02 Feb 2017

I could have been a brand ambassador.

by Paul Adams

I just went through a retail customer experience that reminded me of two clear lessons that, as corporate leaders, we can learn from.

Let me explain.
For Christmas, my wife decided to give me a new set of golf clubs. Woohoo!
Hoping to have a lot more time to play this year. We’ll see!

I knew I didn’t want to just go get a new set “off the shelf.” If I was going to do it right, I wanted to get clubs that I had the best chance to succeed with. After all, it doesn’t have to cost more to get the right thing for me. It just takes a little time and someone to help.

So, I went to a large golf retailer and had a professional tell me what I needed to buy that would fit MY swing best.

In about 30-40 minutes of testing clubs, he diagnosed that I needed clubs that were ½ inch longer and a little more upright than “standard.” In the end, it was a seemingly minor adjustment to the clubs I have been using for nearly 25 years.

Then, because of the height that I tend to hit the ball, he recommended a different shaft for the clubs so I would have more control.

After testing different shafts and watching the ball in the air and where it landed, he found the right shaft for me.

Think about it—three little tweaks are all he suggested.
So, I said yes, and he ordered them for me.

I’m happy to say that, eight days later, I picked up the clubs and took them to the practice range near my home.

And, the results so far are unbelievable. I have never, ever hit golf balls like that before. Higher, longer, straighter. I still have a long way to go to be a good golfer BUT, my chance of success feels higher because I made three very tiny adjustments to the tools I am using. I still have to work on the fundamentals required to be good but I feel like I’m positioned to do so.

In our businesses, often, two or three tiny adjustments can mean the difference between success and failure.

And, we need someone (often from the outside) to help us understand what those tweaks are and why we need to make them.
Having a coach or an outsider look at our businesses is one way to do it. If you don’t have one, or don’t have someone who can share ideas and honest feedback with you, I strongly suggest you find one.

It’s amazing what a ½ inch and 2 degrees of adjustments might do for your business.
That’s lesson 1.

Now, lesson 2.
When I picked up the clubs, I had a decent experience with the retailer, nothing super special. Friendly, courteous and seemed a little happy I had purchased from them. They stopped just short of where they could have gone with me to guarantee I would come back. With a little extra effort or attention, I could have been a raving fan, but for now, I’m a customer. And, in terms of lifetime value, those are two different things.

But, the experience from the club manufacturer was very different—in fact—nonexistent.

When I picked up the new clubs I had ordered, I was handed a brown box with the name of the manufacturer on the side of it. A simple, cardboard box. Inside the box were my clubs, with a brown cardboard divider that kept them from bumping into each other. And, each club had a piece of plastic shrink-wrap around the club head and then a piece of bubble wrap over that.
That’s it!

No “Welcome to the XYZ family.” No brochure to suggest other stuff. No 10% off a new hat with their logo on it. (I would have bought it that day!) No “follow us on Facebook or Instagram” note. Heck, why wouldn’t you beg me to post a picture of me using your clubs?

No list or photos of all the golfers who use their equipment. And, frankly, they are paying a ton of money to have some of the top players in the world use their equipment. Why not make me part of the family that follows them and cheers for “my guys.” I want them to be “MY guys.”
But no…they just came in a plain brown box.

Could they have made little more effort? Made a better impression by using some other material or color so that, at the very least, when I walked out of the retailer, every single person knew I was carrying their clubs? Would that have cost an extra quarter per box? Maybe.
I just don’t get it!

I want to be a part of their little world. I want to see someone else using the same brand and give them the “knowing nod” that we have something in common. Like we know something special that the other guys don’t.

Why do we, yes WE, NOT make a giant experience for our customers?
Why don’t we make our customers feel super welcome and part of a unique family?
Why don’t we build an amazing community of people who give each other “the knowing nod” of being part of something special?

Why don’t we….
I could go on and on.

When you have someone, who says “yes” and purchases your product, for crying out loud, make them feel like you care!

Make them LOVE the experience.
Make them raving fans!
It won’t take much, I promise.
And the stories they will tell. WOW!
What would the stories do for your business?

  • Greg Neethling

    I LOVE this article. Thanks for this one. I am such a strong believer in the customer experience and that feeling always seems to be thwarted by the nay-Sayers saying it isn’t worth it to do all those little extra things. Some of my simplest of purchases are the most memorable, due to the customer support and care that was taking during my purchase