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Mulberry’s Market launches “The Sando Line,” powered by Ooma Office

By Mike Langberg|Friday July 17, 2020

Mulberry’s Market, a family owned specialty food store in Piedmont, California, thrives on face-to-face relationships with customers in a downtown location where there’s usually plenty of foot traffic from a school and other nearby stores.

Laura Pochop, co-owner of Mulberry’s Market, says customers would line up at the deli counter during lunch hours to order sandwiches named after “hometown heroes,” such as “The Coach Roy” (turkey, bacon, avocado, jack cheese, lettuce, tomato and mayonnaise on a chewy sourdough roll) or “The Tess” (oversized meatballs smothered in house made marinara, provolone and parmesan cheese baked on a sweet French roll).

Mulberry’s Market employee Ivonne Escobar in the back office

The sudden arrival of Covid-19 in March threatened to wipe out the market’s sandwich business, because people were no longer allowed to congregate in the store while waiting to order or pick up their lunches.

Fortunately, Pochop had switched to Ooma Office in September 2018 and had the flexibility to quickly adapt.

“So, COVID-19 end-of-the-world times aside, we’ve never been all that great at answering our phone,” the market said in an email to customers on March 25. “Truthfully, we’re terrible at it. However, during the current health crisis, we’d like to provide a reliable option to order sandwiches or other deli items at lunchtime without having to linger in the store and risk life and limb.

“We’d therefore like to introduce The Sando Line. . . Between 11 am and 2 pm every day, we promise someone will actually answer it and you can order sandwiches to be picked up at the register in a bag with your name on it.”

Pochop used Ooma Office’s Virtual Receptionist feature to instruct customers to “press 2” to reach The Sando Line. The calls were answered in Pochop’s home by her three high school and college-age children, using the Ooma Office mobile app on their smart phones. Orders were then sent to iPads at the Mulberry Market deli counter.

The Sando Line kept humming for three months, feeding hungry customers and providing work for the market’s 20 employees. Pochop’s children even took orders one day on the Bay Bridge, which connects Oakland to San Francisco, when the family was heading out for a trip to the beach.

Now replaced by an online ordering system, Pochop says The Sando Line “was a very important bridge for us.”

Another benefit, Pochop adds, is that she and her team learned more about the robust features in Ooma Office, “which will help us problem solve in the future.”

There may never be a sandwich called “The Ooma” on the menu at Mulberry’s Market, but we’re glad to have helped in a small way to keep a lunch-time tradition alive in Piedmont.

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Loyal customers are critical to business success because they tend to be a source of repeat business. According to The Loyalty Report 2018, “Loyalty programs that establish positive emotional connections with Members see 27% more of their Membership increasing their spend with the Brand.” This research tells us that building customer loyalty can lead to more spending.

Loyalty programs vs. improving customer experience: Designing your approach

There are different approaches to building customer loyalty. Some companies use loyalty program cards, bonus offers and other incentives. You might offer access to special deals like CVS or take 5% off the purchase price like Target. You might even give some or part of your product away for free, like airlines that provide free flights through their loyalty programs. What if your small business isn’t interested or able to offer these kinds of loyalty programs?

There is another way to encourage loyal customers to keep giving you repeat business. Gather customer feedback through a phone survey and then use that data to improve the customer experience. When customers see that the business owner has acted on their feedback, they may feel inspired to return to that business. That means more revenue for the bottom line. You just need a fast and straightforward way to conduct a customer satisfaction survey. That’s where a focused business phone survey comes in.

Why increasing customer loyalty with a phone survey is a good choice.

Organizing a customer satisfaction survey by phone offers notable advantages compared to other methods. While a net promoter survey can give you interesting data, there is no conversational element involved. Further, using the net promoter survey approach effectively requires a certain degree of specialized training in the net promoter methodology.

You might also consider online customer surveys. Surveying your email list or website is worth attempting. Depending on the size of your email list or website traffic, you might be able to get a large number of survey responses. The challenge with online customer surveys is that you will have to spend a lot of time reviewing the data to find insights. There is no way to ask a customer to clarify their survey responses or provide an example.

Conducting a customer satisfaction survey by phone gives you the best of both worlds. You can ask questions and get survey responses. However, you also have the opportunity to provide the human touch. For instance, you may hear a customer complain about a lost or delayed order. When you hear about a problem during a phone survey, you can gather all the necessary details to make the situation right with the customer.

How to increase customer loyalty with a phone survey step by step.

The following steps give you a starting point to create a simple customer satisfaction survey. Over the course of a month, you could gather a significant amount of insights to improve your customer service by calling five to 10 customers per day.

  1. Define your customer satisfaction survey goals.

Before calling a single customer, reflect on your business goals. Are you seeking to improve your profit margins? In that case, you may want to focus your survey on the customers that spend the most on your business. Finding ways to make high-spending customers content may give you an excellent return. Alternatively, you may decide to focus your survey project on whether your local SEO has attracted customers. 

  1. Write your customer satisfaction survey questions.

Now that you have clarity on your goals, it is time to write your questions. According to Survey Monkey, a survey software company, it is best to focus your survey on closed-ended questions. An example of a closed-ended question would be: “How many times have you bought from our business in the past 12 months?” However, this kind of question may not give you the ideas you need to improve the customer experience.

At the end of the survey, consider asking one or two open-ended questions to understand better what your customers like. Encourage customers to think creatively with a question like this: “If you could change anything in our business, what would you improve?”

Tip: Reduce your need for note-taking by using call recording, but make sure that you ask for permission first.

  1. Test the survey with a small group of customers.

With your list of customer satisfaction questions, make a few test phone calls to customers. The purpose of the test is to discover if any of the questions are unclear. If you receive confusing answers, revise the question to make them clearer.

  1. Train employees on how to gather survey responses.

Consider running a few training phone calls for your employees. Ask them to call you or other employees in a role-playing scenario. Making a few practice calls will help your employees become more familiar with the questions. Besides, practice phone surveys will help employees learn how to record survey responses accurately. Once the training is complete, give your staff a list of customers to call and let them get started.

  1. Review the survey responses for insights and follow up with customers.

After all of the survey responses are in, schedule time to review the results. In particular, look for patterns in the results. If a large number of people gave low scores to your website, you may need to make improvements. Also, review the survey responses received in the open-ended questions. You might be pleasantly surprised at what customers tell you.

  1. Follow up with customers after the survey when needed.

A phone survey lets you gather rich insights because you can quickly ask follow-up questions. However, merely gathering survey responses may not impress your customers very much. Instead, offer to refer problems to the business owner for improvement or offer to enter the respondent in a drawing for a gift card. That is a much more compelling improvement! By addressing problems and issues when they arise, you stand a much better chance of winning additional loyal customers.