Hug Your Customers - AchieveMax® Top Ten Book Review
Don't panic. Jack Mitchell, the author of Hug Your Customers: The Proven Way to Personalize Sales and Achieve Astounding Results, isn't suggesting that you take his title literally. Hugging your customers, he says, has nothing to do with being touchy-feely around them and everything to do with offering them over-the-top service. His advice is hardly groundbreaking. For instance, what rookie employee has not heard the old adages such as "know your customer, think outside the box, have a 'no problem' attitude"? While we've all heard this obvious, age-old advice repeatedly, how many of us can honestly say we've seen it practiced with any level of success where we shop, eat, travel, etc.? That's the point of this book. Everyone knows what should be done to create repeat customers ... very few people do it!
Chances are pretty good that you've never heard of this author or his business establishment. Jack Mitchell is co-owner and CEO of Mitchells/Richards, two independent clothing stores in southern Connecticut and New York's Westchester County (two of Manhattan's most affluent suburbs). This upper-end clothing retailer dresses many Fortune 500 executives from Chase, GE, IBM, Merrill Lynch and Pepsi to name a few. Today, Mitchells/Richards sells $65 million in apparel annually. However, the store began as a modest family business, started by Jack's dad in 1958. Don't make the mistake of tuning out at this point because you don't work in the clothing business. What Jack learned from his father decades ago can be applied to any and all customer-centric businesses that appreciate the importance of knowing that having satisfied customers no longer insures success-you must have extremely satisfied customers who want to return time and time again and encourage others to do the same!
Mitchell credits his family store's success to making the store a home, where customers feel welcome. Mitchell says his parents: "... understood that customers wanted five things more than they wanted a great location or enormous inventory:
A friendly greeting
A business that makes them feel special
A 'no problem' attitude
For Mitchell, that means literally offering a customer the coat off your back, if that's the only one left in the store in the customer's size and preferred style and color. It means going to customers' homes to tie their bow ties for big events. It means serving coffee and bagels in the store and giving away hot dogs in the parking lot on summer Saturdays. Some might view this as fawning, but for Mitchell, it's the best way to keep customers coming back. You, of course, will have to determine what it takes to "HUG" a customer within your environment. This would make an excellent exercise for your staff. Once the crucial determination is crystallized, discuss expectations, training, and follow up to insure success.
Mitchell writes: "When you have strong relationships, customers will do more of their buying from you. They'll refer other customers. They'll communicate with you better and tell you what they like and what they don't like, in turn making your business more efficient and effective."
The author points out that hugging is difficult to quantify, and many companies ignore customer satisfaction and customer profiling altogether. While inventory is recorded on the balance sheet, Mitchell tells us that a company's greatest asset-repeat customers-doesn't appear on any financial statements.
Further, while companies invest significant amounts in computer systems, they rarely develop computer systems that support a hugging culture.
Mitchell writes: "What's amazing is that although personal relationships are absolutely crucial to any company's success, they are rarely tracked by any system. Hotels don't know who likes queen-sized beds and who wants extra pillows. Airlines don't know who prefers aisle seats and who prefers the window." Can something similar be said about you, your business and your customers? If so, take action to correct this situation.
Mitchell is a big fan of profiling customers to provide more personal service. He likes his sales associates to know which customers like M&M's and what nicknames they prefer.
Knowing personal information about each customer is nearly impossible without a database to support this information. However, it doesn't stop there. I know of many companies who boast a tremendous database and yet do nothing with it. Like any other customer service strategy, knowing it is not enough. You have to use it. In today's unbelievably competitive marketplace, there are few who "use it." So-o-o-o-o, define your "HUG," make it an expectation, train your staff to "HUG," practice it, and then, most importantly, "HUG!"
More than 100 business book reviews written by Harry K. Jones are available at www.AchieveMax.com/books/index.htm">http://www.AchieveMax.com/books/.
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www.AchieveMax.com/motivational-speaker-harry.htm">Harry K. Jones is a professional speaker and consultant for AchieveMax®, Inc., a firm specializing in custom-designed keynote presentations, seminars, and consulting services. Harry has made presentations ranging from leadership to employee retention and time management to stress management for a number of industries, including education, financial, government, healthcare, hospitality, and manufacturing. He can be reached at 800-886-2MAX or by visiting www.AchieveMax.com">http://www.AchieveMax.com.
In the summer of 2016, Curtis Dawkins, a felon who is serving a life sentence in Michigan for murdering a man during a botched robbery, got some unexpected good news. Scribner, one of the top literary publishing houses in the United States, wanted to publish his debut collection of short stories, and offered him $150,000.
