I received an invitation to a “Cobbler Tasting Party” recently through LinkedIn. Intrigued, I had to see what this was all about and I’m so glad I did.
That’s where I met Monchita of Monchita’s Homemade Cobblers. Her online bakery creates 19 sweet and savory flavors of you guessed it, homemade cobblers. I met Monchita and learned that she has been providing this delicious service to customers for three years. She credits the secret recipe to her great grandmother and as a fourth generation baker, cherishes the opportunity to share what she enjoyed as a child.
I was intrigued how the tasting party came about and learned that Monchita hosts the event as a way to give back to her customers. “As an online business,” she told me, “it’s important to see my customers. And what better way than to give them a taste of our great products.” She told me many customers find a new favorite after attending the tasting party.
As I enjoyed a sampling – or two – of her cobblers, it got me thinking. What she is doing through these tasting parties is a critical part of her business strategy. And any organization can learn a thing or two from her approach.
Find some form for “face time” with your customers.
Regardless of your service or product, your customers need to “see” you. Why? It solidifies a relationship you build with them through the phone, web and even face to face interactions. Face time is dedicated time with a purpose. Monchita uses her tasting event as a way to say thank you even though she sees each customer with they pick up a cobbler order at her store. For you, perhaps it means a time to ask them how you can get better as their provider. It may be a time to gather feedback on a new product or service you are considering. Or, it may simply be a thank you filled with gestures that let them know they matter. Regardless of your method, find some time to “see” them.
Find some way to thank your customers for their business.
For Monchita, it’s a sampling of her cobblers. For you what is it? In a very crowded and competitive marketplace, how often do you sincerely thank your customers for choosing you over everyone else? It’s those little details that go one step above that stand out to your customers. This practice begins with the language we use with our customers on a day to day basis (quick side note – do your employees thank every customer? And more importantly, are they sincere?). Today more than ever, customers have choices. This one degree of difference will often be the deciding factor in their choice to choose you over everyone else – regardless of what “they” have to offer.
Find some method to use those customer moments to grow your business.
During the tasting event, Monchita gets instant feedback on customer favorites and perhaps even comments about why they prefer one flavor over another. That’s golden! A day with customers gives Monchita the opportunity to review her current offerings, assess their financial performance and adjust her strategy for continued growth. While the tasting event is “for” her customers, it is very much “for” her business. Without customer feedback, every organization runs the risk of becoming stale. How dynamic is your business strategy? Is it agile enough to adjust so it can best align to your customer needs? It requires discipline and the most successful organizations allocate the time and effort to it.
I’m glad I visited Monchita. We are connected through a mutual group on LinkedIn (that’s a topic for another day). I tasted some delicious cobblers but more than that, learned how one business leader is engaging her customers. What could others learn from your business?