It’s rare that retailers ever talk about or report statistics on repeat customers. Stats are publicized on store over store results, year-by-year. But, that’s it. If you google repeat business, a Bain & Co. study from 2000 pops-up. Yes, the most recent study appears to be 18 years old. That study found that increasing customer retention rates by 5% raises profits by 25 to 95%. Just with that one piece of information, retailers are missing an opportunity. I tell retailers to focus on how to get even one customer to purchase again. Then expand that and if a retailer can get 10% of their clientele to purchase two or three times during a year, think of the significant impact on revenues and profitability.
Retailers confuse customer loyalty with repeat business. Yes, loyalty and repeat business both go to same “church,” but are not in the same “pew.” A customer can be loyal to multiple brands at once. The key is to increase market share from your existing customers and turn one-time shoppers into repeat customers. I have heard from many retailers individually that when a customer purchases a second time, it can be as much as 40% more than the first transaction. Again, don’t make the mistake of confusing loyalty with repeat customers. Loyalty is just one step in the process to guarantee a long-term customer.
Recently, Macy’s reported a statistic that had not been issued before. The number was that 46% of Macy’s revenues ($24.86 Billion) come from 9% of their customers. That’s an interesting stat. While the number doesn’t exactly fit into the typical 80/20 rule where many b-to-b companies report that 80% of their revenues come from 20% of their largest customers, it’s close. In the retail market, certainly worth noting. I can guarantee that the 9% are not customers making a single purchase but are repeat shoppers. I’m also extremely confident that these customers are not being served by random Macy’s associates, but by their favorite salesperson.
My wife and I live in Manhattan, not far from Macy’s on 34th Street, the world’s largest department store. We rarely shop there, but when a friend gave us a Macy’s gift card at Christmas and we needed some new pillows, we decided to visit Macy’s bedding and bath department. So, on a freezing cold morning in December, we met a sales associate on the sixth floor named Rochelle, who greeted us not only with a big smile but also like we were old friends. “I’m glad you’re inside where it’s warm. You must have something special in mind. How can I help?”
We came for pillows and left with more. It was all because of Rochelle. She was eager to help and knew her stuff so well that she was extremely helpful. She gave us her e-mail address and said we could reach her anytime with questions. When we said our good-byes, we did leave as friends. We hadn’t been to Macy’s in years but knew we would shop there again. And, we did. Over the next two years, we purchased numerous items from Macy’s because of Rochelle. Rochelle turned us from a rarely-Macy’s shopper to a repeat customer.
The strongest bond is between two people – one consumer and one store associate. Focusing on how to generate a larger percentage of repeat customers, one-by-one, will provide higher revenues, profits, referrals and most likely happier store associates.
The term, Customer Loyalty,is passé. Developing a strategy to generate repeat customers is, once again, worth repeating.
Retailers can learn important lessons from studying kiranas, mom-and-pop stores in India. In our present day quest to design the most efficient and enticing shopping experience, complete with the latest technology, retailers miss what is really essential. Kiranas are small spaces, packed to the brim with merchandise. Catering to a neighborhood population, the kirana offers personalized service which the larger stores either can’t or don’t want to supply. Of course, as a thought leader in the customer service arena, that caught my attention. With a population of 1.3 Billion, 90% of India’s retail market is controlled by the mom and pop stores. 90%!
Amazon and Walmart are investing heavily in India according to a May 2018 article in The Wall Street Journal, Retail Goliaths Meet Their Match in India. While significant parts of the article were about cost structure, the authors stressed how personal relationships have proved to be a strong competitive advantage. Even though kiranas pay more in wholesale prices than the global behemoths like Walmart, the other costs for rent, labor and operational expenses are low. Quotes from customers peppered throughout the piece about the great customer service were compelling.
