Loyal customers, they don’t just come back, they don’t simply recommend you, they insist that their friends do business with you.
~Chip Bell, Founder Chip Bell Group
Each and every time our front door opens, we have a new opportunity to capture and captivate either a returning client, or introduce our business to a brand new customer. At Adrian’s Boutique, we have often referred to this as “The Disneyland Experience,” which we’ll get into a little bit later in this article. How do you create an experience so memorable that your clients will post about it on Facebook, invite their friends to come on the next visit, or let you know ahead of time that they will be dropping by and can’t wait to get in to shop, eat or do business with you?
We call this The HOW of WOW! Your marketing efforts have brought them into your business for the first time…What NEXT? We’ll need to back up and make sure you’ve got some things in place before you invite them in. I learned long ago that it only costs a little bit more to give your customers a WOW experience when compared to most shopping experiences I’ve had around the country, and today we’re going to share some practical tips on HOW to WOW!
Of course to begin with, You MUST have…
- A great selection of products, menu items or services
- Good value for your clients
- Excellent Customer Service
- Clean and organized Store, Restaurant or Business
- Friendly and knowledgeable staff
- Best Sellers in stock at all times
- A FUN Atmosphere!
The “Disneyland Experience”
What could Disneyland and Adrian’s Boutique possibly have in common? People plan AHEAD to go to Disney, and most of them TRAVEL to get there. They SAVE their money to go and PLAN to have a GREAT experience while there. They INVITE their friends and family to join them and EXPECT to spend MONEY. They want to have an over-the-top FABULOUS experience and they LIKE to be treated like a PRINCESS!
People plan AHEAD to come to ADRIAN’S, and most of them TRAVEL to get there. They SAVE their money to come and SHOP and they PLAN to have a GREAT experience! They INVITE their friends and family to join them for their adventure and they EXPECT to spend MONEY while they are here. They want a FABULOUS shopping experience and yes, whether they’re 8 or 88, they LIKE to be treated like a PRINCESS!
That WOW Experience
Whether you own or manage a retail store, restaurant, hair salon or service business, you can provide that WOW experience for your customers. I know of a client that drive three hours to get her hair done with a particular stylist at a fabulous salon…this stylist definitely knows how to provide a WOW experience! As my friend was telling me, “for three hours, she makes me feel like I am the most important person in her world and that when I leave there, I feel pampered, beautiful and confident.” I’ll bet her stylist is not taking phone calls, texting her boyfriend or making dinner reservations while cutting or coloring hair. My friend obviously must plan ahead…She DRIVES three hours to get there, pays TOP dollar for her services, is HAPPY to return again and again, and INVITES her friends and family to come with her!
This stylist has learned that she is not really in the “Hair” business, she is in the “Confidence Building” business. She works hard to make sure her client is comfortable, relaxed and that she is exceeding her clients expectations on each and every visit. This is not a “one and done” kind of woman. She is a professional who knows treating each client like a PRINCESS will bring them back time after time, and that her clients will refer their friends to her, which will enable her to build a solid foundation for her business. You’d better believe that her clients schedule their next appointment before they leave…they want to experience this again and again!
Connect with every customer
Make a genuine effort to find out something about them…It is pretty easy to use non-verbal “clues” from your customer to strike up a conversation. For instance, if someone walks in with a purple K-State shirt on, I can easily strike up a conversation talking about Manhattan, Kansas, Kansas State University, what year did they graduate, are their kids students there, etc. etc. This is how we start to build the relationship. Only after I ask some casual questions and find out a few things about my customer, do I even attempt to see what we can help them find on this particular visit.
- Where are they from?
- What brings them in to your business?
- Who are they with? Family, friends?
- THEN offer to help them!
Surprise and Delight!
There are many ways you can Surprise and Delight your customers. It can all be boiled down to the way we would treat a guest in our own home. We offer them something to drink or a little bite to eat, strike up a conversation with them, teach them about something that is NEW, give them a little gift as they leave, and invite them to come back. We always make sure we have their contact information so we can continue to surprise them (with a handwritten Thank You Card) after they get home. Have you noticed how many car dealerships are offering fresh, warm cookies and cappuccino’s or FREE manicures while you wait for your car to be serviced? They are practicing “Surprise & Delight!” No matter what business we are in, we should be constantly looking for NEW ways that we can WOW our clients both inside and outside the store.
Drinks and Gourmet Food Samples
We provide icy cold drinks for our customers in the summer, and hot Aspen Mulled Cider in the winter. This can be as simple as layering ice, water and lemon slices in a nice container and putting some clear cups beside it, or you can easily make pink lemonade out of a mix. We sell lots of gourmet food items at Adrians Boutique, so we “surprise and delight” our customers with several samples of those food items on a daily basis. On Saturday’s, we often bake a dessert or two featuring one of our gourmet food mixes and serve a small piece to our guests. It really does not take very long to throw a simple dessert together, and it is amazing how DELIGHTED our customers are to be offered a little treat. We will go deeper into this subject in upcoming Remarkable Retailer Blog posts.
Educate them with Videos
At a meeting several years ago, a gentleman stood up and gave what was to become life-changing advice for me as a store owner. He said that he had done some research on using TV’s with video in his store and the results were amazing. He had all of the facts and figures and to the best of my recollection, had figured out that a TV playing a DVD costs about 17 cents per day and the average lifespan of a TV with DVD player was about 4 years. He compared this cost of 17 cents per day to the cost of a staff member and well, I’ll let you do the math. 🙂 We came home, purchased several TV’s with DVD players built in and use them every single day in our store. People are entertained, educated and excited about new products that we highlight using video.
Maybe you are selling a service instead of a product…how can you use video to enhance your customers experience? Lets go back to the example above from the very savvy hair stylist. She could put a slide presentation together of hair styles including casual, special occasion, prom, wedding, etc. and feature photos of her clients that would run on a loop all day long. She could use this in her waiting area to entertain, educate and entice her customers while they wait! A restaurant could put together snapshots or videos of how the food is being prepared, where the fresh ingredients are being grown, photos of happy customers in their restaurant, etc. A lawn care business can showcase beautiful yards that homeowners have entrusted to their care. Again, this just brings another level of WOW to your clients.
FREE Gift with Purchase
We shop as hard or even harder for little items that we can offer our guests (clients) as a FREE Gift with purchase on many different occasions throughout the year. It is just one more way that we can trigger a memory of a great shopping experience months down the road. One of my favorite little items was a long and skinny silicone spatula that one of our retail friends found at a market. He had to buy thousands of them to make them affordable, so several stores went together and split the order. I still have people comment on how they have LOVED this little spatula (and it was awesome, btw!), it was just right to get peanut butter or mayonnaise out of a jar. We gave away hundreds of these little items, and I have to think that over the last couple of years, ladies using this little tool in their kitchen have remembered a fun shopping day at Adrians Boutique in downtown Buhler.
Transactional vs. Relational
We’ll continue to revisit the conversation on HOW to WOW and keep your customers coming back into your business. I do think it goes back to treating your customers as you would treat guests in your own home, and focusing on building a long term relationship with them rather than just trying to sell them something to meet your sales goals for the day.
As always, we love to hear how your journey on the Road to Remarkable is going, so please leave a comment below or send me an email with your thoughts and ideas. Thank you for helping us build the “Remarkable Retailer” TRIBE…please share this website with other business professionals in your circle!
See you next time! ~Vicki
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