The Nuances of Customer Experience

In preparing for the wedding, my fiancee and I have had a chance to talk to a large number of vendors for suits, for flowers, for chair covers (I never thought I’d see the day), for catering and more. It afforded me the chance to see more clearly the patterns of customer service.

suitOne astounding example was when I went shopping for a suit from two stores that had virtually identical stock.

The first salesperson was distinguished, well-dressed, and spoke in that confident way of knowing what was best for me. He picked out a suit for me, and we noticed that the back of the suit caved in. His rationale? It was because I’m a skinny person. Next!

The second salesperson on the other hand, welcomed me warmly, congratulated me about the wedding, asked about who my bride-to-be was, how the wedding planning was going. He was genuinely excited about my engagement and exuded delight at being able to find the right suit for me. And he did (the back of the suit did not cave in). Even after the sale however, he suggested that I hold off on the decision because he wanted to order in a few more new styles in from the head office. Sold!

It is so simple it seems. Be genuinely interested in helping your customers. Especially in an industry where you are selling thousand dollar suits, customers want to trust that you are listening.

The hard part, of course, is that you want to make a sale. Maybe you need the extra money or you want to get rich. Slowly, but subtly, you rationalize that this is the best product for the customer and you don’t need to spend all this extra fluffy time building relationship. For high-end industries, this is likely a losing approach.

So what specifically did the second salesperson do that was so effective?

  • He knew his products and was excited about them.
  • He connected with what was important to me.
  • He listened. I repeat… he actually listened.
  • He demonstrated that meeting my need was more important than making a sale.

Ultimately, you cannot fake the above. It comes back to a fundamental desire to be truly helpful to others. Get this quality down and it’ll be much easier to get the others.

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