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The latest CommBank survey reveals 78% of Australian customers feel valued when a store remembers their name, previous purchase or order and that 68% of those customers are more likely to return to that business.  Furthermore 81% of customers are more likely to spend more in a store where they feel valued.  Its feedback like this that tells us that consumers of all demographics are craving real relationships with humans are willing to pay for it and will go elsewhere if they don’t get it.

Market leaders such as Lush, Apple and Nespresso are moving away from transaction focused behaviours and focusing on building personal rapport with their customers through a clientelling practice. Sadly, not all businesses on this journey will be successful, even with the implementation of CRM technology.

Customer service training programs, though well intentioned are not keeping pace with today’s more switched on savvy customer. Not only are current surveys telling us that the customer is craving a connection and an experience, their spending pattern also tells us that’s what they want.  The latest Deloitte Access economics review shows a shift away from what is now largely seen by customers as consumer goods to experiences and recreation.  Never before have traditional retailers had to fight so hard for a share of the wallet. Yet there are those who have taken up the fight.

Foodland Frewville, a supermarket in South Australia, was voted the world’s best supermarket for two years in a row.  As a passionate advocate of clienteling and the benefits it brings to business, I wanted to see what all the fuss was about.  I visited on a Tuesday lunchtime.  When I arrived their already substantial carpark was near capacity. What a surprise when I entered the store, I was greeted by the sounds of live music being played in the fruit and veg section.  As I continued my tour through the store, I began to understand why they have taken out the title in 2016 and also 2017. There was a continental bakery in the rear of the store with some of the best bespoke breads and pastries.  Continuing through the back of the store I found a selection of some of the world’s best cheeses, a fish monger and a boutique butcher, all while experiencing the usual fare offered in a supermarket.  That being said, the choice on offer was phenomenal.  Rather than spreading their offer wide they had gone high and as a result had a lot more lines on offer. The surprise and delight continued even at the register, as my basket was being rung up by a lovely lady, she recognised an elderly regular, she excused herself to give him a hug and enquire about his welfare.  The poor gentleman had had a fall and had been hospitalised and this was his first trip out since the fall.  I have no doubt that this act of kindness was important to him.  The absolute highlight of my visit here was as I was lined up to order my burger and champagne for lunch at their onsite café, because I could!  At this point a chap in his 70’s was walking past and the 3 lads behind the counter of the cafe greeted him by name and asked how his fishing was going, as they were engaging in friendly banter with a regular and inviting me on their journey I could see why the likes of Costco and Aldi won’t be a problem to Chapleys Foodland in South Australia.

Transactional and impersonal interactions are not what customers want.  Customers are telling us they are desperate for clienteling to be done right.  In fact, 83% of Australians will pay more for better service.  If you want to be their first-choice business, the one they write 5-star online reviews about, the one they tell great stories about to all their friends, then now is the time to embrace clientling.  As we see in action in the world’s best supermarket.

 Clienteling and customer experience in all service businesses gives double digit growth when fully embraced.  Over 20 years of results has proven this in many environments.  For a no obligation conversation on the art of clienteling and how it can help your business, call or email us.

“The essential difference between emotion and reason is that emotion leads to action and reason leads to conclusion”

Donald Caine, Neurologist

Post Author: Paul