Before Christmas I read Gary Vaynerchuk's latest book The Thank You Economy. If you don't know, Gary is a successful entrepeneur who took his father's wine business from $3 million turnover to $45 million turnover, and a lot of that success he puts down to social media, and his concept of the thank-you economy.
In years gone by, before the rise of the supermarket, you might have used a local butcher in your village. He will have known your likes and dislikes, he'd have known the names of your children. He might have kept a leg of lamb back for you because he knew you'd be in later, or he might have suggested a new cut of beef based on what you have liked before.
This was true customer service, and he didn't need an ROI calculator to prove to himself that it made sense. In a tight knit community, he knew that if you were happy, then you could communicate that to most of his potential market very quickly.
Feel good filling station
I've filled up my car at least once a week ever since I started driving 17 years ago. I've never had an allegiance to any filling station, or petrol brand. I fill up when the tank needs filling.
But this morning on the way to work I filled up at an independent petrol station that I've used now and again and left with a great feeling.
For the last few years I've had a personalised number plate on my car, but recently I transferred it onto the VW Transporter that my wife drives.
This morning the owner of the petrol station asked me if I'd bought a new Audi, or if I'd just sold the number plate.
It was a tiny, insignificant question, but it said "I know who you are, I know what car you drive, and I know you have changed your number plate."
For the first time in 17 years I had a connection, and a personal conversation with someone in a petrol station.
Guess where I will choose to fill up in future?
How do you connect with your customers?
The Thank-You Economy is real. I'd encourage you to think about how in your business, whether it is Finance, Recruitment, Retail, or Manufacturing you can create that personal connection with your customers. In your systems you hold so much information about them, it really is possible to give the level of customer service that you'd expect from your local butcher or the petrol station I visited this morning.
Do you provide a personalised experience to your customers? Have you read The Thank You Economy? What are the challenges larger businesses face in matching the small company service?We'd love to know your thoughts in the comments section below, and please share with your network and subscribe in the sidebar.