Customer Appreciation

After returning from a recent “unofficial” customer appreciation lunch, provided by Trevor Hill, I begin thinking why my wife Jennifer, our friends, and I had such a great time.

Trevor owns one of the best watering holes in Knoxville, The Hill (Twitter: @TheHill_UT).  Instead of inviting a wide group of people, Trevor only told a small group of people and encouraged a couple of customers to create the menu and help cook the food.  It was a blast!  In fact, most of us spent more money than we normally would and all of us showed up on a day we would usually not be at The Hill.  It truly was a win-win for Trevor and his customers.

Working in marketing, I always hear people boast about Customer Appreciation Days, but they never have a strong plan as to how to make it successful.  In fact, I have a manager who constantly recommends that their office should do a Customer Appreciation Day.  Years  before we worked together, their location had a Customer Appreciation Day.  It was your typical event that included giveaways, a radio remote broadcast and, of course, free food.  The “feel good” atmosphere gave an emotional impression of success, but when I ask the manager to quantify the success, there is no answer.

Are Customer Appreciation Days beneficial?  If done correctly, absolutely.  But how?  Here are two tips.

Provide substance: Giveaways and food are expected, but what else can you provide?  If you know your customer, how about conducting a no cost seminar on how to plan for retirement?  Instead of inviting the public, make it a small, intimate event where you focus on an issue that your customers worry about and provide a solution.  If you are a bank, then have a luncheon where you have an IRA specialist speak to the group about retirement options.

Follow-Up: Get with your customers during and after the event.  Ask them what they found beneficial and how it can be improved.  The company I work for has a niche with local business owners, so a few months ago one of our locations sponsored a breakfast meeting with the area’s Chamber of Commerce.  After the event, we analyzed why it was a success.  We asked our team members and we checked with attendees.  We are now doing another event this week based on what was done correctly and improved upon what we learned.  Hopefully it will be an even bigger success than the first event!

There are several different ways to walk away from a win-win Customer Appreciation Day.  These are just two steps that will lead you to a great event.

A big thanks to Trevor and his team at The Hill for providing the idea for this post.

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Say What?!? 5 Things NOT to Say Around H.R.

In addition to being a Marketing Director, I also have the responsibility of handling Human Resources. At the last H.R conference I attended, there were some crazy stories shared. Here are five samples. Hope you enjoy.

  1. I’m aggressively looking for a new job
    What motivated this? A misunderstanding with a fellow co-worker. If you are upset with someone, step up and communicate to them. Sounds simple right? Sadly, some people prefer the passive aggressive way.
  2. Everything’s okay (with uncontrollable sobs)
    It is okay to vent to your Human Resources Department. Don’t get me wrong, we are NOT therapist, but we can be a sympathetic ear. We all have bad days and venting your frustration is a great way of getting over it.  What’s sad is when people try to convince H.R. (or even worse themselves) by saying everything is fine while gasping for air and crying a river. It’s especially bad if you combine this with number 1.
  3. Negative Gossiping
    If you think you have heard a lot of gossip, try working in Human Resources.  If we all believed everything we heard about our fellow coworkers, then we would all be working at the most exciting places in the world. Work would be the best drama on television. Bigger than Jersey Shore and more dramatic than Pro Wrestling.
  4. Overly describing “Last Night”
    “I had a few too many last night…” if it ended there, it would be okay. “Wow, I am sooo tired from last night…” again, not a big deal by itself. If you had a fun night, share all the details with your friends, not with H.R. Better yet, just don’t share ALL the details in general.
  5. Outright Lying
    This one blows my mind. What’s the point in senseless lying? Why lie about something that you know will be exposed in a matter of hours? Some people never learn.

Should someone be fired for any of these items? Not necessarily. We are all human and during a moment of weakness we may do one of these things. People can always be coached and, if they listen, they have the opportunity to learn how to improve.

Trust me, everything is fine…just hand me another Kleenex!

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