Retail Relevancy: Building Customer Loyalty Through Social Listening

Retail Relevancy: Building Customer Loyalty Through Social Listening

zydeco bistro

When I started working with local food trucks ( 😉 back 2010 it was like a reboot for me as a marketer. The goal was to add as many local “foodie” followers as possible and convert them into customers. Getting them to show up was actually pretty easy, but watching them interact with the chef and supporting staff really opened my eyes on how disconnected traditional advertising/marketing had become. These social platforms allowed food trucks to scale the 1-to-1 relationship (digital word of mouth). –Fast forward to 2018 and we all know how loyal “foodies” are to their favorite restaurants, food trucks and craft breweries. As we hear all the failures of retailers going out of business it seems to be all traced back to this social media shift. Yeah… yeah, I know Amazon is the usual suspect in this “retail apocalypse”, but they filled a HUGE void that customers crave just like their favorite street food off the truck. Simplicity of transaction and engaged customer service. Retailers that establish this type of customer connection along with great products or services are the ones remaining at the top.

I’d like to share my latest retail customer experience renting a car. Lately when I travel, I’ve been using Lyft or Uber, but our latest trip to Hawaii required a car for the week. We booked the airfare and cashed in some credit card points that matched us with Enterprise Car Rental. So far, so good… Picked the car, staff seemed friendly (in an average way) but the office seemed more like a take-a-number driving bureau, even offering a lonely row of kiosks to avoid interacting with their staff I guess. The issue wasn’t the check-in, it was when I dropped the car back off. My mind was thinking about the gas tank being full… If I’m in the right line… Are we good on time to make the shuttle to the airport, etc. When I jumped out of the car you get hit with multiple questions as I’m grabbing suitcases and bags. To make a long story short… I forgot my favorite iPhone car charger… You see it’s not like any other iPhone car charger, it’s the Road Rockstar™ by Belkin. I’ve had it on all my road trips with associates and family… It has those additional 4-ports for additional charging. I really liked that charger, haha. For me, Belkin is one my favorite brands when it comes to my digital lifestyle. As I watched this younger worker drive off with my rental I had this feeling that I forgot something. It wasn’t until we took off that I realized what I forgot.

“My Loss is really Enterprise’s Loss”

My first attempt at recovery was to forward my email contract over to their office with a note about my charger. I figured after the 9 hour flight, I would have gotten a response. We landed, drove home then called the location later that evening due to the 6 hour time difference. I spoke with lost & found employee and she abruptly said it’s not here. It kind of caught me off guard, so I asked are you sure? “It looks a little different than your normal phone car charger.” She put me on hold for a little longer came back and said it’s not there. Okay, I understood (and probably expected it not getting turned in) -So is there a way to see who cleaned my car? Or if it’s currently being rented out and possibly reaching out to the new customer? She put me on hold again and this time it was for 12 minutes and then it hung up. As a customer, my mind shifted from “it’s my fault” to who took/stole my iphone car charger? I tried calling back and got voicemail. I tried a few more times and no luck, very frustrating. I mean, it’s not like they could call me back right? So the next step for me was to go social. I posted a negative review on Google Maps, along with a flurry of tweets and shares on Facebook to share my customer experience. All I got was generic replies saying upper management will be in touch (never did), and/or if we find we will be in touch. I don’t consider this real engagement, now if they called me back and explained the process of where the car goes after check-in and that they really exhausted all options looking I would have felt better, and realizing that it was my fault for leaving it. As I’m typing this post… I’m thinking how sad is it that items left behind aren’t returned usually or expected to be? It makes me not want to rent from them again unfortunately. This whole process reminds me of a book intro that was just shared from John Andrews and Ted Rubin called of all things… Retail Relevancy. Their upcoming book explores how brands and retailers can thrive in the future by being relevant in consumers minds which is now more important than ever. I think I’ll ship one to Enterprise when it’s out :-).

Okay enough doom and gloom, because I went social with my issues… the Belkincares Teamstarted reaching out to me. First, I received a mention on Twitter, (which included Enterprise) then a DM saying send me your address. THE NEXT DAY I had a new Road Rockstar Car Charger!! Also, they threw in some additional DuraTek™ Lightning to USB Cables. The level of trust and loyalty I have using Belkin’s products has never been higher because of their customer service and when it’s time to make another digital accessory purchase I won’t even shop around because of this connection I feel with this brand.

If retailers would actually roll their sleeves up and start taking social media seriously they have chance to evolve and survive the “retail apocalypse” and truly become retail relevant.Incorporate a team that truly listens to real conversations and requires a marketing strategy that rates SOV (share of voice) over Page One clicks from Google is a must. Just like food trucks, big corporations can scale 1-to-1 customer relationships like never before by using apps like Photofy, for in-the-moment content creation and Hootsuite for monitoring, listening, curating & posting. With a little extra effort Enterprise Car Rental could have built a relationship instead of wasting one.
100 Hours Makes Your Teen Road Ready

100 Hours Makes Your Teen Road Ready

Drivers Education sure has evolved since I took it back in the late 80’s. I’ve had the pleasure working with DriveTeam for a long time now, with my youngest just finishing up their teen program called “Performance Based Driver Education” The difference between DriveTeam and their competition is their customized curriculum that goes above and beyond state requirements. The secret sauce is holding the parents accountable in their teen’s training. DriveTeam requires the parent to spend 100 hours driving with your teen. Think about that for a second… 100 hours is a lot of driving.

At first, it was pretty overwhelming, but the DriveTeam Instructors broke the learning process down, and also let us ride through their private vehicle dynamics course the teens learn on. The program kicks off with a 2-Day Skills Weekend, and the teens get hands-on training on the driving range for nearly 14-16 hours. After the initial weekend, that’s where it’s the parents job to continue the momentum.

