Recently, at a Vermont Family Business Initiative Forum, I had the pleasure of hearing Jack Mitchell, CEO of Mitchells Family of Stores, speak about his experience in business and how to be wildly successful in a very fun way. The topic was “Hug Your Customers” and Jack gave everyone a big hug by gifting all of us with a free, signed copy of his book.
Jack’s talk was more than entertaining, it was positively inspirational – mostly due to the many stories Jack told of his experience over the years of hugging his customers. In his talk he referenced Seth Godin’s work on how to stand out as a remarkable business; I’ve been a big fan of Seth’s, including his book Purple Cow, for many years. I’ve done seminars on customer service over the years, even one on How to be Remarkable, and…Hug Your Customers has taken me to a whole new level of excitement on the topic. So much so that we’ll be instituting a Hug Your Customers campaign at the Coaching Center of Vermont.
One of my favorite stories from Jack’s book (and I marked up the book with ‘great story’ notations so I could refer back to get re-inspired) is the one about how Jack found out from a customer, during a transaction at his store, that an innovative idea by the local Department of Motor Vehicles was being held up by lack of parking space for mobile offices. His company volunteered to have a mobile office set up right in their company parking lot, twice a month. Now that’s the kind of hugging we do a lot of in Vermont, community minded hugs. But here’s my favorite part of the story: they gave out free cups of coffee to the people in line and $10 off certificates. Now how would you like to have that experience at the DMV office? As a coach, I often work with my clients on leveraging everything they do and this is a story about super leveraging that I will share from now on. (more…)