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Getting Practical: Building Trust From Customers

Last week USA Today reported that shopping malls across the country are cracking down on teenagers in their malls. As a response to fights and "clogged hallways" malls have curfews and escort policies that require teens to be accompanied by their parents.

There's a trust breaker. I'm sure that teens everywhere can't wait to be seen at the mall with their parents.

Beyond being bad for sales from the teens, these teen targeted unfriendly policies teach an entire generation of future adults that the mall is NOT the place for them to shop. If you alienate them at 17 how hard do you think it will be to get them through your door at 21?

Creative Graphic Management(CGM) a Chicago based printing and promotional goods company points to a great idea:

If you want to tap into this large disposable income segment, you could create a teen board to act as a focus group whether you run a mall or any entity that desires business from teens. By giving a group of teens a vested interest and a voice, it could also go a long way toward self policing and taking care of property.

But remember, teens are just as crunched for time as everyone else, so make the time they invest in your board worth their while. When they come in for focus group activities or volunteer at mall events, give them logoed merchandise as thank-you gifts. Create a cool logo for the board so the teens will be proud of being on it and want to use or wear logoed merchandise. (Let them decide between several choices what they think is cool.)

By teaching teens to trust and understand the interests of a Mall operator from the inside as part of a Teen Advisory Board you not only keep them engaged as a teen shopper but you build lasting trust and loyalty as the teen becomes an adult. With teens of course we're talking about more than just one individual we're talking about their entire social network.

Can you identify a "Trust Buster" in your own business and think of ways to turn them around?

September 23, 2004 in Award winning publications, Blog Outsourcing, Brand enhancement, build credibility, Building Customer Community, Business newsletter, Current Affairs | Permalink


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There are several problems with this ... First, the teens targeted are not bringing in large amounts of disposable income, and in fact DO have lots of time on their hands.

Unfortunately this is just another case of society at large having to deal with parent's lack of initiative to raise responsible children. Teens who were actually at the mall SHOPPING and stimulating the economy would be very welcome by the stores.

Posted by: larry | Sep 23, 2004 3:23:34 PM

I don't know...Larry raises an interesting point, but in my experience, as co-owner of a teen- and kid-frequented comic book store, I think that the suggestions outlined by Creative Graphic Management are definitely workable. People (teens and kids included) respond better to trust than they do to mistrust. Of course, it's necessary to lay down some firm ground rules, but with (the majority of) teens, showing them respect goes a long way. You have to give someone responsibilities to allow them to be responsible. We even have some of them passing out fliers and doing gaming demonstrations for us. And they bring in their friends, who bring in their friends...

Posted by: Sarah | Sep 24, 2004 11:37:18 AM