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Archive for March 26th, 2007

If “I *heart* huckabee’s” has its place in your movie experience, then you will probably remember Dawn Campell’s (Naomi Watts’) line: “There is glass between us!!!”

The first time she utters it, her boyfriend (Jude Law) is hiding behind sunglasses. The second time, he is hiding behind a glass partition. She is desperately trying to connect with him, but the separation created by the glass stands in the way of a true connection.

“There is glass between us,” she laments.

Glass between us.

A layer. An interruption. A wall. A separation. Glass.

You’re a business owner or a VP or a manager. Ask yourself this: How many layers exist between you and your customers? How many interruptions? How many walls? How many separations?

I have spent most of the past year and a half working with a very small but immensely popular specialty retailer, and the experience so far has been one of the most valuable in my Marketing career: These guys have figured out how to completely eliminate the glass between them and their customers.

They have figured out how to make the shopping experience fun, informative, engaging, uplifting, welcoming, and cool. The turnover of employees is virtually inexistant. The level of professionalism, expertise, politeness and eagerness of the employees is astounding.

There is absolutely zero glass between this business’ employees and its thousands of customers.

None.

The experience there is unlike any other shopping experience I’ve ever had.

It isn’t that it is extraordinary. It isn’t like they’re the Cirque Du Soleil of shopping or anything. The experience is actually simple. Subtle. Uneventful. But it is refreshing and empowering.

Compare this to dealing with your cable company. Your credit card company. A grocery store. A fast food joint. A home improvement warehouse. A car dealership. An insurance company.

Believe it or not, human beings still respond to a friendly, honest smile. They appreciate someone asking them how they are doing – not as the prelude to a sale, but as a genuine greeting. They appreciate confidence in knowledge. They crave honest answers and suggestions.

They love to be remembered and feel accepted.

Get rid of the glass. Seriously. Every moment I spend with these guys, every time I watch them deal with a customer, I see genius in action.

And then I wonder why it is that such simple, yet essential elements of a noteworthy customer experience elude so many businesses today.

Have a great Tuesday, everyone. 🙂

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