Customers are precious. They keep us in business. They are not just numbers on spreadsheets. These precious clients are human beings with their own dreams, hopes, lives. I don’t know about you, but I love my customers, I want them to stay. They are a great group of people. Customer loyalty is a 2-way street. If you treat them like just another number, you may wake up one morning and find they evaporated overnight.
I’ve had the pleasure of reading Donna Cutting’s book The Celebrity Experience, and no matter the size of your company, it is a book worth reading. Not only is it informative, but The Celebrity Experience is enjoyable to read. I’ve had the pleasure to ask Donna a few questions, and here are her answers.
1.What are some of the most important things a small company on a shoe-string budget can do to make their clients feel like celebrities
Here’s one of the best tips I can offer – get to know your customers! In casual conversation, see if you can pick up on the following items:
- Their birthday
- Their children’s birthdays
- Their children’s names
- Their pet’s names
- Their hobbies and interests
- Their anniversaries
- Their favorite stores
- Their favorite music
- Their favorite foods
- Their dreams for the future
Use that information to WOW them! Clip articles that might be of interest and send it to them. Send birthday cards to them and their family members. Send a holiday card to their beloved pet! Greet them in your office with their favorite drinks or snacks.
I learned a lot about this from the Gaylord Opryland Resort and Convention Center Celebrity Services Department. The first time I was there they heard me casually (and without intention) mention that I liked blood oranges. Someone snuck a few into my hotel room later that day. On my next visit, blood oranges were not in season – however, I arrived to my hotel room to find two bottles of blood orange juice!
Keep your ears open and imagination working and you’ll come up with many fun ways to WOW your customers without spending a lot of money.
2.I remember horror stories from a company that had a very high turnover rate among their employees. It had become a toxic environment. The owner said “I rule by fear.” He believed that people are motivated by fear, and the only way to get 150% from your employees is when they fear losing their job or getting ridiculed in front of their peers. In fact, he fired an assistant who dared to tell him otherwise. He’d have food catered for his clients, lavish parties, then turn around and fuss when leftovers were served to his employees. Never mind they were working overtime for his event. What would you tell such an owner?
I’m not sure I could tell that boss anything – sounds like his mind is made up! However, if he would listen, I would tell him that you can’t do the same thing over and over again and expect a different result. Bottom line, he is losing time and money with high employee turnover – and if he continues to treat his employees like the bottom of the barrel, he will continue to waste time and money replacing his staff.
While he may think he’s getting 150% of his employees, I would be surprised if that were true! People are no longer loyal to companies because, frankly, the world has changed. The days of staying with one company forever, celebrating 40 years and collecting your pension are over. However, people ARE loyal to bosses. If they have a boss that inspires them, challenges them, appreciates them, and respects them, and makes them feel good about the work they do, they will give MORE than 150%. Show me a boss who disrespects his employees and I will show you employees who are disengaged in their job.
The companies profiled in The Celebrity Experience all have this in common – they work to treat their employees the way they want their employees to treat their customers. They lead by example. For instance, the Gaylord Opryland Resort and Convention Center in Nashville, TN has seen much higher customer satisfaction scores in recent years. This is directly related to their decision a few years ago to put their STARS (Gaylord employees) first, their service second, and their product third. Treating your employees well, while training them and holding them accountable (in a respectful way), will result in better service to your customers.
3.What is the “Booger Principle?’ or do we need to read the book to find out?
LOL! Everyone loves that chapter. Actually, they do – and not just because of the title. The Booger Principle is the commitment to tell the truth because you care. Tell the truth to your customers, your employees, and yourself – even when it’s difficult. It’s about the fact that you will instill trust within your customers by being honest in all circumstances. Sometimes the Emperor needs to be told he has no clothes – and sometimes the Emperor is you.
It’s called The Booger Principle because of a story told to me by Rita Tateel, owner of The Celebrity Source, about a celebrity on the red-carpet. And yes….you’ll have to read The Celebrity Experience to find out the full story.
This was a guest post as part of a blog tour conducted by Key Business Partners
At anytime, you can purchase Donna’s book, The Celebrity Experience, Insider Secrets to Red Carpet Customer Service by going to Amazon