Arby’s Apple Crisp: A lesson for small business

There’s nothing worse than biting into a shiny, crisp red apple only to find it’s rotten on the inside. Imagine how customers feel when they get let down by big business promises!

So today my extra tasty small business slice is focused on those bad apple businesses, and how you can nab a piece of their pie.

Click to tweet this: Big business epic fails open up big opportunities for small businesses. @DaveCrenshaw

I often tell my small business coaching clients to not copy the marketing tactics of big businesses.

For instance, recently Arby’s was advertising a product called the Apple Crisp. It looked delicious so I ordered it. But once I actually dug in to the Apple Crisp, I found out it was neither apple nor crisp. In fact, I dissected this product and found that the majority of it was sponge cake.

This is an example of how you as a small business owner can capture market share from big businesses. What it takes is reviewing the products and services that you sell and making sure that you’re delivering on your promises–No, that you’re even exceeding those promises.

So I would like you to share in the comment section below one area in which you’re exceeding customer expectations in a product or service that you sell. Please share that below.

And also, if you’ve got any questions you’d like me to answer in a future video, ask that below as well.

Thanks for watching. Now go do something to surprise your customers today.

Join the conversation: Share one area in which you are exceeding customer expectations in a product or service that you sell.

I respond to every question and comment. So, please, join the conversation!

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18 Archived Responses to “Arby’s Apple Crisp: A lesson for small business”

  1. I exceed in service with my customers when i work with their cctv to give them such great service that i do not have comebacks. One customer i had for nearly 3 years now i installed 42 cctv cameras and up to date only had to replace 2 cause of lightning damage.

    • Dave Crenshaw says:

      Great example, Johan! I hope you’re getting testimonials from every one of your customers. Since reliability is something you do best, perhaps you can have a system that reminds you to ask for testimonials 1 year AFTER service. Then you can show that people are satisfied with your work long after the service was given.

  2. If you can do something that customer would like – why not advertise it up front?
    And if you do advertise it up front – then you cannot exceed it, right?

    • Dave Crenshaw says:

      Dennis, your comments have a pattern of being both very clever and very adversarial. Is stirring the pot and creating argument the way to you best learn? If so, then, respectfully, I’m not the guy for you.

      I’m speaking to people who are looking to take some decisive action, rather than debate endlessly. Entrepreneurship is not debate, it is action. Everything I share is for action’s sake, not argument’s sake. These are 90 second videos with quick actionable tips, not detailed dissertations.

      So, I’ll respond to your question with a question: “What is one positive action you can take away from this video and implement in your business this week?”

      • Dave Crenshaw says:

        Also, the answer is: insert one word, “normal”. Exceed “the normal” customer expectations. Advertising what you’re amazing at doesn’t change expectations, it draws attention. As long at you’re exceeding the expectations your customer has because of past experience, then yes, go ahead and advertise it. You’re still exceptional compared to everyone else.

        …but I’d still hold something back for the surprise factor, too. 🙂

        • That’s a good point about lag between advertising and customer expectations.

          Though I still do not see the reason to intentionally create surprise factor.

          I, personally, do not like surprises.

          Occasionally my business partners (or employers in the past) surprised me with gifts: chocolate bars, cookies, mags, t-shorts, pens.
          I do not really appreciate it.
          Surprise usually means that I am getting not what I need (because if I need it I would explicitly ask for it).
          And getting not what I need simply drains my time and attention.

          Am I very different from other customers in that way?
          Could it be that surprise strategy you describe is good in B2C, but is less relevant in B2B?

          • Dave Crenshaw says:

            It all depends on what your Most Valuable Customer wants or doesn’t want. One of the biggest mistakes entrepreneurs make when it comes to customer loyalty is assuming people are like themselves. They aren’t. Entrepreneurs are rare and unusual. You’re a freak of nature.

            Truth is, most every one likes to be pleasantly surprised. Even in B2B.

            P.S. I’m still waiting for an answer to my first question. “What is one positive action you can take away from this video and implement in your business this week?”

  3. Gabe G. says:

    What a subject line, Dave. Definitely made me open it up and watch the video.

    • Dave Crenshaw says:

      Heh, thanks Gabe! Writing email subject lines is an art unto itself, something I’m not sure I’ve mastered yet. So I greatly appreciate the vote of confidence.

  4. Yes, my comments are adversarial. Adversarial in the sense of how lawyers are adversarial to each other in a court room, but not in the sense of hostile action.
    The main reason for adversarial comments is to learn better.
    There are multiple opposing motivations in decision making. It’s important to understand all key contributors into business decision in order to correctly balance them.

    I have no doubt that your suggestion of exceeding customer expectations would yield good results … if implemented right. But it is easy to overdo it (e.g. by stopping advertising key services).

    Our little discussion helped to clarify what you actually meant. You clearly do not recommend us to stop advertising. Quite the opposite: you want us to reduce the gap between customers’ expectations and actual delivery (“Share one area in which you are exceeding customer expectations”).

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  6. Angy Ford says:

    Big businesses never do a personal call to just check in. We do, I think this semi annual call helps our customers feel more connected and appreciated.

    • Dave Crenshaw says:

      Great insight and perfect example, Angy. This is the idea: look for what big businesses AREN’T doing, then you do it. Instant competitive advantage!

  7. What frequently surprises PostJobFree users is a quick reply to their questions or requests.
    There are two main reasons why I try to reply quickly:
    1) Help user.
    2) Learn myself about problems users experience and find ways to fix these problems in such a way that next time users would not even have to ask.