If you don't feel that's earth-shattering news, I completely understand. But let me explain. Some time ago my nutritionist, Dana Reed, recommended a protein shake. At first I resisted but now I'm completely addicted to the perfect shake every morning. So in my world a blender breakdown is a crisis.
It wasn't long ago that I purchased this blender but apparently the appliance wasn't up to my daily smoothie drill and suffered from burnout. Heartbroken, I went to dispose of it (yes, I grow attached to shiny, inanimate objects) when I remembered I had purchased it at Bed, Bath & Beyond.
I trotted down to BB&B, all set to complain about my appliance's short life span. I handed over my machine and the online printout showing the blender's price, noting I didn't have the receipt. No matter – with no questions asked, the customer service rep printed out a credit for $149.99 plus tax. Why would you shop anywhere else with phenomenal customer service like that? Yay! Why can't every store be like Bed, Bath & Beyond?
Triumphantly, I sped to the blender section. Now, what to buy? Common sense dictated not the same brand – although I was fond of its stainless steel look. Why hadn't I read the reviews?
I had a well-known brand in my cart when I noticed the Breville. Its simple, solid design seduced me. After all, I'm a designer at heart (before I became a marketer, I owned a graphic design firm). The Breville was impressive – not just the appliance – but the packaging too. Of course, it was the priciest one $199.99. Isn't that the price of a washing machine in the suburbs? I'm so high maintenance.
I commandeered a salesperson to explain the different machines' features. I was in love. Needless to say, the Breville and I went home together. I also bought a Breville immersion blender for all the soups I will make. Besides I had 20% off BB&B coupons. Shopping is fun! Now the part I hate most – set up.
PS: What can a small business owner learn from this story? Here's the golden nugget. I will patronize the business that makes my life easy. I will buy from the people who give me added value, not just coupons (they were a nice bonus) but more important, unconditional guarantees. BB&B reduced the risk of buying – and I bought twice as much.
They showed me that they value me as a customer. They are not just transactional – for the moment. They are supportive of the relationship. This is a long-term strategy.
They were also "nice". Wouldn't your rather do business with people who are "nice"? That's good customer service. And it's rare today so people who apply these rules stand apart. Ask yourself, how can I make my clients' transactions more comfortable? How can I reduce their risk so they are more likely to buy? Think about what's in it for them and then add more. Create an irresistible offer and watch how people respond.