Maybe I'm just a narcissist but if I frequent your business and you recognize me when I walk in the door I'll keep coming back, even if you charge a little more. And if you remember my name...well, I'm yours for life.
Mostly. I mean, you have to back that up with a good product or service, but it generally follows that businesses who consider their customers important enough to remember will provide excellence all around.
I went to my dry cleaner the other day, a business I've frequented for six or seven years. The lady who owns it knows my name and does a great job (although I hate that she staples the plastic bag closed at the bottom). She's not a smiler (some people just aren't) and she's never been the friendliest person but no problem, I'm not looking for a new best friend. That day I just had a question for her, wanted to see if there was a way to fix a small rip in a silk blouse.
Picture this: there's a quarter wall behind the counter and it has a small pass-through and she sits behind that wall and sews and talks on the phone and watches her little tv. When I came in she got up and poked her head around the wall and said, "Yes?"
Okay, first of all, don't you come up to the counter to greet your customer? Wouldn't you assume I have some dry cleaning?
"I just have a question," I said.
"Yes?" Still from behind the wall.
I asked my question.
She said, "Bring in. I see."
I said, "Yes, I will but I don't have time right now, I just wanted to see if it's possible."
"I have to see. Bring in."
"Okay. But are there ways to fix something like that?"
"I have to see."
Well excuse me, but fuck you. Can't you come to the counter? Can't you imagine a small tear in a blouse and spend two and a half minutes discussing the options? So sorry I interrupted your tv program.
My friend Jeannie Walters is a Customer Experience expert (I stole the image from her website!) and there's always great info on her website, like this one: Customer Expectations, Promises and Regret. She helps business engage with their customers, and isn't that what it's all about?
If you're in business your customers want to be engaged. And they have expectations. I don't think mine are unreasonable, dry cleaning lady (are they?), and if I'm loyal to you the least you can do is act as if you have time for me.
So I found a new dry cleaner. She cleaned my dress in one day and...she fixed my blouse quickly and easily and didn't charge me. Oh, and she smiled.
I don't expect her to remember me next time I walk in, after only two visits, but if she does I'm hers!