There are many ways to innovate, but one of the most reliable is in the customer relationship. It’s reliable because you can quickly measure the impact of changes in the way you manage the relationship with your customers. You don’t even have to have a brilliant idea—your customers will often provide it for you (if you ask!).
Nordstrom’s is a great example of a retailer that has achieved differentiation through a unique approach to their customer relationship. Not only do they establish a customer-centric approach to doing business, but they specifically empower their salespeople to go out of their way to give customers a unique level of support and service. There are not many stores where you can return something you didn’t buy there, or where you can ask them to get something they don’t stock. At Nordstrom’s you can do either of these things, and they will try to help. Their personal shopper services are amazing, and lead to a very high level of customer satisfaction and loyalty.
This works because even though one instance of this level of support may be expensive, the cost of acquiring customers is higher, and the value of a loyal customer is higher still.
In this article I want to focus on one simple idea that will help you to differentiate in the customer relationship: it’s called the referenceability metric.
The idea is simple. Ask every customer this one question: “On a scale of 1 ...more >