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Make your customer feel special

 2 November 2018     Donald Cooper 

Our customers have four currencies in their lives…not just one. A currency is anything of value to us that we don’t have enough of. The obvious currency is money, but there are actually three other things most of us don’t have enough of, including time; feeling safe (physically and emotionally safe); and, feeling special.

There are huge business opportunities in helping people feel more special. In the Western world, a major chunk of the money we spend is for no other reason than to feel special.

A $25,000 automobile will get us everywhere we want to go, safely and on time. In most models, it will even have air bags and air conditioning. But, for many people, it just won’t make them feel ‘special’ enough. They need to spend $50,000; $80,000 or even $180,000 to feel special behind the wheel.

Many folks (not me) cheerfully pay $250 for a $40 windbreaker because it has a designer name scrawled across the back in four-inch letters.  Wow, they pay six times more, just to feel special. And don’t even get me started on $800 designer jeans. They’re just jeans folks – get over it.

As a marketing guy, I love the whole ‘designer label’ thing. Find a niche, tell a story, build a brand, charge a premium price – I get it. But as a human being, philosophically, I’m appalled so many people can only feel good about themselves while pretending to be somebody else.

So, people do want to feel special. Last year I did some coaching for a major yacht retailer. Towards the end of a big international boat show, they were trying to get some prospects back to close a few very big deals on multi-million-dollar yachts. I suggested sending a limo and driver to pick these folks up, bring them back to the boat show; then have the company president meet them at the door and escort them to the booth (you don’t want them to end up in a competitor’s booth). Then have the limo take them home or back to the office when they’re ready to go. People who spend millions of dollars on a boat want to feel special. End of story.

During my salad days as an award-winning fashion retailer, we offered a choice of four free beverages, electric massage chairs for husbands and boyfriends, a Pirate Ship play area for kids, change tables with free diapers, wipes and cream for babies in distress and a magic sign that invited customers to ‘Please take as many items in the change room as you wish!’ No competitor had the guts to do this stuff. Women loved it and thousands of them drove up to three hours for an experience that made them feel special.

It always amazes me whenever I rush into my dry cleaner to pick up my clothes, they’re always right there at the front of the motorised rack. As I approach the counter, Mr. Chen, reaching for my cleaning always says, “Good afternoon, Mr. Cooper. Your cleaning is right here at the front.” I’m always at the front. I love it!

He never asks for my little ticket (which I’ve always lost anyway) and I never have to wait while he searches for my stuff. It saves me time and somehow, I feel special! How does he do it? He makes a point of observing and memorising what car his regular customers drive and as soon as he sees them pull into the parking lot he rotates the rack so their clothes are at the front in order to, as he put it, “Create a small blessing in people’s busy day!”

Whether your business is large or small, whether what you sell is expensive or not, your customers want to feel special. Learn from Mr. Chen. Learn to recognise them, know them and honour them with ‘small blessings’!

Just returning phone calls or answering emails quickly will make people feel special. When we don’t share our customers’ sense of urgency, we dishonour them.

So, what neat little things will you do in 2019 to make your customers feel more special?  Sit down with a few of the best hearts and minds in your business and ask for their help in coming up with ways to make customers feel more special every time they touch your business in any way.

TempurPedic Canada
Sealy Canada
This HGO article was written by:
Donald Cooper
Donald Cooper

Donald Cooper has been both a world-class manufacturer and an award-winning retailer. Now, as a business speaker and coach he helps business owners and managers throughout the world to rethink, refocus and re-energize their business to create compelling customer value, clarity of purpose and long-term profitability.

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Home Goods and its accompanying newsletter - HGO This Week - covers the furniture, bedding, appliances, consumer electronics, accessories, lamps and lighting and floor coverings product sectors of the big ticket home goods market in Canada. HGO is also a forum for the dissemination of market research and hard-hitting articles on best practices for Canadian retailers.

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