Page 9

SSE_DECEMBER2015

FEATURE Are Your Customers Getting Another Holiday Tie? 3 innovative ways to decorate customers’ experience By Chip R. Bell My grandmother was a wonderful person. And, she was blessed with many grandchildren. It created a bit of challenge for her at Christmas time, especially as we all got older. Then, she hit upon a solution -- all the girls would get scarves; all the boys would get ties. After a couple of years, the pattern was set. As soon as we spotted the familiar long thin box under the tree, we all knew the gift giver! Now, I don’t for one second miss the fact that it was the thought that counted. We were always sincerely grateful even if her scarf or tie never donned our necks. Yet, my memory of her predictable generosity makes me think about how innovative service can help in decorated this holiday season to be delightfully memorable, not just efficiently functional. The bank always sends me a calendar; my dry cleaners always sends me a $5 Starbucks card. It is as foreseeable as my grandmother’s holiday ties. What if your customer’s holiday experiences were as innovative as they were generous? Innovative service is to a customer’s experience what sprinkles are to a cupcake. Sprinkles are not only colorful; they are random -- as if thrown, not placed, on the top of the icing. It is that whimsical randomness that makes it a delightful treat and not just a tasty one. Below are three ways to innovatively decorate your customers’ experience to make them holiday-ready Celebrate Customers with Originality Avis Bell was a child of the depression. At 99, she is also my mother. Her stories of living through the worst economic times of the last century are peppered with joyful memories of special winter holidays when there was no money to buy gifts. Hand-made original surprises had to replace store-bought. The restriction forced the giver to think about the uniqueness of the recipient; it enabled the receiver to appreciate the “labor of love” over the “expediency of purchase.” What if this year your customers got an original poem, your favorite holiday recipe, a unique home remedy, a holiday card drawn by your child, a greeting card filled with colorful confetti or a balloon? What if you sent a photo of a flower growing in your yard or your pet doing something laughable? What if you gave them an original surprise? We all love the principle of Cracker Jack’s. Inside the colorful box of molasses flavored caramelized popcorn and peanuts is a free prize — something that is economically worthless but emotionally priceless. It should be a feature of holiday experiences. The Fairmont in Toronto puts a kaleidoscope and antique yoyo on your guest room desk. The Hotel Monaco can bring you a goldfish in a basketball-sized bowl to put in your room. What can you add to your customers’ experiences to add ingenuity and charm. Retail stores are decorated this season; why not your office or correspondence? Potpourri Your Customers’ Experiences Walk into the lobby of a Westin Hotel and your nose knows the scent suddenly shifts from the “smell of the street” to a signature fragrance called “White Tea.” Reach the checkout counter of Dallas garden center Nicholson-Hardie and you can pet one of two big calico cats (Frank Cat and Sammy Cat) sprawled across the counter with business cards proclaiming them “The Rat Pack.” An antique and memorabilia shop in Memphis plays oldies; a shop specializing in silk flowers put a small waterfall in the center of the shop; an upscale jewelry shop has employees wear formal evening attire. What’s happening in all these pictures? Enterprises magnifying the power of the five senses to augment their customer’s service experiences. When realtors suggest baking an apple pie before holding an open Interactive house, when cookie shops pipe their kitchen aroma onto the sidewalk, and when upscale retail stores put a pianist at a baby grand on the sales floor, they all are declaring the common sense of uncommon senses. The holidays are about a sensory cornucopia. How would your customers characterize their experience with you? What do customers hear in the background when they call? Would homemade cookies or popcorn be a feature your customers enjoyed? Is your parking lot interesting? Does the company or department entrance “welcome” in an obvious and positive way? If your customers came straight from a Nordstrom department store to your location, would they experience a sensory letdown? Add Holiday Cheer to Your Customers’ Experiences One of the hazards of fishing swampy rivers is the risk of getting a leech. A ritual among river anglers is to always check for the bloodsuckers after emerging from the water. And, the typical way to remove the slimy hitchhiker is with a lighted match or lighter. Leeches suck the blood from their target; spirit leeches suck the passion from theirs. Some spirit leeches are dark — they remove optimism, hope and confidence. Mention an opportunity and they can tell you why it’s a mistake. Some are almost invisible, specializing in putting wet blankets on joy. Spirit leeches are removed the same way real leeches are — with fire. Not a lighted match, of course, but with the energy of a positive spirit. You do not inherit spirit, acquire spirit or borrow spirit; you choose spirit much like you choose to introduce yourself to a stranger. Those who opt for an upbeat, positive spirit are happier, safer, healthier and more productive. And, they refuse to let spirit leeches attach to them. Customers are attracted to spirited people, especially, during the festive holidays. Today’s customers are frustrated with indifferent service --- not bad service, just boring, comatose service. They witness service people sleep walking through the workday. Re-energize your unit or organization by making it a no spirit leech zone. Let employees know your customers expect a great attitude and so do you. As their leader, you travel in a floodlight with your employees watching as well as remembering your every move. Display the attitude you want, every day and every hour. Customers recall, return, and refer others to those experiences that engage them emotionally and leave them with a positive memory. The season of giving merits service that matches; the time of good cheer warrants an expression of joy. Make this season one that makes your operation as invitational as mistletoe and as enchanting as a holiday candle. SSE Chip R. Bell is a renowned keynote speaker and the author of several bestselling books, including Take Their Breath Away, Managing Knock Your Socks off Service, Wired and Dangerous, The 9½ Principles of Innovative Service and his newest book, Sprinkles: Creating Awesome Experiences through Innovative Service. Global Gurus ranked in both in 2014 and 2015 as the #1 keynote speaking in the world on customer service. His work has appeared in Fortune, Forbes, Entrepreneur, Inc. Magazine, Leader to Leader Magazine, CEO Magazine, Fast Company and Businessweek. Visit www.chipbell.com Email chip@chipbell.com Connect Chip R. Bell Innovative Service Keynote Would like to Comment? Please Click Here. Sales and Service Excellence Essentials presented by HR.com |12.2015 Submit your Articles 9


SSE_DECEMBER2015
To see the actual publication please follow the link above