When "The Graybar Hotel" came out last summer, he was praised as a gifted stylist whose stories illuminated the often overlooked lives of prisoners. The book was also a boon for his family: Mr. Dawkins directed the money into an education fund for his three children.
But his surprising literary debut also caught the attention of Michigan's attorney general, who now wants Mr. Dawkins, 49, to use his financial windfall to pay for his incarceration...
The Booker Prize Foundation has launched the Golden Man Booker Prize to mark its 50th anniversary. This special one-off award will crown the best work of fiction from the last five decades of the prize, as chosen by five judges and then voted for by the public.
The Golden Man Booker will put all 51 winners which are all still in print back under the spotlight, to discover which of them has stood the test of time, remaining relevant to readers today.
Barnes & Noble is trimming its staff, laying off lead cashiers, digital leads and other experienced workers in a company-wide clearing, CNBC has learned from sources familiar with the matter.
The news came abruptly for many workers who showed up Monday morning at various Barnes & Noble locations to be notified that they no longer had a job. The number of affected workers couldn't immediately be determined. As of April 29 of last year, Barnes & Noble employed about 26,000 people.
The American Library Association presented their annual book awards today.
The Newbery medal went to Erin Entrada Kelly for Hello, Universe (Greenwillow Books) and the Caldecott Medal to Matthew Cordell for Wolf in the Snow (Feiwel & Friends).
Nina Lacour won the Michael L. Printz Award for We Are Okay (Dutton Children's), and Angela Johnson won the Margaret A. Edwards Award for "significant and lasting contribution to young adult literature." The William C. Morris YA Debut award went to The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas (Balzer + Bray), which also won the Odyssey audiobook award. Deborah Heiligman's Vincent and Theo: The Van Gogh Brothers (Henry Holt) won the Excellence in Nonfiction award, while Larry Dane Brimner won the Sibert Medal for distinguished informational book for the Twelve Days in May: Freedom Ride 1961 (Calkins Creek).
Jacqueline Woodson received the Wilder Award, honoring an author or illustrator whose books have "made a substantial and lasting contribution to literature for children."
Renee Watson received The Coretta Scott King award for Piecing Me Together (Bloomsbury Children's), and Eloise Greenfield received the Coretta Scott King-Virginia Hamilton Award for Lifetime Achievement.
Former Hong Kong-based Causeway Bay Books manager Lam Wing-kei said during an interview with a foreign radio station on Tuesday that it is almost certain that he will open a book store in Taiwan and if the operation of the store is smooth, he will consider going back to Hong Kong to open a new book store.
Lam is one of five men associated with publisher and bookstore Causeway Bay Books who disappeared at the end of 2015 and reappeared in China a few months later. He said they were kidnapped by Chinese public security. The incident directed the world's attention to the issue of China's heavy-handed suppression of free speech and press.
More than 1,100 new words were included in the latest update to the Oxford English Dictionary's online edition, with more than 100 of them relating to parenting.
"Mansplain" also enters the dictionary for the first time. According to the OED, just 10 years ago the word did not exist, "but the verb (of a man: to explain something needlessly, overbearingly, or condescendingly, especially to a woman, in a manner thought to reveal a patronising or chauvinistic attitude) and the concept it describes now have a firm foothold in the language".
Gui Minhai, the Hong Kong bookseller and publisher who has twice been seized by Chinese authorities--most recently on January 20--is being awarded the International Publishers Association's Prix Voltaire for "his bravery in continuing to publish despite the risks involved."
The National Book Foundation today announced it will present the National Book Award for Translated Literature, beginning this year at the 69th National Book Awards in November. This prize, which represents a fifth National Book Award category, will honor a work of fiction or nonfiction that has been translated into English and published in the U.S.
The poet and author Helen Dunmore, who died in June 2017, has been awarded the Costa book of the year for her final poetry collection, Inside the Wave.
Dunmore, who died last year aged 64, is only the second posthumous winner of the book of the year category in the prize's history, after her fellow poet Ted Hughes won for Birthday Letters in 1998, and only the eighth poetry collection to take the top award.
Inside the Wave considers her terminal cancer diagnosis and impending death.
Fantasy author Ursula K Le Guin has died at her home in Oregan, aged 88. A prodigious author, her career spanned more than half a century. She won numerous awards including the Nebula and Hugo science fiction and fantasy awards, the Newbery Medal, and the National Book Foundation Medal for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters. In 2000 the US Library of Congress designated her a Living Legend for her contribution to America's cultural heritage.