Minding Your Own Brand: Why Isn’t Every Day Customer Appreciation Day?

A few weeks ago, I went to a store and they were having Customer Appreciation Day. There were big posters in the window announcing the event and the store displays had signs announcing “special customer appreciation savings on select items.” There was an unusual abundance of employees each dressed in a customer appreciation day t-shirt and a “thank you” button. As I shopped, the staff were extra helpful with my questions and went out of their way to show me to the products that I was looking for. It was truly the best shopping experience I had ever had at this store.

However, as I began to check out, I listened to the interactions of the staff with other customers and the sentiment seemed forced. The sales associates were a little too eager to help, the manager opened a new register as soon as the line reached three people, and the cashier said “thank you” too many times for a normal checkout. It was as if they were competing with each other to see who could appreciate the customer more, and in the end it all seemed extremely scripted. As I drove home, I began to feel that the day was less about appreciating the customer and more about getting people into the store to “take advantage of the customer appreciation savings on select items.”

Even though most companies tout the incredible level of customer service they provide, in reality most of them offer a mediocre experience at best. Why is it that companies only appreciate the customers and provide extraordinary service when it involves adding to their bottom line?

Small businesses need to create a culture that truly values the customer and makes shopping an extraordinary experience every day instead of just on special sale days. I think back to the few situations where a sales associate went out of their way to truly help, even though it may or may not end up in a sale. One that comes to mind was a story I heard the other day talking to a banker. He told me about a situation where he did not have a loan product to meet a small business owner’s needs. But because he valued the relationship and truly wanted to help, he told the business owner that a bank across town had the perfect product for him. He even called ahead to explain the customer’s needs and tell them the customer was coming.

Not only did this small, but extraordinary gesture win over the small business owner who will likely come back to this banker for his other banking needs, but it also made the banker feel good about what he had done. This interaction gave both the banker and the small business owner a story they could tell others like myself in order to describe how his bank is different. They are now able to illustrate how this bank is truly about providing service and how they value all business relationships, even when the bank may not have the right products for you. This story shows that unlike the store, this banker truly appreciated the value of ALL customers, even those who don’t result in a sale.

Small businesses need to cultivate a culture which develops true relationships, exceeds expectations and creates extraordinary experiences which build passion amongst both employees and customers. This passion will aid in the recruitment of advocates who will do everything in their power to see that the small business succeeds, and because of this, the business will ultimately achieve financial results. So, instead of only appreciating customers when there is a sale, why not make every day customer appreciation day?

© 2005 -2014 IMAGE identity, LTD, All rights reserved. For reprint permission, please call 508-259-9016
Minding Your Own Brand is a trademark of IMAGEidentity, LTD

Leave a comment

Avatar About the Author:

previous arrow
next arrow