I remember when I was a boy a new Checkers supermarket opened in Fish Hoek. Clowns dressed in chequered clothing, looking tall to me as a boy, were doing tricks and handing out sweets. There was a carnival atmosphere on the main road outside Checkers store. So strong was that impression that I can still remember it clearly.
Then later I remember the yo-yo craze promoted by a soft drinks company. I loved playing wiht yo-yo’s … trying to master the most difficult of the tricks; loop the loop, rock the baby and walk the dog. The soft drinks company even brought out top yo-yo champions to show us how do the tricks.
Just think about the entertainment industry for a moment. Over the weekend we were chatting about how big entertainers like Andrew Lloyd Webber and Stephen Spielberg were. They created billions of dollars in entertainment. Think about not only modern pop opera shows and block-buster movies but popular music, the performing arts, entertaining speakers, television, videos, art galleries and festivals, casinos and Saturday morning markets.
People love being entertained.
Especially in these difficult times when people face grim prospects, stressed out from the physical and mental effort, incomes eroded by inflation and public officials. Any form of escape is welcome.
But how many businesses take advantage of attainment. Yes, there are the occasional in-store promotions, price specials and the usual seasonal sales.
Can you think of any businesses that makes entertainment a part of their DNA?
Small business that inject fun into the sales process?
Apart from the obvious businesses that are in entertainment such as Disneyland, think of the travel industry, supermarkets and restaurants. In restaurants that care about their customers you can experience a palpable feel of entertainment when you enter their door. Someone is there to greet you and with a smile on their face and take you to a table and make you feel special.
How can you inject that fun experience into your sales and ordering processes and after sales service?
Think about the many businesses who lack a sense of fun or entertainment. Banks are obvious targets and even hotels. Then there are the high-tech companies that provide employees with playrooms and things like that but take a look at the grim-faced workers and you get another story. Consider of some of the online businesses that claim excellent customer service but are dreary and boring to do business with.
What about all that corporate communication with so-called entertaining tweets and Facebook posts and company videos with stiff-necked bosses rolling out corporate double-speak and corporate evangelism.
A friend of my daughter came to visit on Friday and she had attended a conference on contract law. The only interesting thing she was excited about was the two guest speakers, one a former radio presenter and the another a passionate sustainability practitioner.
Look, I know it’s not something easy to introduce into a moribund, business where people and employees are walking around like stiffs. Yet it is possible if you try think of ways to entertain your customer or potential customer.
Today, competitive products are so close to each other in terms of quality and performance that what stands out is customer experience. People want to buy from people who make them feel good about themselves, treat them well and entertain them in a way that brightens their lives.