Book Review: Hug Your Customers

I read Hug Your Customers a number of years ago. It is a great lesson on how taking care of your customers can increase your profits. I reread it recently and re-learned a lot of great principles that can be adapted to any business.

Hug Your Customers

The author of Hug Your Customers, Jack Mitchell, is the chairman of a family company of high end clothing stores. His parents started the business in Connecticut and he joined the business as an adult. Their stores are known for a high level of customer service. Although they don’t physically hug all of their customers, they use hugging as a metaphor for anything that “exceeds a customer’s expectations.”  For some, that is an actual physical hug. Other times it may be a quick turnaround on alterations, delivering to their home or office, remembering birthdays and anniversaries, or even the complimentary coffee and snacks. Their goal is to develop “extremely satisfied customers.”

The hugging starts at the top. Owners and management not only take care of the employees, but they also know their customers. Everyone spends some time on the selling floor and interact with customers. That includes owners, finance, buyers, and alterations. When everyone interacts with customers they create a customer-centric organization. All decisions focus on what is best for the customers. And they expect all employees to find ways to “hug” the customers, not just the salespeople.

Use Technology.

As they work to build long term relationships with their customers, they gather and track information about each customer. The purpose is to better serve them, not to sell or exploit their customers. They look for opportunities to get to know them and record all their information into their computer system. Technology is used to their advantage: to track important dates, names of family members, hobbies, interests, job positions, as well as every purchase they have ever made. Having a system allows them to send birthday cards, and contact them personally when new items arrive from their favorite manufacturer. They KNOW THEIR CUSTOMERS.

Customer Service

They strive to be consistent in what they do for their customers each time they come in, and they recognize that they always need to be upping their game. When you do something that wows and delights a customer the first time, it eventually becomes just standard expectations. They are always looking for ways to do something new, something unexpected so that they continue to delight their customers.

The Hug Your Customers way is to embrace opportunities for above and beyond customer service. When an emergency happens, they step up and help out. That may mean opening the store when it is closed, sewing on a button while a customer waits, or showing up at their office to fit them and deliver in time for an important meeting, a funeral, or a last minute trip out of town. Although they seek to do the very best job they can, they recognize that mistakes happen and rather than denying responsibility, blaming, or punishing whoever is responsible, they embrace it as an opportunity to strengthen their relationship with the customer. When they go above and beyond to fix the mistake, they win loyalty from their customers. They also take the time to learn from their mistakes so they can improve their processes.

Apply it to Your BusinessHug Your Customers

I love this book and highly recommend it to anyone looking to up their game of taking care of customers. You can get Hug Your Customers here. Here are the principles I think any business can apply:

  1. Get to know your customers. Know their families, their favorites, and use that information to show an interest in them and educate yourself on how you can better serve them.
  2. Make your business customer-centric. What if every decision you made was based on what is best for the customer? Not the best way to cut costs or the best way to reward upper management. It’s all about how you can best serve the customer.
  3. Love the people in your business. Take care of the staff and they will better take care of the customers.
  4. Always raise the bar and do something new to exceed expectations of the customer.

Touch Your Client’s Heart is committed to hugging customers. It is our mission to help small business owners find the ways they can hug their customers and create a more customer- centric business. Sign up for a free call to see if we can help you.

 

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