Make the Customer Experience Memorable

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Make the Customer Experience Memorable

By John Stanley Talk to a lot of people who have visited Disneyland in the USA and included in their comments will be how the team members at Disneyland helped to make their experience memorable. At the same time survey after survey identifies that we, as consumers, feel customer service is on the decline. This must be an opportunity for team members to help your business make a difference. As consumers we tend to put shopping into two different categories. There is “chore” shopping such as supermarket shopping and there is “leisure” shopping where we expect a different experience, even if the product is the same. Many consumers would classify buying fruit and vegetables as a chore in a supermarket and buy the same produce, but now expect the customer service to be memorable. The salesperson is now a lot more important in the buying process. Be Memorable The key to success is for the salesperson, as well as the store, to be memorable. To achieve this they have to dare to be different and have the support of senior management when they do become outrageous. In the farm retail industry for example, the consumer will allow team members to be a lot more outrageous than in many other retail sectors. In the film “Calendar Girls” based on a Women’s Institute in Northern England made it acceptable for you to take your clothes off to promote your business. In my part of the world firemen are doing it on calendars to obtain funds for the fire brigade. Andy Jeffrey at Farrington Farm Shop in Somerset is the farmers pin up for September 2008. Think about how this can be built into a promotional campaign to build sales in the business. If “stripping off” is not to your taste, why not dress up. Beth at Greenfields Farm Shop in Shropshire, UK caused as big an impact as Andy by dressing up as vegetables. The message to be learnt from these two examples is that we need to empower our team members to go the extra mile and to be adventurous. Forcing your team members to be adventurous will result in team resentment, it has to come from the team and they have to be confident that they can pull it off. This will only happen if the culture is correct in the business. The owner must establish a business culture where it is fun to come to work, ideas flow freely around the team and team members are encouraged to make a difference. When retailing gets tougher, it is these businesses that flourish. I recently visited Pike’s Fish Market; many people would claim this business is the icon business in team personality. It has been promoted in the book “Fish” which should be essential reading for any retailer. I arrived before the store opened and there were customers queuing up waiting for the store to open and the “theatre” to start. This is a retailer of fish, but with an awesome team of entertainers. It was Pete Luckett, the Canadian retailers who coined the phrase; recruit people with personality; train them to provide them with product knowledge and then empower them to make a difference. The awesome team members are out in the marketplace, if you find them you can grow your sales without spending large sums on marketing.