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Jared Hamilton
From: Jared Hamilton
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Gary May

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The Gift That Keeps On Giving (That You Don't Want To Give Customers)

It was years ago, and repressed on and off over the years, that I received what would have easily been the biggest gift received in my young life. The box was huge, maybe up to my neck if I can remember correctly. It was wrapped. That was the fun part, or maybe the following minute or three.

After opening the box, another smaller box was revealed. Followed by a smaller next box. And another. And another. And another. My grandfather, who had given me the gift, was starting to really enjoy himself about two or three feet away from me in his favorite rocking chair. The box reduction play went on until it was almost unbelievable that they could get any smaller.

At some point, a handful of minutes later, I achieved present status and my only memory,(to this day) is the exercise that took place. No, the present does not exist in my memory. What is there is the half-hysterical feelings that existed.

So, as it's time for a question, what is it that you take your customers through and what do you give them? What is their level of expectation when you have them start their box-opening process? Do you get to the present (car, reward, incentive, warranty, etc.) quickly, or do you make it more about the entertainment (throwing keys on the roof, driving their trade for appraisal to lunch and back while they're waiting, etc.) prior to the painfully long process?

Regardless of how time-deprived "we all are" today, there are unbreakable rules in retail today, especially when driven by online/eCommerce. Yes your customers, like I did years ago, have expectations. While my grandfather's only intention was to get his laugh on for the day PRIOR to my getting the gift, do everything you can to ensure that you don't end up with only a laugh and your customer walking (or running) out of the store to the next one.

Too many businesses today still make the same fundamental mistakes in making customers happy because (1) that's the way you have always done things, (2) you're not willing to change, (3) you're not truly connected with your customers or (4) because customers "don't expect it". You can never ask enough questions, properly validate enough and set/work with expectations well enough.

Tomorrow is first day of the rest of your "I'm in retail loving, customer service-oriented" life so what are you doing? Do you have your stack of boxes and scotch tape ready or are you heading an in-the-game organization toward the happy, engaged customer base?

p.s. (anyone know a good shrink?)

 

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