As many of you know, I am a business book junkie. I am not sure how I have missed this book, Hug Your Customers, but it is now officially one of my favorites (which basically means that I have already started gifting this book). This book also marks a landmark for me because it is my FIRST iPad kindle! Surprisingly, I LOVE reading on my iPad. What I love most is being able to easily read in the dark, although, I did visit the author’s clothing store all night in my dreams last night. Not sure what that means.
This inspirational book lays a foundation for everything we teach here at The Joy of Marketing. To survive in this economy, you must take the emphasis off price by treating your clients so unbelievable that they don’t even think about going somewhere else. In the book, Mitchell isn’t literally speaking of hugging customers (although he does receive many hugs). He is talking about the ways his company goes above and beyond to take such impeccable care of their clients that it is as rewarding as a giant hug. Their passionate customer service and sales stories gave me chills.
The Mitchell family believes that “customers are thirsting for relationship-driven companies. They want to be coddled.” The list of things they do make my heart start beating fast! They have unbelievable data about every single client is an example we can all follow. They closely track purchases made, names of family members, what the family has purchased in the past, etc.
So when a client walks in or has an appointment, a sales strategy is developed to help thrill and delight that client. Maybe it is suggesting a raincoat because someone noticed the client had never purchased one or maybe it is recommending ties to go with the shirts the client bought in the last visit. The Mitchell family’s commitment to their clients is staggering. In addition to wanting to thrill and hug their current clients, they are always looking for ways to hug strangers and turn them into clients. A phone number is posted on the front door with an elaborate system so that callers always receive one of the family members when they call. They have saved grooms from wedding mishaps hours before the wedding, rallied for Christmas eve travelers who arrived in town without their best outfit and scored for many executives on deadline with wardrobe needs. They even have tailors on staff who have been known to travel to the client if that is what it took to save the day. They talk about what to do when you mess up and even, how to know how and when you should “fire” the client. And at the end, they talk about the need to stay on top of the game and always having new products and fresh ideas. Without a close-knit networking group, that is not possible. These ideas reinforce everything we love – always learning new ways to keep our clients loyal and excited about doing business with us and challenging ourselves to stay at the front of the race.
That is what it takes in this day and age to make people not only fall in love with you but to brag about you to their friends and family. When you over-perform, blow a client away or save the day, it is like a hug. My question to you is, have you hugged your clients lately? I want to hear what you have done to blow your clients away with your thoughtfulness. Let’s all start the week with some inspiration!