Keep Them Turning (and Returning)

Where in the world have I been? Not recently posting…thoughtthe mental posts have been flying off left and right, they haven’t made their way to “Yes to Know” yet…tonight, I plan to break that pattern. I’d like to say I’ve been on a world class holiday to an exotic locale–who wouldn’t–what I have been on is a jouney into the Realms of Meetings, meetings, meetings–to the point of brain frizzle at times in the past month or so. It’s all good…pushing my bounds for sitting and thinking out loud as well as listening and rolling with it, working to keep a vision even during some blurry moments—in other words, I’m involved in a huge work project that is absorbing most every last minute of my day.
In the middle of this series of meetings and changing the world as we know it, I went away for 5 days to the Duke Writer’s Workshop where I attending a novel writing workshop led by novelist Lynn York. A great workshop where I learned more about the craft of writing as well as the craft of letting-go (re: very little Internet connection and dealing with the urge to check in at work each hour while away far back into a mountain retreat center).
So…any good lesson is one worth applying across many fields: One of the ideas that floated to the surface in the workshop is that writer’s really must consider what keeps the reader turning the page. What will drive them on to the end of the story? Makes sense. Plot, love of character, suspense, you get it…
Nooooooooooow, tell me this: what do we do to keep our customers “turning the page?” What do we do to keep the returning? What do we consciously create to make the experience of walking through our doors a “new chapter” each time? Are we changing out the scenery (take a note from your favorite retailer–try Urban Outfitters, you can work wonders with a few cans of paint, newspaper and and old sofa!)? Are we catching them just before they walk out the door with a taste of why they should come back ( a list of soon to be releaseed books, cds or dvds). Are we spending as much time thinking about what will bring back our users again and again as we are sitting in meetings?

Overwhelm Them!

Is anything more important–but less interesting to say–than “Customer Service?”The way I think about it is this: If you don’t have a focused aim (such as “every customer is going to leave here wanting to come back again–soon”) and instead have a generalized view of customer engagement (such as “we give good customer service” or “we have high service excellence standards”) you will hit your mark everytime–and that mark will manifest itself as vague “friendly service” –and what this really means is “general mediocrity.” I was perusing a book online today and came across this passage:
“If we served people the way we want to be served we wouldn’t have ‘situations.’ The problem is that most of us don’t want to serve. ‘Serve’ is a nasty word–something we did to make our way through high school or college. In the real world we think, it’s not by job to serve people below me!‘”
It’s true. Come on, take off that I’m-here-to-serve halo and admit it. Service is an important and necessary need, but it has an ugly reputation. So, let’s give it a make-over. First, let’s stop using the phrase “customer service” so much. Let’s stop saying we’re here to “serve.” How about we’re hear to “delight,” “intrigue,” “expand opportunities,” or–even better–OVERWHELM.
Let’s make it our aim to have each customer leave feeling overwhelmed, not underwhelmed–and feeling more than “well, I got the book (or form or sandwich or paycheck–yes staff are our customers too–don’t leave them underwhelmed) I was looking for.”
I propose this:
A new customer engagement motto:
Now that’s a motto that excites me, and I’d rise up to meet that challenge each day! How about you?