Tag Archives: customer service

No Less Than 5 Thank You’s – The Importance of Thanking Your Customer

6 Feb

thank YOUOn our way out of Esin, a very popular neighborhood restaurant the other night, we counted no less than 5 Thank You’s.  These came from every employee we passed on our way to the door, the wait staff, the bartender, the managers, and the hostesses.  Each stopped whatever they were doing when they spoke.  It made a memorable last impression on us.

How often do we make our customers feel appreciated and that their business really matters to us?  Probably not often enough.  We, as business owners, managers and employees need to take the time to Thank our customers.  It can be as simple as a verbal Thank You like our recent experience, or a hand-written note, (a nice touch that stands out in our digital world), or a gift that relates to your business.

Saying Thank You is part of the overall experience a customer has with your company and part of building a consistent and memorable brand experience.  Make the Thank You heartfelt and sincere. If it has any other intention than to truly thank them for their business, your customer will see it as disingenuous.  In other words, don’t also ask for something you want from them.  Make the Thank You about showing your gratitude for their business.  You’ll leave a positive lasting impression and your customers will be glad they chose to do business with you.

Resources:

The Experience Effect, Jim Joseph
A Tale of Two Thank You’s from a Customer Experience Perspective, Sean McDonald, Ant’s Eye View
Thanking Someone for Being a Customer Should be Automatic,  Kevin Stirtz, Customer Think
Saying Thank You to Customers, Lynn Gaertner-Johnston

A Helpful Checklist for a Successful New Product Introduction

30 Jan

Start with a Business Case for the Product

Did you do the work upfront to confirm that it makes sound business and financial sense for your company to introduce this product (or service)? That upfront work is a business case and plan for the product.  You should answer these strategic questions in the business case. How does this product address the market / customer needs?  What can your company deliver uniquely with this product that no competitor can?  Do your core strengths support this product?

It’s critical that you accurately and honestly forecast the sales you plan to generate fromTwo business people giving a high five for success this product, projected product costs to determine the gross margin as well as any additional operational (or other) headcount required to support the projected revenues and new business/customers.

Pull together a cross-functional product team that has the knowledge to provide the data needed to develop the business case. Some team members may only be needed on occasion (sales management, finance, manufacturing, marketing communications) while other members are core to the business case development, engineering, operations, product management and product marketing.

With the product business case completed, you have the information needed to move forward. Next have management review and approve the business case.  Having their buy-in will ensure that your product receives the resources and support required to be successful.  In most companies, this is a requirement.

Checklist for a Successful New Product Introduction:

1.  Beta Test the Product. Work with a few of your trusted key customers to trial and provide feedback to get the ‘kinks’ worked out from both the product and operations side.

2.  Back-end Processes. Ensure the back-end processes are in place and the internal operations teams (customer service, help desk, etc) are fully trained on the new product.

3.  Customer Feedback Loop.  Make sure to set up a process for customer feedback both for the beta test and after the introduction.  The feedback loop for customer issues and comments should include the core product team  who is responsible to evaluate and resolve.

4. Sales Training.  Your sales channel should be fully trained and all support materials completed.  This includes customer presentations (pitch deck) for the sales team, internal website updates.

5.  Marketing.  Is the launch planned and ready to go?  Is the website updated?  Are the product materials, such as manuals, technical white papers, and product FAQs completed?

If these can be answered with a YES, a successful New Product Introduction can be the result.

Anything you’d add to this checklist?

Resources:  Big Picture Questions to Ask When Launching a New Product, Alex Gammelgard, Arena

Lessons to Learn from a True Go-Giver – Kris Kringle

3 Jan

One of the first true Go-Givers was Kris Kringle.  In the classic movie Miracle on 34th Street,  Kris employed as the Christmas Santa Claus at Macy’s New York department store, is committed to making everyone’s wish come true – even if that means sending them to another store.  If Macy’s didn’t have what shoppers wanted, he sent them down the street to Macy’s competitor Gimbels.

Make Giving Your Passion and Success Will Follow

Kris’ behavior was seen as radical and disloyal by the CEO, Mr. Macy who wanted Kris fired.  Customers were surprised by the level of service that directed shoppers to another store, but greatly appreciated his help.  That appreciation translated into record sales for Macy’s.  Realizing these results, Mr. Macy had a change of heart and directed all his employees share Kris’ sincere desire to help and do whatever it took to make the customer happy.  Even if that meant sending them to Gimbels.

It’s a simple lesson Mr. Macy learned from Kris and one of the five laws that the book The Go-Giver drives home in a well spun story. The most successful in business develop relationships with customers and colleagues by giving more than they get in value, help, knowledge and expertise. Kris positioned Macy’s as the expert in retail.  Macy’s became the store shoppers went to find the best places to buy their gifts. The simple idea of giving increased customer loyalty and growth in store sales beyond what any advertising campaign had attained.

The new year is an opportunity to refocus efforts on what matters most to your business – your customers.  Make helping your customer and others in your life your passion and priority and your business will grow.

Additional Resources:
The Go-Giver by Bob Burg and John David Mann
How a Startup’s Vision Wins Customers, by Colleen Debaise, Smart Entrepreneur

Learn from Your Best Customer Experiences and Improve Your Business

21 Nov
Nordies Sign

Nordstrom will Celebrate the Christmas Season AFTER Thanksgiving

by Susan Lowe

Happy Thanksgiving Week!  I planned to share some air travel stories with you on this blog.  I was certain that I would have some good (hopefully not bad) customer experiences to share from my travels back east.  But, something happened the other day that I had to share .

While shopping and getting ready for my trip, I stopped by Nordstrom.  Yes, I’m a Nordstrom Facebook Fan.  On my way in to the store, I noticed an interesting sign in their window.  The sign says Nordstrom won’t be ‘decking their halls’ until Friday, November 25th because they like the idea of celebrating one holiday at a time.

In the great Nordstrom fashion, the company decided not to put up holiday decorations until after Thanksgiving.  Yes, after Thanksgiving. This is big news.   If asked most shoppers don’t like the idea of beginning the Christmas season right after Halloween.  Yet, retailers continue putting decorations up that early year after year.

Why did Nordstrom decide to wait on the garland?  They listen to their customers. Nordstrom is one of the best at delivering great customer experiences and delivering what their customers want.  We can learn from Nordstrom and others who make it their best practice to listen to customers and then incorporate the best of these great customer experiences into our own business practices.

Thank you, Nordstrom.
Share your Holiday shopping Best Customer Experiences by commenting to the blog.

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