I had a heart warming experience when I went for lunch the other week. The staff member at the counter greeted me in a cheerful manner and asked me how I was. I asked for the chicken burger, which was what I normally ordered. The staff member took the opportunity to let me know that they recently had a new menu. She commented that she wasn’t sure whether I had visited their outlet since it had been updated. She told me with enthusiasm how they now had some lovely salads and some new pasta dishes. Her enthusiasm washed off on me and I felt privileged that she had taken the time to encourage me to try the new ideas. She also offered me a loyalty card and took the time to explain the various free items that I could earn. It was great to see someone take such pride in the service that they were offering. I felt encouraged to return, both to try the new items on the menu and to earn free gifts from my loyalty card!
This week I was struck by how much good customer service can add to the perceived value of a company’s products. I have now visited three different branches of a bubble tea company. After visiting the first two outlets, I had been left feeling rather underwhelmed and uninspired. I thought that the bubble teas were over priced for what seemed like some juice mixed with a few chewy sweets.
However I received a completely different impression after visiting the third branch. The staff member who served me at the counter explained that I could mix up to three flavours into the same drink at no extra charge. He also mentioned that the added sweets released a burst of flavour into the drinks. He gave me the options of choosing whether I wanted ice in the drink and whether I wanted it hot or cold. He also explained that the sweetness of the drinks could be altered. He made some inspiring suggestions of which flavours would work well together.
Now all of a sudden I was being presented with a product that I could not easily produce myself or purchase elsewhere. The whole experience was quite fun as well. I told the staff member that I wanted to combine coconut milk tea with kumquat and ginger fruit teas. He pulled a face and explained that the kumquat was quite sour and then ginger was a strong taste. I modified the ginger to raspberry. The staff who produced the drink seemed excited that they were able to produce a combination of flavours that they had not made before.
This phenomenon is an example of the “IKEA Effect” in selling. Studies have shown that people value things they had a hand in creating more than similar, or even superior, products created by others. Therefore it helps if you get your prospects involved in customising your product or service. The more they feel like the offering is “theirs,” the more positively they will feel towards it.
We know that customers want to feel as though they have received a personalised solution to their unique challenge. This was brought to light to me this week while I was looking into ordering some new business cards. I looked on both Vistaprint and moo.com. Both of these websites offer a service in which they will send out a sample pack of their products to prospective customers. The process of ordering these sample packs differed greatly on the two sites.
On Vistaprint, I was simply asked for my contact details so that the pack could be sent to me. However on moo.com, I was asked a series of questions so that the sample pack could be tailored to my needs. The questions were quick and simple to answer.
I noticed how my perception of these two companies had been affected by the differing approaches. I guessed that the value of the cards from moo.com would be more expensive. I felt that it would be worth paying more for their service as it had been tailored to my specific needs. I felt confident that their company was looking after me and that I would be happy with my purchase.
This is a similar phenomenon to when I have been assisted while trying on clothes in a fitting room. When an employee makes a comment along the lines of, “That blue colour really illuminates your skin”, then I feel as though I would be missing out if I did not buy the garment in question! How do you make sure your customers feel as though your service has been personalised to them?
This week I am returning to my experience in a cycle store, as published two weeks ago. You can review the post here: Learning something new
I realised that there was another very important factor as to why this experience was so good. Effectively, I had two employees assisting me at the same time. This left me feeling like a Very Important Customer (VIC). Here at the Experience Boutique we believe that customer service and employee engagement are intrinsically interlinked. Customers and employees alike want to feel important and valued. In the TV show ‘Undercover Boss’ my favourite part of the show is the final part. The employees realise how important and valued they are within the business.
Here are a few suggestions that can make your customers feel important:
• If an appointment has been arranged, make sure that your front of house staff know about it. This allows them to show the client that you were expecting them before they even have to state who they are.
• Make notes during the consultation to show that you are listening.
• Repeat the customer’s needs back to them to show that you were listening and understood what they wanted.
• Tell the customer why a particular item or service could solve their unique challenge.
• Invite them to return to the store for a particular reason that is unique to them.
References: Undercover Boss
When I have a positively memorable experience as a customer, I like to reflect on the reasons why. For example, last week I visited a make up counter. In terms of concealer, I am a typical Touche Eclat girl. The artist at this make up counter explained that using a concealer with an orange tone can be good to combat the typical blue / green tint of under eye circles. She explained that another lighter coloured concealer can be used on top to reflect the light. I tried this method for myself at home the next day and found that it certainly did work. My skin went from looking dull and tired to appearing radiant and glowing = a happy customer! Another thing that the artist told me was that I suited strong eyeliner as I have big eyes. It is always nice to receive advice / a compliment that I know is personalised to me. I could tell that the artist enjoyed putting the eyeliner on me as she was able to use her skills to produce a striking effect. I left the counter that day feeling good!