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.
Clive King, who has died aged 94, was the author of several children's books and is best known for Stig of the Dump, the original and imaginative fantasy story of the friendship between Barney, a boy of the modern era, with Stig, a boy from long, long ago who lives in a nearby chalk pit in a home created from things he can creatively and skilfully repurpose from waste, including a chimney from tin cans and windows from glass bottles....
Films based on books might have the intolerable disadvantage of people smugly claiming "the book is so much better", but they also result in a huge boost at the box office.
According to new research from the Publishers Association, films based on books take 44% more at the box office in the UK and 53% more worldwide than original screenplays.
..."In short, published material is the basis of 52% of top UK films in the last 10 years, and accounts for an even higher share of revenue from these leading performers, at 61% of UK box office gross and 65% of worldwide gross," the report reads.
The New York Times has a rare interview with Anne Tyler to coincide with the publication of her latest novel, Clock Dance. Tyler rarely does interviews because she dislikes the way they make her feel the next morning. "I'll go upstairs to my writing room to do my regular stint of work and I'll probably hear myself blathering on about writing and I won't do a very good job that day. I always say that the way you write a novel is for the first 83 drafts you pretend that nobody is ever, ever going to read it."
The good news for fans is that Tyler has no plans to retire: "What happens is six months go by after I finish a book," she said "and I start to go out of my mind. I have no hobbies, I don't garden, I hate travel. The impetus is not inspiration, just a feeling that I better do this. There's something addictive about leading another life at the same time you're living your own." She paused and added: "If you think about it, it's a very strange way to make a living."
The New York Times reports on the changing face of the romance novel genre:
...The landscape is slowly starting to change, as more diverse writers break into the genre, and publishers take chances on love stories that reflect a broader range of experiences and don't always fit the stereotypical girl-meets-boy mold. Forever Yours, an imprint at Grand Central, publishes Karelia Stetz-Waters, who writes romances about lesbian couples. Uzma Jalaluddin's debut novel, Ayesha at Last, takes place in a close-knit immigrant Muslim community in Canada, and features an outspoken Muslim heroine who falls for a more conservative Muslim man, a Darcy to her Lizzie Bennett...
...."Readers want books that reflect the world they live in, and they won't settle for a book about a small town where every single person is white," said Leah Koch, co-owner of the romance bookstore the Ripped Bodice in Culver City, Calif. Last year, six of her store's top 10 best-selling novels were written by authors of color, Ms. Koch said.
Michael Ondaatje's The English Patient (Bloomsbury), the story of an injured, anonymous English WWII pilot and his Italian nurse, has been named the winner of the Golden Man Booker Prize, awarded to the best work of fiction previously awarded the Man Booker Prize over the last 50 years.
In a brief statement released late Tuesday afternoon, Barnes & Noble said CEO Demos Parneros (who had been named CEO in April 2017) had been terminated for "violations of the Company's policies." While not saying what policies Parneros violated, B&N said his termination "is not due to any disagreement with the Company regarding its financial reporting, policies, or practices or any potential fraud relating thereto." In addition to being fired immediately, Parneros will not receive any severance, B&N said. B&N said Parneros's removal was undertaken by its board of directors, who were advised by the law firm Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison LLP.
In his first interview since being accused of inappropriate behavior with women, celebrated novelist Junot Díaz adamantly denied the allegations, including a claim he once "forcibly kissed" writer Zinzi Clemmons.
Díaz, who was awarded the 2008 Pulitzer Prize for his novel The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao, said he was "distressed," "confused," and "panicked" by the accusations, but insisted he had not bullied the women or been sexually inappropriate.
Harlan Ellison, a major figure in the New Wave of science fiction writers in the 1960s who became a legend in science fiction and fantasy circles for his award-winning stories and notoriously outspoken and combative persona, died this week 84. During his life, he wrote more than 1,700 stories, film and TV scripts. The Guardian recommends five of his best...
Donald Hall, a prolific and award-winning poet and man of letters who was widely admired for his sharp humor and painful candor about nature, mortality, baseball and the distant past, has died. He was 89.
Atlas Obscura explains the history behind the, arguably nonsensical, grammar rule about not ending a sentence with a preposition which, "all goes back to 17th-century England and a fusspot named John Dryden":
There are thousands of individual rules for proper grammatical use of any given language; mostly, these are created, and then taught, in order to maximize understanding and minimize confusion. But the English language prohibition against "preposition stranding"--ending a sentence with a preposition like with, at, or of--is not like this. It is a fantastically stupid rule that when followed often has the effect of mangling a sentence. And yet for hundreds of years, schoolchildren have been taught to create disastrously awkward sentences like "With whom did you go?"
...Born in 1631, John Dryden was the most important figure throughout the entire Restoration period of the late 17th century... Dryden twice stated an opposition to preposition stranding. In an afterword for one of his own plays, he criticized Ben Jonson for doing this, saying: "The preposition in the end of the sentence; a common fault with him, and which I have but lately observed in my own writing." Later, in a letter to a young writer who had asked for advice, he wrote: "In the correctness of the English I remember I hinted somewhat of concludding [sic] your sentences with prepositions or conjunctions sometimes, which is not elegant, as in your first sentence."
Dryden does not state why he finds this to be "not elegant." And yet somehow this completely unexplained, tiny criticism, buried in his mountain of works, lodged itself in the grammarian mind, and continued to be taught for hundreds of years later. This casual little comment would arguably be Dryden's most enduring creation.