I was recently preparing a presentation to Printers on the subject of ‘Innovation’, which is a subject we often talk about, and I decided to look at one of the areas we feel that Print companies to could improve on Customer relations. Whilst surfing the internet looking for ideas, I came across an article about a hotel in New York that now gives each customer a Goldfish for their stay. The hotel is a chic boutique hotel, like many others and so they were trying to differentiate themselves, and they wanted something that their customers would talk about and share with others!
I liked this innovative idea of the ‘Goldfish’ as it did something different in a crowded space, and it generated a sense of fun and excitement.
It got me thinking about other ways we could excite our customers.
My Eight suggestions on how to excite your customers:
By analyzing best practices in both print and other industries with similar challenges, I have identified eight directions that companies can take to generate customer excitement:
1. Why not make doing business with you, really easy! Devise processes that are exceptionally easy and intuitive to use. Amazon set the standard for simplicity by offering a “one-click” option to streamline online buying. Can your Print customer currently order from you online yet ?
2. Offer Premium quality and design: Develop products that are absolutely outstanding in look and feel as well as performance. Being good enough is just not good enough ! Some customer segments are excited by the flawless design and build of a Aston Martin car, say, or a Bang & Olufsen sound system, with its aspiration to “combine technological excellence with emotional appeal.”
3. Extra special service: Create a friendly personalized approach that does something extra. In the UK, Interflora monitored Twitter to find users who were feeling down and offered them free bouquets. I like the Haagen Daas moment on Virgin Atlantic, as ‘out of the blue’ the air hostesses offer you a tub of ice cream, half way through the flight when you are not expecting it.
4. Exclusivity: Why not create a premium service as well as your basic offering. According to the Veblen effect, the perceived value of a product increases as its price grows; exclusivity breeds excitement.
5. Mystery: Cultivate an aura of secrecy or intrigue around a product specification or launch. Setting deadlines for new product launches, helps the sales and marketing team work towards a target, if you add to that an element of intrigue in the campaign you will get your customers excited as well.
6. Taboo breaking: Reject the norm. Go for a more daring approach. It’s risky, but it can work. Instead of using professional models, skincare company Dove featured ordinary women in its Campaign for Real Beauty, putting authenticity at the core of its customer appeal. This break with convention enabled Dove to score success through viral campaigns that attracted more than 15 million viewers on YouTube.
7. Co-creation: Foster shared ownership through participation, contribution, and community. Think about partnership with customers, they are the ones that really know what they want! How often do you let your customer design a new product for you?
8. Be open minded and network. I am big fan of connecting with people you would not normally connect with. We stick to our own tribes, but sometimes we should force ourselves to go outside these groups. The same applies with customers, build-in the cost opportunity and time resource to try selling your services to a different group of people. Conferences and exhibitions give you good access to different groups.
Excitement doesn’t just come from a bit of luck or serendipity, it comes from deliberate steps, that business owners take to attract new customers and turn existing ones into lifelong supporters.