Recently I’ve watched a few episodes of the classic show, Cheers (thank you, Netflix!), and remembered why I always enjoyed hanging out with the gang at the friendly bar in Boston. The show’s tagline, Where Everybody Knows Your Name, says it all.
The characters came across as regular people who you would love to discuss current events with over a beer (and by current events, I mean last night’s game or Sam’s love life). They made everybody feel welcome, whether you were a local or out of towner passing through. (OK, unless you were a rowdy New York fan.)
The point is, people wanted to come there because they felt welcome and accepted. I’m sure there were other bars they could have ventured to (even Norm), but Cheers is where they chose to spend their time — and money.
Does your business leave customers and prospects with a warm feeling? Do you have regulars (repeat customers) that you know inside and out and always try to add a little extra touch for?
I was always amazed when the general manager at the Panera Bread near my former company’s office would already be making my order when I got to the counter — whether it was a caramel latte in the morning or a cup of creamy broccoli cheddar soup (and possibly another latte if I needed a boost) for lunch. She always left me with a smile on my face. True story: I met some former colleagues there for lunch a year after I left the company to start my business and had not returned to this location. As I was ordering, the general manager walked up, greeted me by name and asked how I was doing.
Why did I choose to return there time after time? There were other places I could get espresso or soup, but I felt a connection to the company and this location — all because a general manager provided excellent service and remembered my name.
I see the same type of service (and smiles) at my local Starbucks and enjoy the atmosphere at a local coffee shop that’s really established itself as a part of the community.
Are you noticing a theme? I tend to give my business to companies that provide excellent service, make me smile and remember my name. Are you nodding in agreement (or just nodding off)? Notice that I didn’t say anything about the cheapest price. Yes, I want to see value for my dollar, but that doesn’t translate to cheap. And I’ll take a wonderful experience over cheap any day.
So how can your business be that place where Everybody Knows Your Name?
- Establish a ‘frequent shopper’ program. If that’s not exactly applicable, reward repeat customers in other ways. At CCC, we discount our services on program business (i.e. repeat business/multiple services purchased together).
- Say thank you — on each order, payment, quote/opportunity, referral, helpful advice, etc. A Starbucks or iTunes card is an appreciated token of appreciation for referrals or loyal customers as is your expertise. We’ve been known to help out a loyal customer with his LinkedIn profile or offer complimentary suggestions on improving a fellow company’s online marketing efforts. But trust me, even saying the words thank you is noticed — and appreciated — in today’s rushed and flustered world.
- Communicate clearly. So much of our communication is digital today; emailing, texting, tweeting or messaging is convenient. At CCC, we like to communicate how our customers prefer, whether that’s Skype, Facebook or a good old-fashioned phone call. Also, make sure you’re on the same page about a project, including any applicable deadlines. Nothing’s messier than miscommunication; it causes stress all around, puts people in bad positions and costs both parties time and money.
Check out: Seth Godin on Miscommunication
How do you make your business a place where Everybody Knows Your Name?
How do you make your loyal customers feel special?
Put a smile on everyone’s face?
Photos courtesy of Brad via Sitcoms Online and Richard Branson’s blog
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