My Grandson, the Marketer
I love to spend time with my Grandchildren. When they are little they are so cute and they each have their own personality. My two year old Grandson can be a bit stubborn (My Mother says he is like me when I was young, my Spouse says he is like me now.) but he also has an easy smile and an infectious laugh. Among his other qualities I recently discovered that he is a marketing prodigy.
I am not saying that he specifically targets his market by defining the characteristics of his ideal prospect then establishes parameters that allow him to form a receptive demographic. He is only two for goodness sake. What I am saying is that he inherently reads people and has a knack for determining the approach that is most beneficial in helping him get what he wants. In other words he can see Grandparents coming from a mile away.
He has figured out that the stubborn approach doesn't work well with old school disciplinarians so instead he chooses to ignore me when I tell him to do something. It stands to reason, if he can't hear me, he can't do what I am asking. Once I have his attention, he quickly smiles and gives you that "I know you love me" look. I almost immediately forget that he was ignoring me, almost. He then does what he was told to do and returns to conquer evil with the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.
This is where he falters, his customer service is horrible. First he tries to deflect my plea for help then he ignores my call to action. He even tries to buy me off with sweet sentiment before he actually does what he was asked. He finally responds when he realizes that resistance is futile. This is the type of customer service that drives most of us insane. You should expect more from a Fortune 500, oops, I got carried away with another quality customer service rant. He is only two years old so I think we can let him slide on this one.
What makes me think my Grandson is good at marketing? It's his ability to get me to help him get what ever he wants. He doesn't speak very clearly yet so when he wants something I inevitably have to ask him to repeat himself three or four times (unless his older sister is available to translate). After I fail miserably to understand him for the fourth time he gives me this "It's O. K. Grandpa, I know you are old so I will walk you through this look" then he takes my hand and walks me right up to the refrigerator, the cupboard or the front door depending on what he is after. If he wants to go outside he will reach his arms up knowing that I will pick him up. If he wants something from the fridge he opens the refrigerator door and points to what he wants. Once he has what he wants he smiles and sits on my lap for awhile.
Did you see that? At two years old he was able to figure out that sometimes explaining things just isn't enough. When this occurs you need to literally or figuratively take people by the hand and walk them to the solution. When you are done it is important to make people feel good about the transaction. The other thing I noticed was that the translation issue was a mutual problem. He didn't assign blame, nor did he mind helping me understand what it was that he needed. We can learn something from this.
As business owners we sometimes become frustrated when customers do not seem to understand what we are saying. Often it is the industry jargon we use along with the fact that our customers don't want to know every detail about our business, they just want their problem solved. That is when we need to "take them by the hand" and guide them to a solution that will work for them.
Then what? Oh yeah, make them feel good about the transaction! Sitting on their lap probably won't work, and I don’t recommend that you try it. However, there are a myriad of other ways to make sure your customer is happy with the transaction. A smile and a sincere thank you go a long way but a follow up call asking if they are happy with their purchase (if it is appropriate for your industry) can help turn a one time consumer in to a life long customer. And once again, quality customer service after the sale is the key to maintaining a long term relationship. I will have to work with my Grandson on that.