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.
'The two things I love most are novels and birds, and they're both in trouble,' says The Corrections author, one of the world's most famous birdwatchers, in an extensive interview in The Guardian
With less than 10 days to go until Thanksgiving and the start of the holiday shopping season, independent bookstores around the country are finalizing their plans for the sixth annual Indies First celebration. Held every year on Small Business Saturday, the day after Black Friday, Indies First has grown to include more than 500 indie bookstores around the country.
Amazon confirmed Tuesday morning that it has chosen sites in New York City and Northern Virginia as the locations for its new headquarters. As previously reported, the New York City office will be located in the Long Island City neighborhood in Queens. The Northern Virginia site will be in the National Landing section of Arlington, about five miles away from Crystal City, which previously had been reported as the Amazon choice in the metro Washington, D.C., area.
Stan Lee, who as chief writer and editor of Marvel Comics helped create some of the most enduring superheroes of the 20th century and was a major force behind the breakout successes of the comic-book industry in the 1960s and early '70s, died on Monday in Los Angeles. He was 95.
A worldwide strike by antiquarian booksellers against an Amazon subsidiary proved successful after two days, with the retailer apologizing and saying it would cancel the actions that prompted the protest.
It was a rare concerted uprising against any part of Amazon by any of its millions of suppliers, leading to an even rarer capitulation. Even the book dealers said they were surprised at the sudden reversal by AbeBooks, the company's secondhand and rare bookselling network.
The uprising, which involved nearly 600 booksellers in 27 countries removing about four million books, was set off by the retailer's decision to cut off stores in five countries: the Czech Republic, Poland, Hungary, South Korea and Russia. AbeBooks never explained its actions beyond saying it was related to payment processing...
Christopher Lehmann-Haupt, a nationally influential literary critic for The New York Times for three decades, who wrote some 4,000 reviews and essays, mostly for the daily column Books of The Times, died on Wednesday in Manhattan. He was 84.
Jin Yong, a literary giant of the Chinese-speaking world whose fantastical epic novels inspired countless film, television and video game adaptations and were read by generations of ethnic Chinese, died on Oct. 30 in Hong Kong. He was 94.
... For those of us lucky enough to know Todd, it was not only the adorable, customizable structures of the libraries that made him happy but it was something far bigger: community. For Todd, Little Free Libraries were places that strengthened community ties where they existed and built ties where they were absent. And he loved how comments and challenges sparked new ideas and initiatives.
Not enough Little Free Libraries in high-needs communities? Todd created the Impact Library Grants Fund. Interested in ways to engage a community? Todd formed and encouraged the use of the Action Book Club. Looking for more positive interaction between youth and law enforcement? Todd's answer was to create the Kids, Community & Cops program. Looking to create better conversations around books? Pass out Whatcha Readin' buttons. ...
Beginning today and lasting a week, more than 300 booksellers around the world are not selling titles on AbeBooks, the Amazon subsidiary that specializes in collectible and used books, to protest AbeBooks' decision to ban booksellers from several nations, including South Korea, Hungary, the Czech Republic and Russia. The action is called Banned Booksellers Week and was begun, the New York Times said, by British bookseller Simon Beattie.
The plea went out a few weeks ago from October Books in the port city of Southampton, England: "Care to lend a hand?"
Volunteers were needed to help the store move to a new location about 500 feet down the road--a move made possible by a fundraising campaign that allowed the beloved local store to buy its new location for over half a million pounds (about $650,000) thus protecting it from future rent increases--which had forced it out of its former building.
This past Sunday, a human chain began forming from the old October Books stockroom, snaking past 54 doors to the new building. Hand-to-hand, the chain of people passed thousands of books over a few hours.
"It was very moving," Ms. Haynes said, adding that the employees were "all getting choked up" about how members of the community had leapt to help out.