Last fall, in preparation for the bone-chilling Minnesota winter, I bought a new hat. It’s a wool beret that did a great job keeping my naturally unprotected head warm last winter.
Because the local supply of berets was disappointing, I searched online for the right beret. I was lucky enough to find an online hat store called VillageHatShop.com.
I don’t know how big an enterprise VillageHatShop.com is but they act just like their name.
The people there are friendly and warm. They go overboard to connect with their customers. They give the feeling of a cozy, neighborhood shop where everyone knows you by your first name.
The people whom I’ve communicated with have all been real humans – not the generic, scripted robots we often have to deal with. They respond to emails during the evening and weekends like it’s no big deal. And they know how to have real conversations, (like you might in a neighborhood shop).
They also understand how to keep in touch with their customers.
Every month I get a nice, chatty email from them. It tells me what’s going on at the shop. I learn about a few deals they might have going on. It’s a nicely done communiqué that keep me in touch with them.
The people who run the VillageHatShop.com understand a couple important concepts.
First, they understand buying a hat is not an everyday thing for most of us. Even though hats are a high priority for people who sell them, for the rest of us, they’re not that important. Their customers probably don’t buy hats frequently. This means, their customers could easily forget about them.
So, the VillageHatShop.com folks work hard to make sure their customers don’t forget about them.
Second, they realize that being human is a good thing. I am sick of dealing with service and sales people who say exactly the same things as everyone else does. Or they are clearly interested in doing only their job and nothing more. They put no personality or enthusiasm into their work.
And it shows. Blah!
That’s why it’s so darn refreshing to deal with real people who obviously enjoy what they do.
Third, they understand the concept of “Extra”. This should be part of every company’s protocol to serve their customers well.
It’s simple. Whatever you sell or do for your customer, when the deal is done, do something else, something extra. If you’re a consultant, maybe you buy them lunch. If you’re a retailer, maybe you give them a small gift. If you’re a restaurant owner or manager, maybe you buy them a free dessert.
The people at the VillageHatShop.com added a sun visor with my hat order. They didn’t have to. They just did. It was their way of saying, “thanks for being our customer.”
Fourth, they find ways to get their customers involved. The more you can get your customers to be active participants in your business, the more of them will stick with you. And they’ll tell their friends.