw long shadows across the spotless floor.

Nearby, a young woman looked frustrated at her laptop. Within seconds, a Coffee Bean employee appeared: “Are you having trouble connecting to the WIFI? Let me help you.” The woman’s scowl disappeared; a fresh, surprised smile grew across her face.

Was this really happening? Employees that appeared happy to work there, and happy to please – there is hope for customers.

Our drinks arrived quickly. My wife couldn’t stop commenting on the flavor in her Latte. My coffee tasted fresh, not burnt. A few minutes passed, and a friendly employee asked: “Would you like a glass of ice water?”

If this is the new standard for service, I am a believer. Don’t just give me what I expect; blow me away with kindness; go out of the way to show you care.

Sadly, the day was too nice to stay at the Coffee Bean. The calendar said January, but the weather shouted April. As we left, the manager stopped by our chairs, thanked us for coming, picked up our glasses, and gave a hug to a young woman with her children.

“It’s great to see you again. Thanks for coming back,” he told the young woman.

“It’s great to be here. What a nice day it is today, “ the woman responded.

Another customer dazzled by attention, care, diligence, friendliness.

Give Coffee Bean a try. I hope your experience is a pleasant one. If it’s anything like our recent experience, you’ll come back for more.

Idea for Coffee Bean: Not sure of the return on investment for those loyalty clubs, but how about starting a Coffee Bean rewards club called the Beaners? Personally, I don’t need a program such as this to come back again, but it could help the skeptics.

Check Coffee Bean on Twitter: @TheCoffeeBean

Until next time,

Dan Naden

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The big question: How’s business going?

I make it a point to pose the following question to an unsuspecting waiter, hostess, cook, or ‘owner-looking’ person:

How’s business going?

The question freezes most in their tracks.  I guess they are so accustomed to hearing complaints and groans from customers that a genuine question is startling.  This is a departure from the standard fare: “The weather sure is warm today.”

When 'THE' question is asked, how will you respond?

Typical responses:

“Oh, fine. I guess.”

“We’ve been fairly steady. I think it’ll pick up later.”

“It’s a little slow now, but I am hopeful.”

“Great. We’ve been steady all day.”

“Oh, I don’t know. You’ll have to ask the manager.”

If you’re a manager, owner of an establishment, what’s your coaching to employees about how to answer this question?

Should you lie and say “everything’s rosy” all the time?

Should you give your honest assessment?

Should you gently smile and say the first thing that comes to mind?

I believe an employee should be honest, but sprinkle in some optimism.

For example, if the first person to walk into your establishment for the day asks the question: “How’s business?”

Don’t respond: “It’s been very slow. You are the first person to visit us today.”

Try: “We expect great things today; we have some great specials available on some of our most popular products. What brought you in our store today?”

Immediately, the employee has engaged with the customer and starts to understand his needs while introducing some of the fantastic offers available. This friendly tone won’t seem fake or pushy. The customer ‘should’ see this as warm, genuine conversation from someone who has his best interests at heart. In a world that’s sometimes too cynical and sarcastic, you’ll stand out with a fresh dose of optimism and enthusiasm.

Until next time,

Dan Naden

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