How to focus on the details that start conversations

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We often tell our readers to sweat the details, to look for the small stuff that can make a big difference for their customers and fans, and ultimately, to start great conversations for your brand. But how do you know which details matter?

Here are three ways to look for the details that will inspire the most word of mouth from the stuff you do:

1. Ask the right questions
2. Pay attention to first impressions
3. Think about the right audience

1. Ask the right questions

A lot of sales associates ask questions like, “What are you shopping for today?” But most of the time, the answer only serves their immediate need. But at Coach, if they know you’re shopping for a special occasion, they’ll make a note of it, and turn it into a long-term word of mouth opportunity. For example, one customer told an associate he was shopping for his wife for their wedding anniversary. Now, every year he gets a handwritten note from Coach that congratulates him on their upcoming anniversary. How can you turn the information you get from your customers into something more meaningful?

2. Pay attention to first impressions

One of your most vocal talkers is the first-time visitor — even if they may not come back, they’re much more likely than your regulars to tell people about the new place they visited. So why not give them a remarkable experience? At The Hotel Palomar in San Francisco, they pay close attention to what you bring with you when you arrive. For example, one guest received a handwritten note that said they noticed he liked a certain type of chips, so they bought him some more. Others have received notes welcoming them on their first visit.

3. Think about the right audience

To a little girl, her doll is more than just a toy. So when a kid’s doll is broken, American Girl doesn’t just take it in for repairs, they admit the doll to the American Girl Hospital. And when the doll is fixed, American Girl might send her back in scrubs, in a wheelchair, or with a “Get Well” balloon. These are small details that cost the company a few extra dollars, but they’re also details that mean the world to a child (and makes parents happy).


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  1. Jerry McCoy

    With regulars, pay attention to what’s going on in their lives and build relationships. These will get you loyalty no big box store can match.

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