CARE About Them

I used to work in the real estate industry and for many years the Brokers held the keys to the kingdom, meaning that only THEY had access to the listings. Today, the power lies in the hands of the customer with access to mountains of information on the internet.  Yes, the business world is continuing to change at lightening speed. With information being indexed, categorized, organized, systematized, ranked, tweeted, posted, podcast, videoed, etc., it is the customer who now sits on the almighty throne with access to all this data. Not a day goes by that I don’t receive a comment from a small business owner trying to understand how to make sense of all this.

It starts with VALUES

Zappos, the online shoe company understands this very clearly.  They VALUE the art of caring. Their customer service department lies within their marketing department. In other words, what most companies would spend on marketing and advertising, Zappos spends on taking care of their customers. It’s one of the reasons why they were able to scale so quickly and position themselves to be sold to Amazon for over a billion dollars.  One of their customer service phone calls lasted six hours. Yes, it’s built into their business model. Paying an employee to chat with a customer is a lot cheaper than spending hundreds of thousands of dollars on manipulative advertising. You know the deceptive formula. Pay famous celeb or athlete millions of dollars to promote, use, and wear, product and YOU (customer) will begin to feel, look, think, and act like that famous celeb or athlete too.  Zappos is way ahead of the curve, an early-adopter. They know that customers are tired of the non-stop bombardment of ads. That’s why TiVo is so popular. Actually, Zappos is just displaying good old-fashion customer service built into a profitable business model. Let the customer try as many shoes as she wants and send the ones she does not like back to Zappos.  Good old-fashion customer service — seems to be working for them.

Best Buy gets it too. They too VALUE the art of caring.  That is why you see a Best Buy greeter at the entrance of every Best Buy store.  They know we want to be acknowledged when we enter their domain. Their employees are trained to validate our egos every step of the way as we ask the endless train of questions on the latest geek gadget of the month.  They even take back our broken electronics when bought from a different store location without a receipt. Why? Because they know how fast geeky guys and gals communicate online and tell all their geeky friends. True story. Happened to me a few months ago.  It was the most positive retail experience I have ever had in my entire life.  In today’s business environment, happy customers tell their friends online. Unhappy customers tell the world online. Take CARE of your customers.

What about YOU? What are you doing to take CARE of your customers? Do you VALUE the art of caring? I think we all have room for improvement. I know I certainly do. Any thoughts? Please post your comments below.

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