I´m looking for a skeleton pocket watch. Have you seen one? Both front and back are clear so that you can see the 17-jewel movement as it works away keeping time. It has dust covers that protect the face and the back. I have wanted one for more than twenty years.
Sometimes I go into a jewelry store to window shop or to buy my wife something. I usually get around to asking the sales associate if he or she knows where I can find one. The last ten or twelve times I´ve asked, the answer was "no." Five years ago the manager of a Zales store searched through several catalogs. Although his search was unsuccessful, I later made several purchases at his store because I appreciated his attention and willingness to go the extra mile.
Do you want to take a prospective customer and turn him into a loyal customer? All you have to do is to train your staff to exceed my expectations.
–you trained your staff to engage customers in conversations asking them if they were looking for something you didn´t carry?
–your staff told customers they´d be happy to research that want or need during their "spare" time?
–you kept a list on the wall in the back of your store that had the customer´s name, a description of what they were looking for, and the sales associate who had the best relationship or the original conversation with that customer?
–you paid your sales associates a bonus every time they made a sale based upon this wish list?
In my day jewelry stores had dozens of catalogs stashed around the store. Nowadays most of these catalogs are on the Internet.
"Well, Glenn," you say, "I´m not in retail. I´m in the B2B sector." What if:
–you knew one of your customers collected baseball cards and you found a Web site devoted to them?
–you told that customer and found out he hadn´t known about it before?
You don´t have to do this. But if you want to exceed your customers´ expectations of your business, try it. The overwhelming majority will feel obligated to you and will reward you with additional business and positive word of mouth advertising.
This turns prospects into customers, customers into loyal customers, and loyal customers into "royal" customers.
Go the extra step. Surprise your customers. They´ll return the favor. And let me know if you run across that pocket watch.
“It is the service we are not obliged to give that people value most.”
Update #2: Maria at Customers Are Always takes my idea and kicks it up a notch.