Give Customers the Warm Fuzzies

Teddy bears, pre-tossing by scazon, on FlickrDo you get excited about new customers? Do you just get so excited that someone has expressed an interest in your small business that you can’t contain yourself?

No?

I had an experience today that gave me the warm fuzzies all over. It made my little marketer’s heart sing to see a big, giant megabank act like a small entrepreneur and get excited over a new customer. So, I just had to share their wisdom with you…

No Lukewarm Welcomes

I’ve been dissatisfied with my bank for a long time (since they stopped being Wachovia, as a matter of fact). A few weeks ago I decided that they’d had enough of my money, thank you very much. So, I went shopping.

In addition to the suggestions I got from friends, I remembered seeing lots of TV commercials for Charles Schwab so I checked out their website. Long story short, I set up three accounts online with them today. As in, this morning.

Here’s where the warm fuzzies come in. Just a few short hours after creating the accounts (and BEFORE any money got moved), I got a personal phone call from a Schwab Investment Consultant. His name was Brad and he genuinely sounded happy to call on me.

Ask the Right Questions

Brad didn’t try to sell me a blessed thing. In fact, he was just checking in to make sure I had everything I needed to feel confident in my decision to become a Schwab customer.

His first question didn’t have anything to do with money or my accounts. He simply asked, “Is this a good time for us to talk for a few minutes?”

Oh, boy. A bank that respects my time and realizes I just might be in the middle of something. I’m already impressed.

His next question was “What made you choose Schwab?”

Bingo! says the marketer in me. Find out what motivated me so you can use it to attract others like me. And, when I told him that I left because Wells Fargo is basically too greedy, he didn’t bash his competitor. He simply said that he hoped I’d be happier at Schwab and that he’d help me along the way.

Follow up, follow up, follow up

Did I mention that you should follow up?

Anything financial is complicated business. But even if you’re selling something that’s less complex, you shouldn’t assume your customer knows everything about it. Follow up and make sure they have all the info, know the next steps, or have a clue how to use your product.

Brad followed up by asking me if I had any questions about moving my money. He listened while I explained what steps I’d already taken and helpfully suggested how I could let Schwab do some of the legwork (and avoid a Wells Fargo fee in the process).

He didn’t have to make that suggestion. My way would have worked and required no effort on Schwab’s part, but he banked a few brownie points by going just a little out of his way to think of an alternate plan.

Make a Useful Recommendation

When someone buys from you, it’s easy to just say yippee! and bolt with your money. But, if you stick around and make a useful recommendation about a complementary product to what they just bought – even if it’s not your product – you’ll bank even more brownie points. And you just might be able to cash those in on another sale.

After a few more questions about my goals and level of financial expertise, Brad suggests I set up a portfolio consultation. Granted, this is a free service (my accounts aren’t Oprah-sized, so no expensive high-brow services for me), but it’s useful and it complements what I’ve already purchased from Schwab. And, if it makes me a better investor and better manager of my household’s everyday budget, then we both win, right?

First Impressions HAVE to Rock

When I got off the phone, my impression of Charles Schwab as a company was incredibly positive. I had talked to two employees who seemed to enjoy their work and like their company. They made me feel more secure in my choice and eliminated any feelings of buyer’s remorse.

In fact, I was so impressed that I dropped what I was doing and started drafting this post. When was the last time your small business made that kind of impression on a new customer?

What companies have you worked with lately that gave you the warm and fuzzies? Leave a note in the comments below and tell us how your experience was special.

 

Image credit: scazon