The way I mapped it out with Carter was creating a consistent driving schedule with him. At least one day during the week, and usually back-to-back driving days on the weekends. We would keep it to about 3 hours of driving, with stopping, stretching each hour. After the first couple of drives I could tell Carter’s driving skills advancing pretty quickly. We were hitting residential and rural roads mostly. One take away from these “100 hours”, it provides a time to sort of un-plug from both of your days normal schedules. So it was great just having conversations with your teen. A lot of the conversations were about driving, and driving scenarios, or providing instances when other drivers are not following the rules. Through this process, it made me aware on how distracted drivers really are now. I’ve never witnessed more cars swerving left of center in my life, which usually involves a smartphone in their hand.



City Streets & Downtown


When we were driving in residential areas we spent a lot of time focusing on turning left, right and controlling the car’s speed. We did a ton of backing in and out of driveways using mirrors and noticing where the blind spots are. Rural driving allowed Carter to work on good lane positions, sign comprehension, speed adjustments, and learning all these places in the country by our home town. For city streets, we would drive down to Akron, Ohio usually. Intersections, lane changes were the biggest adjustment I noticed Carter dealing with. With the environment speeding up around the car, it made his decision making that much more important. Proper spacing was another important factor when driving in the city, there was a lot of unpredictable changes with traffic so maintaining that 3 second spacing while moving was crucial. While driving on the highway, we worked on lane positions, signs, correct speed, and starting getting into mapping routes. The deeper we got into those 100 hours, we started to look forward exploring new areas every week.

The Phone

I know this can be a controversial topic with how distracting they can be, but I believe the phone can be an extension of the dashboard. As we started planning our routes, we used the driving app Waze, which is powered by Google Maps. When the app is open, it forces the teen driver to view the device as a map, not the social device it usually is. Waze provides insights from other drivers in real time, which reduces traffic, keeping people safe, and making roads better for travel. For the dashboard mount, we use the Belkin Car Mount Vent. It’s simple, secure, and clips right into the vent. I know some parents don’t want the phone anywhere near their teen, but my thought is to teach them how to leverage the technology to their advantage in the safest way possible.


While you’re on this epic driving journey with your teen, they also are doing their 6 in-car lessons with a DriveTeam Instructor. They want at least 10 hours of driving in between in-cars with your teen. The in-cars help parents out in terms of getting that feedback from DriveTeam regarding your teen’s driving strengths and weaknesses. It all comes full circle to that term “Performance Based”.

When we were getting into the “70s” hours of driving, I felt like I had my own Uber driver or something. The progress the teen makes with this much hands-on training is unmatched in the State of Ohio. Along with the skill level increasing, I noticed Carter’s overall confidence was increasing as well. DriveTeam uses specific words that connect the dots to safer driving. Knowledge, Skills, and Decision Making are three words I’ll never forget… In fact, if you apply those words to your everyday life, I think karma will be on your side more times than not.

As we concluded our 100 hours together, it really brought me peace of mind knowing how much work Carter put into his driver training, and I got to witness it hands-on. From all the driveways, side streets, highways, parking lots, city streets, to the country I know DriveTeam put Carter in the best position as he enters a new chapter into his life. Carter it was a pleasure riding shotgun with you all those hours 🙂

Carter is Road Ready.

WordCamp North Canton Presentations

WordCamp North Canton 2014

WordPress Security – Demystified
This presentation will cover current WordPress security issues and different types of attacks. Learn how to protect your website or blog from hackers that are constantly trying to compromise networks. I’ll be sharing our favorite security plugins along with real world security stories that involved some of the biggest hosting and security companies which led to a meeting with the FBI.
-> Download PDF

WordCamp North Canton 2013

Let’s Get Social
We will be covering how social media is becoming integrated into search engines, along with engagement strategies using Google+, Facebook, Linkedin, Twitter, Pinterest. Lastly we will discuss Return on Investment vs. Return on Relationship.
-> Download PDF

Social Search & Rescue Workshop

Thursday March 20th, 2014 – 7p-8:30p

Raymond James Financial Services, Inc. (Conference Room)
387 Medina Road, Suite 500
Medina, Ohio 44256

SSR Workshop #2 Agenda

  • Workshop Overview
  • Avalanche Media Works Keynote Covering Facebook for Business
  • Hands-On Workshop
  • Work with Attendee’s Profiles
  • Engagement Strategies
  • Close – Q & A

Cost: Free

Complimentary WI-FI… Please bring your laptop or tablet!

Only 10 Spots, Limited Seating Sign-up below!!

Event is Full


Facebook adds hash tags to their platform

Over the years, Facebook has borrowed a few notable features from Twitter, including adding verified accounts and introducing the options to mention other users with the “@” symbol and “follow” influencers. But on Wednesday, Facebook introduced a feature popular on Twitter that may have a much bigger impact on its revenue: hashtags.

Facebook adds hash tags

Facebook announced in a blog post Wednesday that it is rolling out a series of hashtag features in the coming weeks, including clickable hashtags — available today — and trending hashtags, which should be available soon. The move is billed as a way to “bring conversations more to the forefront,” but as with most features Facebook introduces these days, advertising revenue is certainly a big part of it.

For all their similarities as leaders in the social networking space, Facebook and Twitter have relied on two significantly different marketing pitches to date. Facebook’s strong suit its treasure trove of data, which advertisers can use to target users based on content shared on the site and sites they visit after leaving the social network. Twitter, on the other hand, has excelled at giving marketers a way to participate in real-time conversations. Continue ->

Article: Seth Fiegerman, Mashable