Thursday, July 16, 2009

The Power of Appreciation

Provide, 529 Beatty Street, Vancouver, BC
With more interest in my newest keynote, "The Power of Appreciation– How to Win Business By Being Nice", I decided to hit the streets to see what kind of appreciation I would experience in retail, especially with the Olympics coming to Vancouver in a few short months.
I stopped into 3 places in downtown Vancouver to experience their retail brands: Provide on Beatty Street (across the street from my studio), Cookworks on Howe Street, and Urban Fare at Cordova Street.

What I liked about all three are the magic words, customer service.

First, I walk into Provide and the owner Robert genuinely greets me as a neighbor first, not as a possible sale. He is always gracious in offering me a coffee from the Nespresso machines he and partner David sell. We chat about the artisans and hand-selected pieces they choose for their store, as well as the Olympics coming to our city in February 2010 and the impact it will have on retail. Then Robert surprised me with a goody bag from a recent event, an open house I had missed, where designer, Shereen DeRousseau’s jewelry was showcased. Leaving the store with the bag, complete with one of the designer’s necklaces, a fashion magazine and other goodies, I remember feeling appreciated as a customer and I hadn't bought anything! But here I am blogging about the store, the experience, and sharing him with my clients, family and friends. Good news travels fast.

Then I visited Cookworks. Most of my friends know I don’t cook. Though, after the experience I had in Cookworks, I just may start to be able to use the lovely, well-designed, shiny pots and pans, the pretty dish towels, sharp knives, and "oooh la la" stainless steel toasters to die for. Again, the store clerks graciously say hello, dressed in their Cookworks-logoed chartreuse aprons- love that touch. They are all passionate about cooking, baking and customer service, sharing with me information with excitement and care. I purchased Chilewich placemats– I have seen them many places and they were on my to-buy list, so it was perfect timing to say thank you to the store for appreciating me.

Next up was Urban Fare. Okay, now I really want to learn how to cook, I thought, as I eyed the olive oil selection, from organic to international, and everything in between. Fresh fruit creatively displayed, fabulous products neatly stacked, people everywhere to help and answer any question you might have. A real community buzz was going on as well, chatter, laughter, and keen interest in the products. I bought a hand-crafted s’more by Butter, local interior designer Rosie Dayken and mom Pixie’s baked goods, because the logo is so gosh darn lovely and I do like her design and her brand. And she works with her mom- how wonderful is that? I feel like their treats are made with love. Tastes like it too.

What worked about these stores was that from the moment I entered, to the moment I left, I was enjoying myself and the experience they offered. They showed me they appreciated me- they were givin’ me love. And you all know how much I believe in the power of appreciation!

Because of their service, I will tell my friends and family about these places and, even blog about them. Customer service- nothing beats it.

Show your customers you appreciate them from the moment you say hello, whether on the phone, in person, or email. Be genuine, caring, smile. Show the love!

Truly extraordinary service must come from the heart- not from business to person connections, but from person to person connections.