Every day I read magazines, periodicals and on the Internet that retailers feel the need to use experiences as a way to attract and keep customers. Miami just granted approval to build the biggest and most expensive mall in the world, according to a Canadian developer, Triple Five Worldwide Group of Companies. It will be called American Dream Miami. The complex will include 2000 hotel rooms, an indoor ski slope, ice-climbing wall and water park with a lake where guests enter a plexiglass submarine and dive underwater. What I don’t read about – everis how developing a personal relationship between an associate and a customer can add a competitive advantage. One of the owners of a kirana was asked why he is so successful. His response, “he keeps no inventory, he recognizes his customers by voice over the phone, and his deliveries arrive within 30 minutes because his delivery boys know where all his customers live.”
Can we compare a typical large retailer to a kirana? Is that fair? In my opinion, yes. Walmart and Amazon are giants in the industry and can’t compete with kiranas. It’s not about price or technology. One of the quotes from a kirana customer, “We have a personal relationship with our man at the kirana; the owner even knows my name. We can call and ask for one box of matches or four eggs and they come running.”
Of course, a retailer in the US or anywhere else in the world could not hope to match the cost structure of kiranas in India. However, the personalized service can be replicated. Perhaps a single item delivered in a moment’s notice might not be possible, but the spirit of overall service delivery can be duplicated. Retailers should think of their brick and mortar establishment as a coffee shop and associates can be trained to get to know their customers by name and know their preferences. People love to go to their favorite coffee shop where the associate behind the counter recognizes them immediately, says good morning, using their name, and asks about the family. And, if the customer is absent for a few days, that is noted too and the next time the customer stops in, the associate makes sure to ask how everything is.
Competition is the name of the game. You don’t know who or what the next competitor will be – just ask the limousine and music and photography industries. If one of the reasons that Walmart and Amazon can’t compete in India is because building personal relationships is not integral to their business model, it’s a strong argument for your business to rethink how personal relationships can become your mantra and clear competitive advantage.
There is no doubt that successful retailers in the future will heed the model; Think Personal! I would advise retailers to not only Think Personal but Act Fast before it’s too late. Don’t build fancy walls, build lasting personal relationships.
Self-service brick & mortar stores don’t make sense. Removing the human component from the transaction results in just an exchange of goods and services for money, devoid of any connection. Customers want a human touch, even if they don’t know it. Once it happens, the customer looks forward to a repeat performance. The associates make a difference and without them, you leave your customer vulnerable to the competition. Every company should think twice about self-service – it is rent being paid for no good reason. Better to put more dollars into an e-commerce site and closing the physical locations.
The other day I was invited to a new retailing concept – a pop-up store filled with digital displays, iPad’s and various electronic shelving. If a customer wanted to know where a handbag was made, it could be picked up from the electronic shelf and all the detailed product information appeared. My host thought it was cool; I wasn’t impressed. There were also digital displays where a customer could type in a question. I wanted ask, “Why aren’t there any sales people in the store?” but decided not to be rude.
We often hear the phrase, “I’m not sure what they were thinking.” The “they” in this instance are retailers. Retailers should learn lessons from e-commerce. Most e-commerce sites are completely devoid of person to person interaction. A customer is viewing one company’s site, looking at a great sweater and in seconds a pop-up screen appears with a similar sweater for a lower price. The customer hits the pop-up and it takes you to yet to another business; a lost opportunity for either generating a first time or repeat customer.
Back to the physical store. If you are going to have a physical store, fill it with associates who can create and build customer relationships. Associates who are properly trained and want to help and serve customers. Research has shown that customers who are “repeat customers” spend significantly more the second time than the first and that makes logical sense. And I know from research that the biggest driver of a customer coming back, a repeat customer, is to have the same person who helped them the first time, help them again. That’s a connection and it’s not self-serve.
The check out in any store is important. Safe to say I’m not a big fan of self-service check-out stations since most of the time they don’t work well and it’s awkward to fill the small sized bags with big items and have the system register the price correctly. How many times do you have to get help with the key to reset the machine. Whenever there is a call for the key, you know that’s an extra 5 minute wait. My local CVS replaced some of the cashiers with self-service stations. My first thought – penny-wise and pound foolish. But, to my delight, most of the cashiers were placed in the aisles to help customers find what they were looking for. The other day, at least 3 people asked to help me and one went into the storage room to try and find an item I wanted. That was a good business decision; associates were not removed just repositioned to better serve customers.
