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/.
Your organization may reprint this article for your newsletter, online publication, or mailing list. We ask that you print the:
- article in its entirety;
- byline of the writer;
- information about the writer, which is available at the end of each article; and
- contact information, including our toll-free phone number in the U.S. (800-886-2MAX) and link to our website - www.AchieveMax.com.
We would appreciate a tear sheet or electronic copy of the articles you reprint.
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 2017 PEN Literary Awards will be presented at the Beverly Wilshire Hotel on October 27, with the Lifetime Achievement Award going to Margaret Atwood.
The honorees are:
Fiction: Black Sheep Boy by Martin Pousson
Creative Nonfiction: When Breath Becomes Air by Paul Kalanithi
Research Nonfiction: The Perfect Horse by Elizabeth Letts
Poetry: Look by Solmaz Sharif
Young Adult: Outrun the Moon by Stacey Lee
Translation: Confessions by Rabee Jaber, translated by Kareem James Abu-Zeid
Journalism: The White Flight of Derek Black by Eli Saslow
Drama: Roe, by Lisa Loomer
Annie Proulx will receive the National Book Foundation's Medal for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters at the awards ceremony on November 15. Anne Hathaway (who starred in the film adaptation of Brokeback Mountain) will present the award.
CNN reports on "the world's coolest bookstores from London to Los Angeles."
Bookstores, libraries and other organizations across the USA are preparing for Banned Books Week 2017, which runs next week, September 24-30. Shelf Awareness takes a look at what some stores are planning...
David Lagercrantz, who continued Stieg Larsson's Milllennium series after the latter's death in 2004, has stated that he will write just one more book in the series, to be released in 2019. This would bring the series to six books - three by Larsson and three by Lagercrantz.
In an op ed for the New York Times, Matt A.V. Chaban, policy director for the Center for an Urban Future, discusses how libraries in New York City, and potentially, in cities across the country, could find much needed funds to modernize and stay relevant for the long term through partnerships with housing and office developments:
"In 2014, the city selected the Fifth Avenue Committee to undertake the novel task of redeveloping the Sunset Park branch. There, an eight-story building will rise, with the first two floors dedicated to a library 75 percent larger than the one there now. The floors above will have 49 apartments, all of which will be rented to low- and middle-income families in perpetuity.
Imagine if the city did the same at the branch in Corona, Queens, where cramped quarters force study groups to huddle on the floor; or Red Hook, Brooklyn, where families from the nearby housing projects are eager for more job training; or Brighton Beach, Brooklyn, where rising sea levels and storms like Sandy threaten its very operations."
Two TV series based on books scooped the top honors at last night's Emmy Awards:
The Handmaid's Tale won five awards including best drama series, best actress for Elisabeth Moss and best supporting actress for Ann Dowd.
Big Little Lies took five prizes in the limited series categories, including wins for Nicole Kidman and Laura Dern.
James Hohmann, national political correspondent for The Washington Post and author of The Daily 202, leads Monday's issue with a look at the many books Hillary Clinton turned to after her election loss:
"What Happened was quickly strip-mined for political nuggets after its publication last Tuesday. As I went through it over the weekend, though, what struck me most was how the wounded Democrat coped after her crushing defeat last November.
In short, Clinton has read voraciously and eclectically for escape, for solace and for answers.
The collection of works that she cites across 494 pages showcases a top-flight intellect and would make for a compelling graduate school seminar..."
The widow and the biographer of the beloved British children's writer Roald Dahl told the BBC in an interview this week that Charlie Bucket, the young boy whose life is changed by a golden ticket in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, was originally supposed to be black.
Mrs. Dahl made the remark during a conversation with Donald Sturrock, her husband's biographer, on BBC Radio 4's "Today" program. "It was his agent who thought it was a bad idea when the book was first published to have a black hero," Mr. Sturrock said. "She said people would ask why."
After a nine month dispute, Manhattan's Federal District Court has ruled that Matthew Lombardo's theatrical parody, Who's Holiday! a dark and decidedly adult sequel of sorts to Dr Seuss's How the Grinch Stole Christmas does not violate the copyright of the original story.