AlwaysWoW! For a Great Great WoW in Life

Thoughts from me about things that are cool, that are WoW, that blow me away. Observations about businesses and people from a wide variety of life. Daily encounters - and thoughts outside the box, inside the box and without any box. New thinking, and challenging old thinking. Passionate about life, about respect, and about integrity.

Wednesday, September 08, 2004

The customer is always right - Right? Right!

Change This has published another manifest, this time by Bruce Kasanoff.

Bruce Kasanoff is (and I quote here) an entrepreneurial marketing expert who has helped companies of all sizes position their services, strengthen their brand and communicate their value. In this document called Less – What consumers want - that you can it download here, he points out examples of customer services that go awfully wrong and great customer experiences that go awfully right. You know how it is in Malaysia – and not only here. That shopping for anything just sucks very often. I have written often enough about sulking attendants in Jaya Jusco that just don’t move from where they are and expect customers to find what they need, to Carrefour as a company that doesn’t trust its customers.

The document describes a couple of great examples how “customer experience in a shop could actually be”. Let me cite just one example:

“Let’s take Susan, a top salesperson in an upscale clothing store, as an example. The first thing Susan does when you walk into the store is to let you know she is there to help you, on your terms. Her greeting is friendly, but not overly so.

She doesn’t want to scare away a hesitant shopper, and knows that to tailor her approach for you, she must first get some sense of your needs. When she can, Susan looks for non-verbal hints. If you are carrying a letter from the store, she might ask, “Did you come to check out our private sale?” The store has big glass windows, and she sometimes gets hints from the car you drove or the fact that your husband or wife dropped you off. In such cases, she might ask, “How much time do you have?” Most importantly, Susan listens and waits.

When her customer is ready to stop talking and be served, she then takes action, suggesting various outfits and pointing out interesting new options. Along the way, she is constantly looking for both verbal and non-verbal feedback. She never ignores a glance at a watch, or when a customer stops to touch a rack of glove-soft leather jackets.

While she might not act immediately on all these inputs, she uses all of them to influence the way she treats a customer. Finally, Susan is motivated by sustainable success. She understands word of mouth, and knows that great reputations are built through a never-ending series of small actions. She’d rather lose a sale than lose a customer. If she can’t sell the customer something that they will be happy with for years to come, she won’t sell anything.”

WoW, wouldn’t that be nice? What is missing, however, is that there are customer who drain your resources - and keep you away from those that deserve your attention. Those are a very small minority, and one should have processes in place on how to manage those - my opinion. But overall, I totally agree with the document!

Is it possible in Malaysia or Asia? I believe yes – it is possible and there are stores that are on their way (may be another story for another time). Can any store afford to ignore this “movement”? For the time being – yes. Long term – no.

What is also nice in the document is that it talks a bit about the personal initiatives that each and everyone can take to make the life of the client easier, and to organize one’s own life in a better manner with less wastage. So, download it, read it, distribute it and may be even apply the learning.


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