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Making Customers Feel Special

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“We want to create value for you by sharing marketing tips and timesavers” – O’C&K.

Make your customer feel part of a club.

If you were ever an employee in a large company in the 1990s, you most likely will remember the framed posters around the workplace, reminding us that ‘The Customer is King’. Personally, I’ll never forget reading Fergal Quinn’s 1990 training book, Crowning the Customer. It was like a beam of light breaking through the darkness. For the first time, I was reading about focusing on the customer as the cornerstone of being successful in business. It was explained quite simply as, getting customers and keeping them by looking after them.

At that time, I was working in the marketing communication area of a large company, and I thought that at long last, a business practitioner was talking sense because they had put themselves in the customer’s shoes. Frustratingly, for me, all the usual challenges and cultures that are embedded in the functioning of a large organisation meant that it was hard for our team to convince other departments that focus on the customer’s needs, was all that mattered. However, that’s not the subject of this post. What I want to talk about here is that having left my employment, mentioned above, and set up O’C&K with a business colleague approximately 10 months ago, the importance of a total customer focus, has once again, come beaming through.

70% of customers return because of the way you make them feel.

Needless to say, when you set-up a business, you don’t have a marketing budget per se so you must really focus on meeting customer’s expectations, if you are to survive. Instead of formal marketing therefore, you rely a lot on word-of-mouth, which is based on how the customer feels about what you have delivered. If they don’t feel good, at a minimum, they’re not going to share their positive experience with their friends etc. And anyway, why would they be bothered telling anyone if you haven’t differentiated yourselves by over delivering and making them feel special. Our experience in O’C&K allows us have a passion for excellent communication and our sharing that passion with Irish SME clients enables them to focus on their customers in a smarter way. We operate our client list like a club.

Either way, whether a big or small business, no matter what books are written, or however smart your customer communication is, what will never change is that 70 percent of people do business with you in the large part because of the way it makes them feel. (Source – McKinsey). I think Gary Vaynerchuk nails it in this excerpt from one of his books;

“People want this level of engagement from the companies with which they do business … even the best of what formerly passed for good customer service is no longer enough. You have to be no less than a customer concierge, doing everything you can to make every one of your customers feel acknowledged, appreciated, and heard. You have to make them feel special, just like when your great-grandmother walked into Butcher Bob’s shop or bought her new hat, and you need to make people who aren’t your customers, wish they were.”   – Gary Vaynerchuk, The Thank You Economy

I am not proclaiming that OC&K are reinventing the wheel here – but seriously, doesn’t treating your customers like members of a club seem like an obvious and human way to run your business. Most people thrive on belonging to something be it through sports, politics, a cause etc. and it makes sense that they would look for suitable brands even more so in the current changing business environment. This is what we strive to build with our company. We want to establish a community of clients learning how to do business in a smarter way, together. To this end we are basing our approach on three activities;

  •  Making our customers feel part of something special, repeatedly.
  •  Over delivering – for free.
  •  Making them feel important.

Tips and Timesavers.

So, put yourself in the shoes of the customer – what would you expect from a company you want to be proud of or be in a club with? – here are my expectations:

  •  Acknowledge me as a person not a number.
  •  Communicate with me on my channels.
  •  Be transparent about everything.
  •  Stand by your customer communication / your beliefs.
  •  Thank me every now and then.

To summarise – we know that people don’t want to be sold to anymore, and we are certainly aware that customers won’t put up with bad products or services any longer. In addition, there are many ways that customers (and prospects) can avoid listening to marketing communication. Plus, more than likely they have already researched products / services online and with friends before approaching a vendor, at all. So if OC&K are to remain relevant, useful and interesting in this complex world, we believe that forming a ‘club’ of clients that can grow their business together will go a long way to ensuring that positive recommendations are being shared with prospects. We’d love you to join our club.

If you have any other tips or timesavers please leave a reply below. If you’d like to receive similar content, just subscribe by clicking through the pink button, on this page.  Of course if you want to get in touch, leave your details and perhaps we might meet for a chat, cheers.   Jim – O’C&K