It is the holiday day season–a time of joy, giving and celebrating. People decorate their homes, send out cards, cook amazing delicacies, and spend timing thinking about the perfect present for those on their list. Parties punctuate the community; neighbors give salutations with “merry” and “happy” in their greetings. Is it any wonder retail stores count on 30% of annual sales come from the holidays?
What are the lessons learned from the holiday days that can instruct us for great customer experiences all year long? One secret is embedded in Clement Moore’s 1822 poem, “A Visit from St. Nicholas.” At the other end of “…the children were nestled all snug in their beds as…” were the magical words, “visions of sugarplums danced in their heads.” It could have been a poem about today’s customers.
Customers are bored with okay, pretty good, nothing special service. Just meeting customers’ needs is not adequate to build their loyalty. They also want it to come with sugarplums…delightful, compelling experiences that leave them with a memory they are eager to share. Sugarplums were sweet dried fruits—like figs, apricots, and cherries—rolled into a ball and covered with sugar and finely grounded nuts or coconut. It was a simple but delectable delicacy cherished at special events.
The imagery is a great one for the experiences created for customers. “Sugar plums” work best when they are special and simple. Walk in the Ace Hardware in downtown Helen, GA and you are met by Barley, a lazy chocolate lab eager to make you welcome. Betty’s Grocery further down the street has samples in every department and a live, working beehive behind glass in the middle of the store for an instant biology lesson.
There is a running river with waterfall redirected to go right through the middle of town. And, it attracts customers from miles around eager to experience the quaint Bavarian-styled town in North Georgia. St. Nicolas would be right at home. Take a page from the holidays and give your customers “sugarplums” all year long.