What the luxury Market Has Always Known

Luxury market

I have a friend that loves to get her hair done at a place where they give her a glass of wine and remember her name and things about her.  I have another friend that loves a hotel because thy put a note in his room welcoming him, and invite him to a social hour.

The luxury market has known for a long time that making that making the customer feel important was essential to getting their business.  Businesses selling higher end products and services know that their clients want to be treated respectfully, with enthusiasm, and like they are relevant.

Um…..don’t we all? Why should that be limited to the luxury market? There seems to be a belief that only people with money have those kind of wants and expectations from a purchase or experience.  We ALL want to feel relevant and important. So why the heck can’t we? 

Here’s a little secret. That kind of treatment costs little, and in some cases, nothing. Perhaps a front desk clerk at a nice hotel you frequent remembers your name, or a store has your product ready for you when they see you. These things don’t cost any more money. None. Maybe some training, but little more is needed than the desire to treat a human like they have relevance and importance, because they do.

The department stores in the large cities in the early to mid-1900’s that had their employees dress formally, treated the customers like they were the most important people there were, and catered to their egos and needs.  At some point, those methods either became criticized for being to contrived, or fell by the wayside and got lost somewhere in the changing generations and culture. It seems that these days, only the high-end products employ this service culture, a culture that can, and should be enjoyed by all customers, regardless of what they buy, or where they buy it.

Serving someone is not a bad thing. It is not something that makes you a “Servant”. You are merely a person who can make someone feel relevant and happy with their interaction with you. Why wouldn’t you want to have opportunities to make people feel better about themselves. That stuff goes a long way, in the big picture, long after they walk out the door of your business.

For some of us, especially empaths, taking care of people comes quite naturally. But for those for whom it does not, it can be learned, and eventually become second nature. What makes you give return business to someone? Take a moment and write some of those things down, and read them back to yourself. These are the things your customers also want, so if you don’t already, give it to them. It does not have to cost more, but little things that don’t cost that much are received as having a high value in the total customer experience. That glass of wine that brought my friend back to the salon was two bucks at best, but it meant much more to her than what it cost them.

Do what the high-end market has done for decades. Individually treat your guests as though you couldn’t survive without them.

Because you can’t.

What Amazon Does Not Give Your Customers

Give your customers something Amazon cannot.

I have used Amazon three times. It is not that I am against it. I just prefer dealing with humans. I want my emotional needs met with human interaction. If you ask someone why they use Amazon, thy will tell you they love it because of price and convenience.

What they won’t tell you, because they may not even consciously know it, is that there was a litany of needs that DID NOT get met with that purchase. Did they give up trying to fulfill those needs in exchange for cheap prices?

 I don’t think they did.

I simply think we gave up the other needs being met, and settled for value and convenience.

Let’s recall Maslow’s Hierarchy Of Needs:

How many do you think an Amazon purchase fulfills? 

You could argue that a physiological need is met, especially with the purchase of something your body needs.  Safety needs may arguably be met, especially for someone unable or unwilling to physically take themselves to a place to purchase something they need or want. But beyond that, how many of these important needs are met with a digital purchase. The answer is, not very many.

Now, consider the needs that CAN be met when that customer goes to a business that understands their role in humanity and gives them what they need! Nearly ALL of the needs listed above can be met with a positive connection with another human at a place of commerce, even self-actualization.

Look at this chart often to remind yourself of how you can fulfill as many of your customer’s emotional needs that is realistically possible.  Pretty exciting, eh?

I ordered a dryer part that I would never have found in a mountain town store, and a couple of Lego sets my son wanted. I am not, however, “Anti-Amazon”.  I do find, however, that automation kind of ruined the customer service experience, but others would argue that is a fabulous addition to modern society.  Are you aware that since Amazon, thousands of online “stores” have sprung up that are doing nothing more than reselling stuff on Amazon for a little piece of the action? Millions and millions of dollars are being spent trying to find that digital business, with software, click funnels, seminars, and online courses promising to teach you how to get in on that “action”. I would much rather see business learn to connect with customers as an answer to increasing their business versus buying software to fish data and try to do something with it. All the CRMS (Customer Relationship Management Software) in the world is not going to really connect humans. It’s going to connect machines, which does nothing for the emotional needs of human beings.

I optimistically see a retail revolution on the horizon. A day where people come back to brick and mortar, in search of something more than a transaction that fills their immediate physiological need. I think retail will become “Retro”, and businesses will return to finding innovative and exciting ways to attract and retain customers, while creating real human connections that serve us all in to the future.

An Amazon purchase will never be a purchase a person looks back on fondly, at least not the transaction itself. No human connection was made. None. Humans remember the way you treat them, so what do you want them to remember?  How will your next customer interaction go?

I think it will go swimmingly