Sunday, May 3, 2015

How Custom Do You Treat Your Customer?

As a customer, nothing irks me more than the feeling of being used: that a business just sees me as a source of revenue.

Want to tick me off? Keep me nameless, faceless, and generic.

I'll admit it:  I want to feel special.  Unique.

And the irony is I'm not the only one.  The want to feel special is driven by the universal human need for significance.  That who I am and what I do matter.

When it comes to poor customer service, we, the discontented, don't have to put up with it any longer.  In this equal access to information and social media, customers like me have too many options to stick around and put up with being treated poorly.  If we don't like you, we'll tell a friend or two....thousand.

The challenge for business leaders is to figure out what to do to turn your customers into advocates, and then raving fans.

It starts with giving them a incredible experience of your product or service:  one that they can't get anywhere else.

But that's not enough.  Then, you have to stay connected to your fans, and create real relationships with them.  You have to communicate with them in a way that makes them feel special and better from each touch point they have with you.

Possibly no one has mastered the art of making their fans feel special better than Lucasfilm:  the guardians of the Star Wars franchise.

A recent New York Times article featured Lucasfilm's expertise in responding to their customer's needs.  In addition to hosting a "Star Wars Celebration" every other year that draws close to 50,000 fans, Lucasfilm has a full time staff that answers fan mail.  And not just with a generic follow up letter.  Here's a terrific example:

Colin, the writer of the letter, is a 7 year old boy.  He was disturbed to learn that Jedi can't get married.  Lucasfilm's reply:

A personal, thoughtful letter, phrased as written to a young Jedi in training.    Perfect.

What suggestions do you have to help someone be more "custom" to their customers?  
Join the conversation by leaving a comment below.   

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