Daniel Tardy: License To Sell

Communication in the drive-through

Posted in Business, Selling by elephanthunters on June 9, 2010

picture of drive through speaker

The power of the guy with the headset

There are few things more affirming to me than the voice on the other end of the Starbucks drive-through speaker system.  When I place my order for a tall black eye, and the voice in the speaker repeats my order back to me, “that’s a tall black eye, coffee with 2 shots, right?”, all of the sudden I feel a sense of peace come over me.  I breathe a little easier knowing that they heard what I wanted, and that they’re in control.  I think this happens because our minds have been trained by poor drive-through service experiences to approach that speaker with a sense of trepidation.

I used to think I was the only one who dealt with this, but I’ve started to realize that almost everyone suffers from DTSAS (drive-through speaker abuse syndrome).  You can observe the symptoms of this condition by simply rolling down your window, and listening to the person in the car ahead of you placing their order.  You’ll notice someone suffering from this condition usually yells at the speaker the entire time they’re ordering.  They also talk slowly and over annunciate, often interjecting ‘did you get that!?’ every few seconds.

Here’s the quintessential expression used by DTSAS sufferers: “Can you read the whole thing back to me? I just want to make sure you got it”

Why do we do this?

We just told them what we wanted, and they process orders like this hundreds of times a day, right?  Why all the stress?  I think it’s because we crave validation.  It just takes one experience of asking headset guy to hold the pickles, and then biting into that juicy burger moments later, only to be struck with that undeniable vinegar ridden flavor to develop cynicism toward all drive-through speaker people on the planet.  Spending money is emotional, no matter how little the amount.  We want to feel good about our purchase; we want to be confident we’re getting what we paid for.  I love it when the guy with the headset just volunteers to read my order back to me.

What’s your validation process?

If our emotions go through this cycle in the drive-through, then how much more important is it for us to affirm our customers when they give us their money for OUR product or service?  I make sure each of our customers receive immediate confirmation of their purchase with a follow up email detailing the transaction, and an explanation of the next step so they can begin to shift their emotions from slightly nervous to extremely excited.  This is especially important when we’re selling tickets to an event – we have their money, but they don’t receive the product for several months.

I think validation is underrated.  We enjoy buying good products, but we want proof that we bought so we can start getting excited about it.  If the guy at the drive-through doesn’t read my order back to me, I’m not completely sure they won’t hand me an order for the car behind me.  When I ordered my iPad, I received an email update every 2 days regarding the status of my order – I loved it – and I told my friends about it every time I received an update.

If you have a product or service that ships later than the payment is processed, how do you validate your customers to keep them emotionally engaged in the transaction?


Why I took the survey.

Posted in Business by elephanthunters on June 29, 2009

Event organizers and business owners always want you to evaluate their event or service by asking you to fill out surveys or evaluation forms.

I never fill these out.  If I’ve paid you my money and you gave me a service then I don’t care if you know what I think about it unless I feel like letting you know my opinion will benefit me directly.  If it’s just going to benefit someone else so they can pay the same price that I did to receive better service than I did then I’m just not that interested.

I participated in an event this weekend and I plan to attend another event with the same organization in a few weeks but I’m not registered yet.  Today I received an email that said if I fill out a survey on this weekend’s event I would receive a significant discount on the next event that I’m considering attending.

I filled out the survey. I’m about to register for the next event, too.  Why?  Because it had monetary value to me.

Apparently this information is valuable to this organization.  They understand the value enough to offer an incentive in exchange for my time and opinion. Since they paid a price for the information you can bet someone on their staff will actually read and evaluate the data carefully instead of just glancing at it.

If my opinion matters to you then put your money where your mouth is and give me a reason to care about taking the time to share it with you.  This is the only way to get accurate & meaningful feedback from people who don’t usually take surveys.