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Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Connecting With Customers: Nufloors Advice

Nufloors Friends by Lake Okanagan, Kelowna, BCHow do you go about connecting with customers, establishing relationships with them and then figuring out how to best stay in touch - particularly in categories where the replacement cycle takes years rather than days? These were some of the questions explored this past September 2010 during my visit with Canada Nufloors Group members in Kelowna, British Columbia.

[If you remember from Press Release: Nufloors Turning Flooring Customers Into Advocates, Canada Nufloors Group Inc., represents leading Canadian floor covering retailers with locations in British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan and Ontario.]

In addition to sharing my presentation titled "Retail Hospitality or Customer Service Before, During and After the Sale" about connecting with customers, I got to hear wise advice from Cynthia Dean, General Manager of Nufloors Coquitlam, as she shared her experiences ‘Turning Flooring Customers Into Advocates’

Here are points she addressed that particularly resonated with me.

Survey your customers.  You'll find out that you don't know what you think you know. You'll also discover that customers are passionate about you and will give feedback.

Share what you learn from customers with your entire organization. Make everyone a part of the solution. From analyzing the responses, create an action plan that you implement. Then repeat the process. Be sure to measure results. What you measure, you can manage & improve. Furthermore, the process creates a halo effect from focusing on customers on an ongoing basis.

Simple ideas are effective in delighting customers. For example, have umbrellas with Nufloors imprinted available when it rains. Then, walk your customer to her car with the umbrella deployed!

From a practical perspective, Cynthia recommended the following process for dealing with customer survey results:
  • Once you get feedback, don't get overwhelmed.
  • Take the easy ones first
  • Stay focused on 2 or 3 to work on
  • Be sure to research so you have hard data vs. gut feel
  • Develop an action plan.  Tackle problems at their root cause. Make one person responsible for the action plan. Monitor progress once a month, and stay committed.
[A theme that has been coming up repeatedly lately is the importance of focusing and prioritizing.] 

Here are my presentation slides:

Finally, several resources in case you'd like to dive deeper into the subject of Connecting With Customers.

Customer Service [aka Retail Hospitality] Articles

From Tom Peters' marvelous free resources, a document titled "The Independent Retailer Edge: 49 Points of Potential Dramatic Difference."

A Good Hug is Worth based on a presentation by Jack Mitchell, author of Hug Your Customers: The Proven Way to Personalize Sales and Achieve Astounding Results.

Businesses find benefits in giving customers the white-glove treatment.

Wharton: WOM Customers 16% More Valuable

Excerpt from The Gender Intelligent Retailer: Discover the Connection Between Women Consumers and Business Growth, by Joanne Thomas Yaccato

Statistics-Customer Service & Quality

Why Customer Service Buzz is the New Marketing

Will You Recommend This Article to a Friend?

Why Your Customers Don't Want to Talk to You

Classics on Connecting With Customers

As you read through all of this, what comes to mind for connecting with customers? What have you found most successful? How do you establish relationships and develop them consistently over time?

By the way, Kelowna is as magical a place as Rob Banks led me to believe, with vineyards, orchards, mythical beings - if you look carefully in the photo, you'll catch a glimpse of the Ogopogo, cousin to LockNess and active on Facebook and Twitter, who has promised to eat me next time I visit - and unexpected encounters. It's definitely worth a visit to savor marvelous wines - we visited Ex Nihilo Vineyards, Gray Monk and Arrowleaf Cellars - and feast your eyes on brilliant scenery.


  1. Glad you had such a great event up in Canada!

    Connecting with customers definitely starts with listening to them, then taking action based on what they tell you. In order to make it ongoing, it is important to track "customer connection" as a part of every employee's performance measures. Even employees that aren't customer-facing still contribute to the customer experience in some way.

    Looking at the experience from the customer's perspective, getting customer feedback, and making each employee responsible for customer satisfaction will go a long way towards connecting with customers and growing those relationships over time.

    Thanks for this post, CB - you rock!

  2. Becky,

    Those are important points you make - especially that even non-customer-facing employees affect the customer experience.

    Thanks for sharing your wisdom.

    You rock big time!



Reminder: Please, no self-promotional or SPAM comments. Don't bother if you're simply trying to build inauthentic link juice. Finally, don't be anonymous: it's too hard to have a conversation. Thanks, CB

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