Inception Customer Service

By | August 13, 2010

As I mentioned in a previous post, implanting an idea in another person’s mind and having them think it’s their own is the basic premise for the movie Inception. Here is how to use in your customer service.

Because today’s customers are very demanding with high expectations suppliers must be ready to deliver what the customer wants. The more the customer feels like they want to be part of the organization, the more they will tell others about your organization.

The Regular

Customers love to be recognized as a regular, be called by name, be able to say “the usual” and the server knows what that means. I know of a guy who has his preferred drink waiting on him at his favorite table as soon as they see him drive into the restaurant parking lot. Now what came first – the great service, or the fact that he dines at this establishment so often they just got to know him. Now the brain-twister: does he come there 3 to 4 days a week because it’s his idea or because the establishment has such great service they implanted the idea in his mine he could become a regular with that level of service if he just came back more?

People like to be known as regulars, people like to think they are memorable enough the service provider knows how they order, what they like to wear, that they like to be on the cutting edge of technology, and people like to be recognized as a member of the club within the club (“Welcome to Marriott Mr. White. I see you are a gold member with us and we are glad to have you back staying with us.”)

These are what will bring customers back time and time again and they will think it’s their own idea to make that choice.

The Rewards

Don’t be fooled that reward programs make a difference. It all depends of the value of the rewards. For example my Marriott points will allow me to accumulate them until eventually they will provide me with a couple of “free” nights I can use for vacation. This has value on many levels.

The new key chain tag I now have from Panera they scan on each visit will eventually give me a free bagel every ten visits or so. This doesn’t have the same value because I know the buyer data they are collecting from me is of far greater value to them than the bagel they give me in return.

Hey Panera, how about a “First Class” line for those who accumulate enough visits to achieve a preferred status? Or a sample bagel of the newest flavor you are beta-testing periodically? Now this program would have more clout because the customer now feels of more value. And that’s the point. When I feel that I get special treatment (that I am willing to earn) at any establishment suddenly your location becomes my preferred destination – and “I thought of going there all on my own.”  Really now.

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