In this climate of start-ups, global economies and big players as Amazon, your business is under attack every day. Making your brick & mortar stores devoid of human associates will quickly make it devoid of human customers.
Every time I go to a trade show, I get a bad feeling. There are a thousand booths and each one is exhibiting “the most innovative technology” focusing on improving the customer experience. Early on, Jeff Bezos, Amazon’s CEO and founder, brought an empty chair into his meetings so leadership teams were forced to think about the crucial, missing element who wasn’t in the room – the all-important customer. Companies are setting themselves up for failure unless they leave space at the table for humans, both the customer and the associates, and acknowledge the emotional and connective component that is mandatory in order to create that unique and memorable customer experience.
Too many technology companies are looking at the customer experience as a mechanical solution. The buying experience is not in a vacuum – there is a human element. At some point, like in the Wizard of Oz, the curtain will be pulled, and companies will quickly realize that focusing solely on technological improvements is not the most effective path to reach their goals of generating increased sales and profitability.
Companies in various industries seem to be chasing the next shiny object. I’m a strong believer in technology – there have been major advancements – when the technology enhances the customer experience and it’s coupled with a human component. Look at the major issue with e-commerce. To the average consumer, one site looks another. Basically, the customer’s eyes are focused on the product and the price. When a customer is looking a one site, another screen pops up with the similar product at a lower cost. Retailers are spinning their wheels trying to retain their customers and are spending a fortune acquiring new accounts. Too many e-commerce transactions are one and done. Very few companies make money when a customer doesn’t buy again.
My mantra is the strongest bond is between two people,not between a brand and a customer. I personally have switched from one brand to another in a flash. There are some exceptions, like Amazon and Apple, technology driven companies, and long-established household brands; Coca-Cola, Budweiser and Tide. But the typical company must develop an underlying strategy incorporating the human component with an ultimate goal of creating a one-to-one relationship between the customer and either one person at the company or a small team.
Consumer driven companies can learn from B2B enterprises. It would be foolish for any company selling to another business not to have a dedicated person or team handle new accounts. It would also be heresy not to have an established on-boarding system to ensure a smooth start with new customers. Companies that sell directly to consumers need to think of ways of establishing a closer one-to-one relationship. It isn’t that complicated. It could be a cashier at a grocery store, the concierge at a hotel, the teller at the bank, etc. Recently I heard a presentation from a major wireless company that plans to set up small customer service teams to handle accounts in the same geographic area. What a great idea! If you have wireless service and live in New Jersey, the representative will know about the Jersey Shore. Simple and direct, an automatic connection.
Another company I heard speak was Sweetwater Sound, one of the largest dealers in musical equipment for musicians, recording studios, schools, churches, concert sound companies and broadcasters. Sweetwater assigns a company representative to every new account and that person becomes their engineering representative for life. It works and makes good dollars and sense. The other day I had lunch with one of my nephews who started working for a production events company. I asked him if he ever heard about Sweetwater. His response, I have my own personal representative, Sam. Who wouldn’t love this company and its personalized service.
When someone pushes back and says there is no way to scale personalized service, I say go buy your latest technological toy for your company and see how long your competitive advantage might last. It will probably keep your company in a competitive mode measured in months, not years.
You can easily fill your empty chair at the table with a piece of technology. But, inviting a human to sit with you at the table with make customers more loyal and loyal customers are the best antidote to the next technology gadget in the room.
It finally happened! It could be a watershed moment for retailers, but more importantly for the consumer. How so? The old adage, measure twice, cut once. Consumers can be more thoughtful and precise about how they order and how much. Amazon’s return policies allowed customers to make returns hassle-free. Now they are internally reviewing this process and cancelling accounts of customers who they say abuse the Amazon return policies. The Wall Street Journal was one of the first periodicals to uncover this policy. While the article didn’t publish any details about Amazon’s return policy nor obtain the percentages of customer “deletions,” I say it’s a good thing for brick & mortar retailers, especially those in the apparel business.
