It took traveling halfway around the world to find real inspiration for this column. And there it was, in a department store in Taichung, Taiwan. A late night journey to find some new running shoes and a few other Far Eastern styles had my wife, son, his friend and I on the 8th floor of the store pushing the limits of closing time.
What Happens When Every Employee Plays a Role
As we started the journey down the escalators, we were greeted on the 7th floor by six or eight well-dressed store employees who gave a farewell in unison that was later interpreted for us as, “Thank you for shopping with us; we appreciate your business.” That was followed by the same message from a new, yet every bit as professional-looking team on the 6th floor, then the 5th, the 4th, and right down to the 1st floor where a line of employees with smiles and smart-looking uniforms echoed the farewell as we spun through the revolving door and out into the busy street. In all, the experience took less than two minutes. Yet by the time we left the store, we truly felt appreciated—and at 10 p.m., in spite of jet lag, we were energized.
How Are You Thanking Customers?
Stop a moment and really think about that question? Ask your crews, salespeople and admin team, and see how the answers vary. The escalator salute by those committed store employees caused me to consider how simple it is to make a lasting impression—and to inspire our customers to be glad they spent money with us. Here are a few of those simple lessons learned from that memorable experience.
A manager led the way. The farewell was initiated by one person who counted off to get the team to say the words in unison. What are your leaders doing to create unity in front of the customer?
Staff looked professional. It was clear that a dress code and uniform was defined by the store, and each employee followed it and looked great—even at the end of the day. What is the last impression your customer will have of your team at the end of the day or job?
Staff was sincerely enthusiastic. It was clear, from the smile on their faces and the spark in their eyes, that this was not just an exercise they were going through. When they said, “We appreciate your business,” they truly meant it because a culture of customer appreciation began long before our trip down the escalator. Does your current culture reflect appreciating the customer?
You Must First Love Your Customers
If you and I want our customers to love our companies, we must first love our customers. Previous, current and future customers can be won back or retained simply by showing this sincere appreciation for their business. You may not have an escalator ride to thank them on, but with a little creative thought you can find infinite ways to energize customers and thank them for choosing to spend money with you.
A Better Way Challenge: Ask your team, “What would your customers write about your company if they were describing it to someone halfway around the world?”