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"Everything is about the customer experience," exclaimed Tony Hsieh, CEO Zappos. I had the ultimate pleasure of hearing him speak at Yanik Silver's Underground 5 Conference, as well as talk to him after his presentation. He's a very inspiring, pragmatic and funny speaker. He had so many gems of wisdom that I almost ran out of room to write them all down. A lot of what he said really hit home for me, especially now with what's happening with businesses and the economy. Hence, I thought it would make a perfect post for this blog. I believe the philosophy Tony shared and the philosophy I keep reading about in Dan Kennedy's (If you don't know Dan you can go to his website http://www.dankennedy.com ) monthly newsletter will be the keys to companies staying in business.
What's that philosophy? Well it's all about the customer and as Tony Hsieh said, "Zappos is about delivering happiness to our customer's door." In his case it's delivering merchandise like shoes and clothing, while building long lasting relationships with their customers and having THE best customer service ever. Their main brand IS customer service. They go above and beyond for their customers. He gave us many awe inspiring stories and some funny ones too. I decided to try out their customer service and they were wonderful. Unfortunately my rescue dog Lily got a hold of my Keens and chewed the closure loop off. I called Zappos to see if I could get it fixed or what to do since I purchased the shoes from them. They checked out Keens site and gave me all the info to get them fixed - wow, that was cool.
Here's what I'd recommend for you in your business - ramp up your customer service by doing something for them. Stay in their forefront of their minds by constantly keeping in touch via direct mail, email, phone, or social media (like Twitter, Facebook, Youtube, etc.). During these challenging economic times don't be strangers with your customers. Also don't overtly "sell" them either. Ask them in depth questions to try to help them. Find out what they need or what their biggest challenge is right now or what they need help with. Go above and beyond for your customers so they will always remember you. Really show you care and mean it. Send them a gift once a year, food always works (I love Cheryl's cookies!), or send them a gift card or something they would appreciate. During these stress-filled economic times, those companies and entrepreneurs that will rise to the top think differently. Don't be afraid to take risks and above all else don't do what everyone else is doing! Your goal is really that simple - take good care of your customers.
Another idea is - give them a quick survey, check in on how they're doing and what they need now during this time. I've done several of these for clients and we've received some gems of info that are helping us create new products, and meeting client's needs because we know what those needs are!
Now is not a time to give up and tighten your belts when it comes to your customers. Go above and beyond, the name of the game is to keep your customers happy so they want to be your customer for a LONG time, maybe even for life.
Labels: Shannon McCaffery