I consider myself a powerful advocate for consumer rights. I think every company should have an empty chair at the table (ironically, it’s Jeff Bezos’ standard operating procedure). But consumers have taken advantage of online retailers.
I’m not sure that easy returns make total sense. For the company selling the product, those easy returns frequently equate to zero or no profit. A couple of years ago, I wrote a blog about Macy’s return policy. It didn’t make sense. Customers could return almost anything without an end date. Macy’s recently changed their return policy to 180 days for most items which is probably still too liberal. I think companies should have a 60 day return policy; a fair amount of time in my opinion. Associates should be empowered to make exceptions, when necessary, after listening to the customer.
According to Instinet analysis led by Simeon Siegal, Amazon.com Inc. may already be the largest apparel retailer and could still grow to sales between $45 billion and $85 billion by fiscal 2020,
While I feel that Amazon’s new (recently disclosed) policy of monitoring returns needs to be carefully executed and fine-tuned instead of just closing a customer’s account with no explanation – that is not customer friendly – it was bound to happen. I know there are always consumers who will take major advantage of company’s policies and a negligible percent who border on criminal intent (only kidding). But, e-commerce companies, especially the giants such as Amazon and Walmart have most definitely encouraged customers to purchase more than they need.
It was a self-fulfilling prophecy. As Amazon sells more apparel than even Macy’s, it needs to rein in the propensity for consumers to be careless shoppers. The good news is that brick & mortar stores can go back to providing the best avenue for consumers to touch, feel and try on outfits before ever taking out their credit card. An added bonus and equally as important, a sales associate can assist the customer from beginning to end and provide a motive for that customer to return and shop again.
Do you think consumer abuse e-commerce return policies?
We all have to eat. Where we buy our groceries is a matter of choice and there are many. However, even with the option of the digital marketplace, Americans shop at the physical grocery store and spend a good portion of their budget there. According to a Wall Street Journal article by Heather Haddon, on April 11th, Kroger, one of the largest supermarket chains in the country, is bulking up their staffing. Their goal is to hire an additional 11,000 people and put more workers in the store, focusing on the customer, instead of adding staff to their Cincinnati headquarters.
What a concept! I agree. As easy as it might be to order online and have groceries delivered, people enjoy the shopping experience, most especially when buying perishable items. There is something to be said for examining the tomato that will be part of your salad or the chicken you will roast for dinner. Employees to answer your questions and assist and keep the shelves stocked are a necessity.
Kroger is going in the right direction. Hiring more cashiers, produce clerks, and workers for online pick-up service is step one. Then there should be step two. Training hires to provide exceptional customer service must be part of the protocol. Stock clerks, cashiers, managers, and workers for online grocery-pickup operation should be taught how to welcome every customer in the store and how to effectively help them. Just hiring more staff is not enough but certainly be a differentiator when everyone is on the same wavelength about the value of customer service. In a 2017 blog I wrote…
Grocery stores, which by their very nature require customers to visit frequently, have the greatest opportunity to use the human interaction to their advantage to create and build customer loyalty. When customers interact with an associate who knows their name, buying preferences, kid’s schools, etc. they won’t be as tempted to drive to a competitor who offers the fastest and most reliable self-service check-out. While I can’t guarantee that the most personable cashier is going to stop online purchasing or trying a new store in town, I know that if your business doesn’t start with the human-connection and work backwards, there will be significantly less repeat business.
Kroger has a long history, founded in Cincinnati in 1883. As stated, it is the largest supermarket chain in the US and the second largest retailer behind Walmart. Kroger was the first to install electric scanners in the 1970s and established formalized customer research to get feedback from the customers in order to create a more positive shopping experience. In a Barron’s article on May 12thof this year, Credit Suisse analysis has rated the company to outperform. Their reasoning is that even though Kroger prices are slightly higher, the store offers better service, better produce, and a large assortment of items. Kroger’s ClickList, a click and collect online service, scored higher in customer satisfaction than other delivery services, including Amazon and Peapod.
So, as a customer experience thought leader, I say bravo to the leadership at Kroger. If Kroger can create a good experience for the customer and have enough staff and the right staff to service the individual, then people will keep coming back for more.
