The simple recipe for unlimited customers


A masterclass in delivering a great customer experience from New Zealand.

Queenstown in New Zealand’s South Island is most famous for adventure sports. But, it’s not just the scenery and action that are pulling in the tourists - the burgers at Ferburger are legendary. As a visitor to Queenstown in February I had to see what the fuss was about.

Locally known as Ferg’s, the place has become a ‘must go’ - to the extent that the locals can’t get a look in. Certainly the burgers didn’t disappoint - but what I wasn’t expecting was a masterclass in delivering such a great customer experience.

There are several good reasons why the place is rammed with happy customers - and any business could benefit from some of these tips - courtesy of my friends at Fergburger…

Making customers feel special

From the moment we joined the queue the experience started. Expecting to wait some time, we were pleasantly surprised to have staff come out, say hello, thank us (yes, you read that right), and give us water and fries as we waited. Simple stuff but very welcome. 

"The staff has the philosophy that ‘Ferg loves you’ - we treat others the way they want to be treated, and I think that's really the key to our success," says Fergburger general manager Steve Bradley (interviewed by CNN).

How often is this simple point overlooked? Why is being a customer (or even trying to be one) often such an unrewarding experience? 

So don’t just think about what you are selling - think about how you are selling it.

Creating great employee engagement

The staff at Ferg’s clearly enjoy their work. It’s no doubt stressful at times and it’s always busy - but no one shows it. They work hard as a team and there’s is a sense of fun that’s infectious - adding to the experience.

Employers with highly engaged staff often report higher levels of productivity. Research by Harvard suggests highly engaged teams can operate up to 22% more productively - and it’s clearly good for customers too. 

Good employee engagement often comes down to culture and management style - and it can be the smallest things that count. Employees respond to feeling their views are being heard, a sense of togetherness and the simple recognition that can often be achieved by just saying ‘thank you’ - none of which cost anything.

No compromise on quality - no matter how great the demand

Make no mistake - the queues wouldn’t be there if the product didn’t cut the mustard - if you’ll excuse the pun. After nearly 15 years they still produce burgers of the highest calibre and, despite the huge demand - there’s clearly been no let up on quality.

What’s more, Ferg’s have created some memorable names - there’s the ‘Holier than thou’ for veggies, ‘Sweet Bambi’ - yes, you guessed it - that’s deer and even a Bun Laden… I just about coped with a ‘Mr Big Stuff’ - a 1/2 pound of prime New Zealand beef.

Have a look yourself…http://www.fergburger.com/fullscreen.html

There are two lessons here - don’t compromise on quality no matter how successful you become  and always try to be creative and innovative in product development - particularly if it adds to the customer experience.

All of which leads to… the Holy Grail of marketing…

The power of reputation and customer advocacy 

Ferg’s have got these things right and the customers keep on coming - and sharing their experiences. We saw photos being taken and uploaded to Instagram and Facebook in seconds. There are many travel blogs about Fergburger and pretty much everyone is ‘pre-sold’ to visit before they even arrive in Queenstown.

Have Ferg’s paid for this publicity? Apparently they’ve never employed anyone in marketing. It’s the power of the reputation they’ve created - shared in an instant by the happy customers they’ve so generously fed moments before.

Whether you are serving burgers or something more complex, it’s a simple recipe for success. Make your customers feel special, create great employee engagement, don’t compromise on quality, be innovative - and watch the queues form.


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