I shop at Dorothy Lane Market for most of my groceries. Why? One reason is proximity. They are located close to my home and very convenient for me. Location is important, but truth be told there are a number of grocery stores within 10 minutes of my house. There must be something else. What is it? Customer Experience.
DLM is all about customer experience. I hate to shop, but I love going to DLM. They make me feel valued every time I go there. They have low employee turnover, which means that the people who work there, even the teenagers, recognize me and greet me with enthusiasm every time I visit. When I’m looking for something, employees will routinely ask if they can help me find it, and then, actually take me directly to the product I’m seeking. If they don’t have what I was looking for, they’ll even order it for me, as was the case recently when I was looking for a specific type of Tabasco sauce. (mmm… Chipotle flavor, nom, nom, nom.)
Dorothy Lane sells food, most of which is very similar to food I can get food a lot of places. What I can’t get elsewhere is the customer experience. For all the shelf space and promotion, you just don’t find that concern for the customer at the run of the mill, big box, grocery superstore mega-plex. Customer experience is what differentiates DLM from the others and creates value for me.
Are they the cheapest? No, but they are price competitive. The value they deliver far outweighs any difference in price. The fact that they offer high quality products and an exceptional customer experience is worth a couple extra bucks to me – even better is the fact that they are local too. I believe, true or not, that DLM gives a damn about me, the customer, and wants to make me happy. They want me to enjoy buying groceries, and they succeed at this regularly. Thus, I reward them with my business.
This is not a post about DLM. You could easily replace them with Zappos or Chipotle or Meadowlark or Jack’s Cosmic Dogs, or Great Lakes Brewing Company, or any number of other brands that focus on Customer Experience as being critical to success. DLM is just the example I chose to illustrate great marketing through customer experience – an example you would be wise to follow.
Check out this great article from Fast Company by Harley Manning called Why Customer Experience is the Only Thing That Matters. It offers some great data and makes a powerful argument about the importance of customer experience in “the age of the consumer.” Here’s a short excerpt from the piece:
- Over the last five years, a period when the S&P 500 was essentially flat, that portfolio [customer service leading companies] produced a cumulative total return of just over 22%. During the same period a portfolio of customer experience laggards returned -46%. That shows that not only do customers reward a superior experience, so do the markets.
Wondering how to win in business today? Common sense and market data both point to focusing on customer experience.
Creating a remarkable customer experience is the most effective way to differentiate your business and the most important place to focus your attention. Sure, your marketing has to do a great job of grabbing people’s attention and telling the story of your brand in a compelling way, but now more then ever, you marketing must be more about actually doing it… and then doing it better tomorrow.