Today we are excited to share with you a guest blog from Jeff Toister.
Experienced customer service managers give it two weeks.
That’s the maximum amount of time you see employees increase their effort and service focus immediately after the typical customer service training class. However, it is often much less.
Most employees have good intentions. Usually, the training just doesn’t stick or it’s not powerful enough to override ingrained habits. In some instances, employees resent having to go to training and consider it a waste of time, so they don’t bother applying any new skills.
I’ve facilitated thousands of customer service training workshops over more than 20 years. During that time, there is one lesson I’m forced to acknowledge—most customer service training fails to generate a lasting improvement in service.
That’s the bad news. On the bright side, the good news is that there are clear reasons why the training fails. Here are the top three and what you can do to avoid them.
#1 No Goals
Many customer service training requests I receive are too vague.
One client told me she wanted her team to get back to the basics. Another client asked for help serving angry customers. Still another client wanted his employees to deliver world class service.
The challenge with all of these requests is they are ill-defined. When pressed for details, each of these clients struggled to articulate precisely what they wanted their employees to learn or what specifically they wanted employees to do.
You must set clear goals before you schedule customer service training. Without them, the training becomes generic or even random.
For example, my “back to basics” client went back to her executive team and asked them to define the basic customer service skills they felt employees were lacking. The leaders soon realized there were many differences of opinion regarding these skills, even among themselves!
The leadership decided to put the training on hold and work with employees to create clear and specific service standards. Once they complete this process, the organization will be able to set much clearer goals for training.
#2 No Buy-In
There are two groups where a lack of buy-in can sink a training initiative.
The first group is the employees who are being sent to training. Imagine an employee attending a customer service training class merely because her boss told her to be there.
Employees in this situation are unprepared for learning and might even be uninterested. They’re not sure what specific knowledge or skills to concentrate on. Some employees even think they’re being sent to the training class as a form of punishment for doing something wrong.
Your training participants should know the answer to three questions before training begins:
What is the training about?
Why are we doing it?
How will I be able to apply what I learn back at work?
Which brings us to the second group that needs to buy-in—managers.
Employees take their cue from the boss. That means the boss needs to whole-heartedly champion a training initiative or else employees will think the training isn’t really important.
The best customer service leaders take the training right alongside their employees to send the message that the training is worthwhile. This also helps the manager know how to reinforce the specific content learned in training once the training has ended.
#3 No Follow-Up
We’re conditioned to think the training ends when the class is over.
There’s an evaluation form to fill out. A definite end time. Some classes even provide a certificate of completion.
In truth, the training has only just begun. The real learning happens when employees go back to work and apply their new skills. Here, a lack of follow-up can ruin even the best training program.
For example, imagine a training class on serving angry customers. Employees might hear about a few new techniques. They might discuss their own experience and then participate in a role play.
None of that matters if they don’t use those new skills the next time they serve a real-life angry person. The tough part of the equation is employees won’t encounter an angry customer until after the training program has ended.
This is where follow-up is critical.
A manager, trainer, or mentor should be available to help employees apply what they learn. In the case of an angry customer, did the employee try new skills? Which skills worked? Which did not?
There are many questions that require reflection, coaching, and additional development.
Customer service training typically requires a large investment in time, money, and resources.
There’s too much on the line not to do this right. Setting clear goals, getting employees (and their managers) to buy-in, and providing structured follow-up should be an integral part of any training initiative.
Jeff Toister helps customer service teams unlock their hidden potential. He is the best selling author of The Service Culture Handbook: A Step-by-Step Guide to Getting Your Employees Obsessed with Customer Service. More than 140,000 people on six continents have taken his video-based training courses on LinkedIn Learning (a.k.a. Lynda.com). Jeff also holds a Certified Professional in Learning and Performance (CPLP) certification from the Association for Talent Development.
