Last Thursday I had a meeting with the someone in downtown Troy New York, to talk about the work we’re doing with OurTroy.com. I had just eaten quickly before the meeting and I stopped into the Illium Cafe to pick up a pack of gum, or some mints to help ensure my speaking was well received.
I noticed right away that they had none available at the usual spot. I told the ladies behind the counter that I was running to meet with someone, and I was looking for some gum or mints, but didn’t see any out. They apologized and informed me that they had just run out. HOWEVER, in the exact same response, the manager Beth Duval went to her own purse and then handed me some gum of her own!
Two things companies can takeaway from this:
1) Go above an beyond, and meet a need in an unexpected way. Meeting a need in an unexpected way is a powerful thing. The positive shock/surprise makes the experience with your brand that much more impactful. It’s hard to forget, and it’s a great way to generate positive word of mouth.
Rather than repeat it, here is a great post by Maki over at Dosh Dosh that gives an excellent explanation of the cognitive cause of surprise, and how it effects one’s behavior.
Look for ways that you can do something for your customers that meets a need in a way that they would not expect.
2) Remember to nurture the individuals who are already talking about your company/brand, or that you know are repeat and happy customers. Going above and beyond for these people in particular is important, because you might just do the one thing that makes them “tip”, and do something above and beyond in return. (Like me sharing my great experience at the Illium Cafe in this post)
In trying to build word of mouth, many times people think they need to do something big or crazy to appeal to a mass crowd of people who have never heard their message. This has its place, but don’t forget to focus on the individuals who are already talking about you.
Not everyone will communicate their experience with your brand, but nurturing your repeat and happy customers is never a bad thing.
Bravo Illium Cafe, and keep up the great work on all fronts!
At the Customer Service is the New Marketing summit yesterday, they handed out this great Customer-Company pact to all attendees:
It’s excellent, and I support it whole heartedly! Definitely check it out.
Golden Fox Restaurant is a fairly new restaurant located in downtown Troy, NY.
Myself and a friend went there to eat the day after its opening, and we both ordered a veal and crab dish. When our dinner arrived, the dish was excellent, though we had expected that there would be actual lumps of crab in the dish, not just a sauce made with crab.
When our waiter stopped back to check on us, we asked him if the dish was supposed to have crab in it. He knew exactly how the dish was prepared, and explained that the dish was made with crab in the sauce. Then, he asked if we had expected that there would be actual lumps of crab in the dish. When we said yes, he immediately said he would have the chef make up some crab in the sauce and bring it out to us. We told him it was ok, but he insisted.
When the crab meat arrived, it was a huge portion, almost enough for another entree on its own. After giving us some time our waiter checked back in, and asked us how we liked the dish with the crab meat added to it. We told him that it was excellent, and that it really made the dish. He was genuinely interested, and he said that he would talk to the chef, and ask him to make it that way from now on.
When we left, I took the unfinished portion of my meal with me. They wrapped it in a black carryout box, and wrote the name of the entree on the box in gold letters.
There were two things that came to mind in this experience for me:
1) Go out of your way to really please a customer (or prospective customer) and make them feel special. They will remember it and tell others about it.
I’m telling you about this experience, and they did make us feel special. I’ve been back multiple times since then as well.
2) When your interaction with a customer is over, somehow make them walk away with something that is unique, and causes them to remember you/your brand.
The black box with the name of the entree written on it in gold was somewhat unique, but more so it connected with their brand.
In addition to writing the entree on the box, one could take it a step further, and write the date (that way the customer doesn’t need to wonder how long it’s been in the fridge), a “thank you” with the waiter’s/waitress’ signature, and/or reheating directions. Maybe even include some vouchers for the customer to give to a friend.
How can you apply these principles to your interactions with customers and prospective customers? How do you?
Keep up the great work Golden Fox!
I just got off the phone with the owner of Stillwater Wood and Iron, a small solid wood furniture manufacturer and retailer in the area, and I wanted to pass along a few small reminders about great customer service.
I recently bought a small table and chairs set there, and while I was there I looked for a TV cabinet but couldn’t find anything in the size I needed. The owner took down all my measurements, and said he would check with all of his suppliers to see if he could find something to meet my needs.
I called him today, and he immediately remembered who I was, and must have had the measurements somewhere close by, because he referenced the size right away. He apologized, and said that he hadn’t found anything just yet, but that he was going to call around some more and call me back this weekend. (I bet he calls later today)
When we ended the call, he thanked me for considering his business again, and for my past business and for my fathers business, who bought a set of dinning room chairs from him and picked them up the same day I had picked up my table and chairs.
The point of this post is that he did a few simple things, that are very important when interacting with customers:
1) He didn’t make excuses. He simply apologized that he hadn’t met my needs yet. He then set a time for when he would follow up with me next.
2) He thanked me for continuing to consider him for my furniture needs, and also thanked me for my previous purchases – AND the purchases of someone (my Dad) I had referred.
Just a quick post to highlight some small things in the way of customer interaction that make a big difference.