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Completing the Service

July 29, 2014

Bats Game

A couple weeks ago; I enjoyed a perfect summer evening at Louisville Slugger Field – one of the best ballparks in the entire sport. There was a good crowd (always helps when you go with friends) and though we lost; there were plenty of hits, runs, homers, as well as some errors to keep the game interesting.

While the sun was setting; I contemplated this experience from a business perspective. Unless they sell-out every home game; it is unlikely that they will make any profit off ticket sales alone. They count on revenue from concession stands to keep the team and field in working condition. I suppose we don’t seem to mind paying $6.00 for a drink or hot dog (something that we can get at home, or at a gas station for $2.00 or less) because it is engrained into our memories.

As we all sung the classic “Take Me Out To The Ball Game” during the seventh inning stretch; it really hit me how much ‘peanuts and Cracker-Jacks’ are part of the entire baseball experience. In order to be published in 1908, it must have been popular enough for Jack Norworth to put it in his lyrics.

Because we expect this as part of the experience, we don’t look at it as merely an upsell. We can either select to have the full experience, or just a partial one.

One of the first times I set out to make a major purchase in my life; I was disappointed by the incompleteness of the service. I was 14 and I had saved my lawn mowing money to purchase the new Sony Discman. Before heading to the store, I selected the CD that would inaugurate the device and intended to rock out the entire trip of errands my mother scheduled while she was out with me.

We were already in the car and running late to pick up my sister when I discovered that batteries didn’t come with the player. On top of sulking the rest of the trip in defeated silence; I had to walk several blocks to the drugstore (carrying my brand-new, but useless purchase) to buy batteries just so I could listen to it on the walk back home. Weeks later, I also replaced the cheap headphones that were supplied. The experience would have been so much better if it was offered in its complete form!

This memory has stuck with me for over 2 decades. As a result; I often make the easy choice when a complete service is suggested – “Such-and-such entrée pairs particularly well with the wine you ordered” gets me every time!

Call it a clever ‘upsell’ if you want; I recognize it as good marketing when it is done responsibly.

Take a queue from Amazon.com and start recommending relevant accessories or peripheral items to your customers. Whether it is a bottle of leather cleaner or conditioner for those new boots; or a technical training/orientation workshop for the new software system; offering it as a package will help you stand out as an informed professional who is looking out for their best interests. In the case of Amazon.com, their “customers who bought this also bought…” program accounts for nearly 30% of their revenue. The best part about it is that the customer wins by getting everything they want.

What items can you package together that comprise a complete service to your customers?

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