Sunday, October 30, 2011

Remembering Something about the Customer!

"Worry about being better; bigger will take care of itself. Think one customer at a time and take care of each one the best way you can."~Gary Comer

I really enjoy running, especially with my black lab Sophie. I have competed in a number of 5K races and am now working up to a 10K race. While my finish times are not great, I usually do pretty well among my age group.

About two months ago, while in Ft. Lauderdale, I went into a running store called Runner’s Depot. I was looking for a new pair of running shoes, and this store happened to be very close to my hotel.

The salesman at Runner’s Depot convinced me to buy a pair of Newtons, a new type of running shoe that encourages you to lean forward as you run so you land on the balls of your feet rather than your heels. This form of running, which is sometimes referred to as “Chi Running,” is great because it takes the load off my joints, especially my knees.

On my last trip to Ft. Lauderdale, I did not take my Newtons. I only had room in my luggage for one pair of shoes, and I had to pick a pair that could be used for both running and walking around.

During this trip, I stopped in the Runner’s Depot to buy a case that would allow me to carry my iPhone and listen to music while I run. When I walked into the store, the salesman – the same one who sold me the Newtons – said he saw me jogging over the 17th Street Bridge and asked me if there was a problem with the shoes. Newtons come in a very distinctive and recognizable color, and he had noticed that I was not wearing them.

As you can imagine, I felt great that months later this salesman remembered me and had noticed me running over the bridge. His consideration and concern made me a customer for life.

The point of this story is to demonstrate how establishing a personal relationship with your customers can dramatically impact the way they feel about your business. By asking about the shoes, the salesman was, in effect, telling me that he cared about me and wanted me to be the best I could. It did not take much effort for the salesman to notice me, but it made a super impression on me.

The secret here is having your employees recall some personal detail about your customers when they come back. There are many computer programs designed to help you store this information and access it easily at a later date.

Now go out and observe your staff and see how they are greeting your customers. The more personal they can make the interaction, the better. Training is very important and can be helpful in teaching your employees how to make this happen.

You can do this!

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