Summer’s almost here! A time to relax, enjoy outdoor meals, get new summer clothes, take vacations, make new friends, and create memories with those you love.
But can summer also teach us something about creating memories with our clients? Yes! It can help us remember that when emotion is attached to a memory it becomes more indelible. People are more likely to remember experiences— both good and bad—when they are tied to emotion.
How do you want customers to remember their experiences with you? Here’s a six-step S-U-M-M-E-R plan that can help.
State your intention. Let your team know that this summer you want everyone to deliver legendary customer service. You want them to look up and notice people—smile at them, inspire them, and listen to them. Last week I was shopping at an upscale boutique to purchase a magical present for a friend who is turning 40. I found it interesting that the salesperson never actually looked at me. She looked at my shoes (hmmm—maybe they weren’t upscale enough for her standards), at the merchandise, and at the cash register. She never looked at me. I left the store feeling invisible and unimportant. Share this with your team: customers fuel business. And tell them you want them to appreciate each and every customer who chooses your establishment!
Understand customer needs. Have your team ask questions that drill down into specific customer needs. It’s nice to begin with “How may I help you?” But then, after listening to the customer, check for understanding by repeating back to them what you heard. If the person is doing a home improvement project, listen to their vision and ask clarifying questions. Make it your top priority to understand the customer’s needs. I once watched a woman share that she wanted to grow some vegetables in her garden, and the salesperson silently pointed to the back of the store where the plants were located. As I looked to the left, there stood a rounder with seeds of every type. I wondered if the customer had wanted plants or seeds. When you understand customer needs, you save them time and show you care.
Mine new ideas. At this time of year, people are rushing to get home so that they can be with others and have fun. Have you made it easy for them to do business with you? Ask your team and your customers: “What can we do to make it easier to do business with us?” Write down the top ten—and implement five of them as soon as possible! At a five-diamond resort where I was training, one of the customers made a suggestion: “You could entertain my kids while I am checking in.” What a great idea! And now it is a practice embraced by that hotel so that parents can focus on checking in. Many simple ideas, put together, create a conscious flow of new ways to engage people.
Make memories. Do little things that let people know you care. If a customer tells you they are shopping for a certain item, don’t just point in the direction of that department—take them there. On the way, remind them of what else they might need to make their purchase even more fulfilling and complete. Recently, I was purchasing a sundress and the salesperson said, “We have a sandal downstairs that matches this shade perfectly—would you like me to run down and get a pair in your size so you can try them on?” Well, of course, I got the sandals, too! Note: Because of the caring and personable way the salesperson made the suggestion, I saw it as a helpful idea, not an up-sell.
Engage the emotions. Summer is fun, joyous, and light. It gives people an opportunity to relax. When you infuse your conversations with action verbs and emotions, you actually wake up the hippocampus—the part of the brain that activates long-term, meaningful memories. Infuse your language with emotions such as “Wow, that must have made you feel joyous”—or blissful, thrilled, wonderful, enthusiastic, exuberant, assured—you get the idea!
Reconnect: How do you create lasting memories of summer? With the last memory you give to your customer. Be sure to follow up with customers and see how they like the product, if they have any suggestions, any other needs, or any examples of how they used it. And if you think of something else they might need, give them a call and let them know you thought of them and had X Y or Z for them.
Remember, summer is a time for making memories. Use this six-step S-U-M-M-E-R acronym to remind yourself and your team how to create positive memories for the people you serve this season. Give someone a mini-vacation by giving them legendary service. Set an intention that everyone in your presence will feel just a little better about their life after being with you. And have a great summer!
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