Sunday, July 4, 2010

VIP Treatment

How regular is your routine? Is it so regular that when you look back, the rut is so deep you are in fear of violating some OSHA code for not supporting the walls around your dig site?

Sure, we have our processes; open store, paperwork, block and face, then wait for the customers/guests to come in. Is your approach to your customers/guests an individual approach or do you tailor your interaction to the person as they come into you operation?

A good friend and mentor writes 5 blogs a day. I've told him that there are days when I feel that he writes his post just for me and not for the thousands of others who stop by and view his blogs each month. To me, he is giving me the individualized, red carpet treatment. He is treating me as a VIP, a Very Individual Person.

Part of the process of creating an individualized experience deals with understanding the types of guest that come into our stores. I have identified 4 main categories that most of our customers fall into.

1. Commando - They have their routine. They have a laser-like focus. They walk determined and are ready to get in, get out, and get on their way.

2. Information Seekers - These customers/guests come in and usually head straight for you. They may have heard of a product but have no intention of buying from you. They may just be using you for your expertise but spending their dollars elsewhere.

3. Gliders - These customers/guests wander in at a leisurely pace. They generally stop one or two steps inside the store. They may be looking around just letting the signage, colors and layout sink in. They seem to float through the store as if they were driven by prevailing winds.

4. Deny-ers - These people may have to turn sideways when coming into your operation. Why? The chip on their shoulder is so big or their ego is so huge we need to consider doubling the entry way so they can fit into your shop. They already have all the answers and they want to share their (mis) information with anyone who will listen. Nothing works because they have tried everything. 

Do these types sound familiar? How can you be prepared for each of these guests? Your body language, tone of voice, the speed and volume of your words should mimic that of your guests.

Where this won't work is with negative emotions. If your guest comes in angry, you remain calm. If your guest is frustrated, you remain reassuring. If your guest comes in doubtful, you remain confident. Adapt your style and your approach to that of the individual. 

Create and individualized approach to make your guests feel like they are walking the red carpet!


  1. David, kept checking your blog for new posts. June was a dry month, and now here we are on this glorious Holiday.

    Love the four customer categories. Did you create those?

    Your comment about reading it as if it's only for you is humbling. Very glad the thoughts speak to you at such a personal level.

    And thank you for the reminder that there is never a good time to be going through the motions.

    We surely wouldn't want our mechanic or children's pediatrician to.

  2. Yes. I created the categories. Observing the types of guests that came in over a 2 day period was eye opening. I was training a new employee and I used the opportunity to tailor my approach based on the guests' body language and how loud or soft they were speaking.

    June was a busy month and a dry month in the blog world. July will provide some wonderful blog opportunities.

  3. Your four types of customers is very similar to what I found with Roger Reid and David Merrill did several years ago in a book called "Personal Styles & Effective Performance." They identified four different types:

    Drivers-Similar to your Commandos
    Analyticals-Similar to Information Seekers
    Expressives-Similar to Gliders and Denyers, depending on whether they are in a good or bad place
    Amiables-Those who shop based on relationships.

    I described them in the context of Disney in a two-part retail article I wrote last month:

    Hope that furthers the conversation.


    J. Jeff Kober

  4. Jeff and J.Jeff,

    Thanks! In our most recent staff meeting, we discussed how to get more of those in the "Amiable" category.

    A recent study showed that the number one place people went for advice on vitamin supplements (I manage 2 GNC franchises) was their friends. We want to be their friend. We are working on our relationships, our reputation in the community and getting more referrals.

  5. And J. Jeff Kober,

    I just downloaded your book, The Wonderful World of Customer Service at Disney, to my Kindle. Looking forward to the read!