In January of 2012 almost every financial analyst was forecasting the demise of Best Buy. Amazon was Best Buy’s largest competitor with overall annual sales of $61.9B. Five years later Amazon’s sales have almost tripled to $177.8 B. Although Amazon’s consumer electronics business continues to increase, Best Buy has continued to increase its share too. While there have been many stories about the Best Buy turnaround, my story is focused on their customer service.
We all talk about getting back to the basics, but Best Buy’s Hubert Joly, who came on board in August 2012, knows what that means to the average consumer. No one wants to overpay for a product that can be easily found on Amazon at a lower or competitive price with super delivery, easy returns and massive selections. But consumer electronics are now more technical than ever and sales associates, who both know the merchandise and interact with customers with a smile and price guarantee is a perfect formula for success. When Joly took the reins in 2012, he said, “I want my company to be the place that makes it easy for consumers to understand technology. He continued, “Customers need more advice than ever; that makes sense.”
When my wife and I moved recently moved into a larger apartment to accommodate our growing family, we needed a new TV and advise on which TV to purchase. Our son-in-law had recommended either a Sony or Samsung. However, I’m not sure if you have shopped for a TV lately, but each manufacturer has multiple options, price points, features and benefits. It’s confusing. But within 10 minutes of walking into a Best Buy in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, our confusion turned into confidence. Simple, direct advise from our salesperson assured us we were purchasing the right TV.
As a customer experience thought-leader I’m always analyzing every transaction to see how I can make it better. My experience with Best Buy left me with nothing to correct. The critique was everything positive. This is my step-by-step analysis:
My salesperson associate, Larry, introduced himself and asked us for our names. He referenced our names at the appropriate time during our interactions. He made us feel welcomed and created a personal connection.
We could tell he was knowledgeable. He explained the variables in quality and pricing and then showed us four different models; two from Sony and the others, Samsung. For our particular needs, we would be served best with one of the Sony models. The trust that Larry had developed during our short interaction made it an easy decision for us.
We lost our remote from the TV we already had and my wife reminded me we needed to replace it. Another sales associate overheard that conversation and volunteered to go to another part of the store to find a Universal remote. Another example of good customer service and teamwork amongst the employees.
We were going to have Best Buy install the TV on the wall, but after Larry explained the costs involved to hire an electrician to rewire and patch, he suggested we try just placing the TV on our living room buffet, to see if that worked before incurring more costs. Good idea! We took his advice and the TV is in a perfect spot. Larry saved us money.
Larry ran the charge for our new TV at a cash register in his section – no need for us to stand in a long checkout line. When he gave us our receipt, he mentioned his name again, told us it was on the receipt, gave us his schedule and said he would love to help us again. He invited us to return.
He also told us that if we find a better price within 30 days of purchase, we could get a price adjustment. It made us feel 100 percent comfortable with the price we paid.
We chose the option of delivery – Best Buy brought the TV to our apartment, set it up, and took away the empty box. This service cost $100. The people who completed this task were on time, professional, and friendly.
About 40 days later we were experiencing problems with the circuit breaker connected to the TV. Our building staff came up multiple times to resolve the issue, but it was recurring. They said, “Although it’s rare, it could be an issue with the TV.” We called Best Buy told them what our building maintenance staff told us, and their response without a second of hesitation was, “We will bring you a new TV tomorrow.” I thought ‘wow’!
When we need to purchase another consumer electronic product, of course there will be nowhere else to shop but Best Buy. The company’s revenues are vast, $44B, not a mom & pop operation, but the service delivery is the same as my father provided his customers in his neighborhood store. Hubert Joly is a man on a mission. He is proving that good customer service, coupled with knowledgeable sales associates and competitive pricing is the ticket. Yes, you can outmaneuver that big elephant in the room whose name is Amazon. Huber Joly and Best Buy – you are the winners of the Customer Service Award.
One of the ways that major brands enhance marketing is by appealing to all five senses. Engaging customers at every level provides them a better experience.
To help your customers adjust quickly to your physical store, make sure you have a well-organized layout and use colors wisely (e.g. yellow suggests youth, red inspires creativity, and blue builds trust). Your visual strategy could include free-standing displays promoting a certain product, overhead banners in key traffic areas, and cross-merchandising to draw attention to related items.
