I wrote this blog a few years ago but as we are in the throws of our busiest time of year, when opportunities to fail to deliver on our promises are at their peak, I thought a little blast from the past blog about customer service might be fitting. Enjoy:

Two of my favorite places to eat in the entire world are Victoria’s Pasta Shop on Campus Corner in Norman, and Meers Burgers in Meers, Oklahoma.  Both have amazing food… some of the best on the planet.  In fact, the MeersCheeseBurger was listed as the 3rd best cheeseburger in the nation by some food publication.  What’s interesting about these places is that their service typically ranges from mediocre to awful.  At both places, you have to wait too long for initial service, too long for the food and the wait staff is anything but friendly.  At Meers, there doesn’t even seem to be a rhyme or reason to who waits on what tables.  It’s like the waitstaff battles over who has to take you until someone finally gives in.

Why are these places successful?  One reason: their product is AMAZING.  Victoria’s serves the best Italian food I’ve ever had.  I’ve eaten Italian food in Little Italy in NYC, in Vegas, in Chicago, New Orleans… all over the United States.  And if I could go anywhere for Italian, I’m going to Campus Corner in Norman.  Their chicken lasagna is something I’d kill for.  People drive from all over the state (and country) for a burger at Meers.  And I have to admit that their burgers are truly stellar.  And at any given time during peak hours, there will be a line of people waiting to eat at each place. 

Is your product that strong?

Victoria’s and Meers Burgers don’t need great customer service.  Their product is why people keep coming back.  And because they have virtually no competition, they can get away with it.  Oklahoma Football falls into this category.  Marketing Sooner Football successfully involves one thing: providing seats.  As long as the product is good, people will show up. 

My assumption is that there are few of us who have this luxury.  Don’t get me wrong… Old Hat’s product is second-to-none.  I stand behind what we do 100%.  However, the 150+ sports organizations that utilize our services don’t do it for the product alone.  The Internet has made the world flat.  While Meers has no competitors anywhere close, the Internet has made it so that every design firm in the world is a potential competitor.  There are probably a thousand places that make Italian food just as good as Victoria’s.  Problem is, I can’t easily get to them.  With the services we provide, there are a lot of places that can provide a good product AND our clients can get to them just as easily as they can get to us.

We Flipped It

What Old Hat has done is flipped it.  Part of what we sell IS our customer service.  That’s why our clients return over and over again.  I wish I had a few thousand dollars for every client that has come to us and said, “We used to use XYZ Sports Marketing for this but their service was just terrible."  Oh wait, I DO have a few thousand dollars for every client that has done that.  I cannot count the number of clients we’ve gotten and kept just based on their desire to never work with our competitors again.

So is your product strong enough to make you successful without great customer service?  If so, congratulations.  I envy you.  But for the other 99% of us, our great products have to be combined with great customer service.  Always respond to calls.  Always return emails.  Always communicate.  Never miss deadlines.  Set the bar high and then jump over it.  That’s what Old Hat does.

 

*UPDATE*

Victoria's service has gotten much better since I posted this blog. In fact, they opened a second location and the service there has been nothing short of spectacular. Great service, great product... Sounds like Old Hat to me.

Meers, on the other hand, has gone the other direction since I posted this blog. The past few times I've been, the burger was nearly inedible. And their service still sucks. So I don't go there anymore.

Ever want to be the best around?! Of course you do! Well I'm here to tell you, you're on the right path. So get ready to get your "Wax On! Wax Off!" going!  Okay enough with the corny infomercial talk. 

Earlier this month, Yahoo! posted an article about 11 Websites That'll Teach You Awesome Skills For Free.  I found it to be one of the most useful articles I have read on their site.  I already had heard of Instructables.com and CodeAcedemy.com being the nerd that I am, but found some of the others pretty neat too.  Currently I am brushing up and improving on my high school Spanish using Duolingo.com's app.  I still sound like a redneck speaking it, but my vocabulary is building every day I use the app, which makes me happy.  So here is their list so you don't have to leave our awesome website to see it:

  1. Instructables.com: Learn how to DIY just about anything (seriously!) with instructions from hundreds of contributors offered up free of charge. DIY solar food dehydrator, anyone?
  2. Lifehacker.com/Night School: Hidden among the hacks on this uber-useful site are posted tagged “night school” where you’ll find freebie lessons on everything from how to build a computer to photography basics.
  3. Skillshare.com: Find out how to brew a perfect cup of coffee, pickle like a pro, knit, sew, and 100s of more skills. Cram your head full with the site’s complimentary 14-day trial, stat!
  4. JustinGuitar.com: Always dreamed of becoming a rock star? You won’t even have to busk to take advantage of this site’s 850+ gratis guitar lessons.
  5. Drawspace.com: Sharpen your drawing skills with lessons from pros. About 15% of Drawspace’s content is on the house.
  6. YogaMeditationAtHome.com: YOME is made up of 100% free online yoga videos that will get you saying ‘omm’ in seconds.
  7. Chesscademy.com: Become a chess master by watching videos, solving puzzles,  and playing games, all free of cost.
  8. GoHighBrow.com: Sign up for unpaid bite-size courses delivered to your inbox daily, aimed at expanding your knowledge on topics ranging from philosophy to Greek mythology.
  9. Spreeder.com: Quick: How fast can you read these words? Use this Spreeder’s completely free reading program to double, triple, even quadruple your reading speed.
  10. DuoLingo.com: Learn a new language from this site’s extensive costless online courses. Bonus: The ‘lessons’ are set up like games!
  11. Codecademy.com: Get yourself up to speed on the in-demand skill of coding—all without spending a dime.

That's a pretty awesome list, and am looking forward to checking some of the other ones out.  I'd like to end my blog here, but am not really a fan of just copying someone else's blog without adding a little something something to it. So here are some other sites worth noting, though not all of them are free:

  1. Lynda.com: Though this site is not free, it is one of the best places to learn some great skills in the digital digital age.  From Photoshop to Web and Mobile apps to 3D Animation, they are a great place to start.  They do offer a free trial.
  2. Pinterest.com: A go to site for Do-It-Yourself'ers this social media site has it all.  Just find a category and start searching.  Though some of the instructions may be vague, it can give you some great inspiration for your next project.
  3. Youtube.com: This is probably the number one go to place for finding out how to do stuff.  Want to know how to do something, there is probably a Youtube video for that.
  4. OldHatCreative.com: LOL! Okay! Okay! We may not really be a self-improvement site, but we sure would make you look smarter by choosing us to do your graphics and website. ;) 

Have a great day, everyone!

Recently, I've been transitioning into a client rep position here at Old Hat Creative. I blogged several weeks ago about a new website we launched for the University of Memphis' Time to Shine capital campaign, but today I want to highlight another client I have the opportunity to work with, Michigan Athletics! 

I grew up watching Michigan Football. My aunt lives about an hour away from Ann Arbor, so my dad watches Michigan Football every Saturday morning when he has the chance. A few years ago, I was forunate enough to visit the University of Michigan, as well as walk down the team tunnel and stand on the 50 yard line at the top of the block M at Michigan Stadium. 

Over the past month, our production experts have created a pretty unique collection of 2D and 3D animations for Michigan Football this season. They incorporated the brick wall and iron gates of Michigan Stadium to create a traditional look and feel. Scroll below to see these animations.

1. Rotating Block M 

2. Rotating 150th Anniversary Logo  

3. Match Up Animation  

4. Player Feature  

5. Michigan Wins 

6. Next Home Game  

7. Touchdown Crowd Prompt  

8. Make Some Noise Crowd Prompt 

9. Get Loud Crowd Prompt 

 

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