Online sales on the other hand, can include videos, pop-ups, and infographics. Since online shoppers can only judge by what they see, quality photos are crucial. For items related to fashion, art, or collectibles, incorporate storytelling to convey values. A combination of several high-resolution photos and clever storytelling boosts sales of these items.
You can use treats to satisfy visitors, particularly during social promotions. You’ll make customers feel more comfortable and appreciated during wait times by offering free beverages and snacks.
Provide incentives with a high-ticket purchase, such as a box of chocolates or a bottle of nice champagne. Any pleasure and gratitude you inspire will reflect on your brand.
Before you buy a new mattress, you want to try it first. With new clothes, the feel of the fabric against your skin will influence your decision.
One study showed that texture affects a customer’s likelihood of purchasing. Emotional attachment increases if shoppers enjoy touching an item, even with one finger. The sense of touch also applies to electronic items, such as using a mouse or navigating a touch-screen.
Odors, even if barely detectible, have an impact on feelings and memories. Your business premises should never smell musty or unclean. Harsh chemicals can also be offensive. Try using fresh flowers and scented cleaning products. Plug-in odor diffusers also work or you could create an inviting aroma by providing baked goods or hot chocolate.
Free samples and scented ads are another marketing tactic you can use to attract clients.
Dead silence creates tension. Businesses play background music to enhance the experience and reduce stress. You can also incorporate audio that automatically replays jingles, useful information, or a friendly welcome message. Select the tone, style, and rhythm to fit your brand, but remember not to play your music too loud or else you’ll startle your customers.
Another important tip is to consider the legalities regarding your choice of music regardless of whether in store or in online marketing videos.
In conclusion, if you’re going to optimize the customer experience, you’ve got to appeal to as many of the five human senses as you can. Strategic visuals, pleasing scents and textures, enjoyable audio, and tasty drinks or snacks are all positive elements your customers appreciate and remember.
Jasmine Williams covers the good and the bad of today’s business and marketing. She was rummaging through her grandma’s clothes before it was cool and she’s usually hunched over a book or dancing in the kitchen, trying hard to maintain rhythm, but delivering some fine cooking (her family says so). Tweet her @JazzyWilliams88
No matter the industry, any time that frontline representatives are at work, they are learning how to deal with and manage customer expectations. While typically, the primary goal is to always deliver exceptional customer service, a truly skilled employee understands that there is a time to wow and a time to step back.
“Wow” service is often misunderstood by companies who do not understand customer expectations. Micah does an awesome job of explaining how it can be misapplied. I completely agree that wow moments give you new and innovative ways to connect with customers and appreciate any company that does so in a way that is helpful to me. However, like Micah points out, it does come down to going beyond fulfilling basic customer expectations. I was once at a bank and they gave me the incorrect amount of cash back. After “discussing” it for about 30 minutes, the manager got involved and corrected the mistake. He then smiled proudly and said it was their goal to provide “wow customer service.” As Micah points out, “wow” cannot make up for operational errors and just because you say you do it, does not necessarily make it true.
Micah does a really great job of highlighting some of the subtle nuance that exists in the customer service industry. While it is always important to keep that “wow” experience in mind when dealing with customers, it is also important to recognize that sometimes a customer just wants to be left alone; to them, being able to navigate the store on their own and find what they are looking for without being hounded by an employee is a “wow” experience. Depending on the mood we are in, sometimes we want to be engaged in store and have a conversation with the employee, and other times we simply want to enjoy a solitary shopping experience knowing that the employee is there should we wish to engage with questions or comments. I think the biggest takeaway from Micah’s argument is that satisfying customer expectations does not always require a grand gesture, sometimes it is as simple as thanking them for their business or inviting them to come back in the future.
If we are to learn anything from Micah’s argument in this piece it is that a truly great customer service representative understands the nuance in dealing with customers. Sometimes a customer wants an extremely hands on and involved interaction and sometimes they wish to be left alone. Being able to deliver both with a positive attitude and knowledge of their product/service allows representatives to perform at the top of their game.