Posted by: stephenfetters | November 3, 2015

Why a High Touch Philosophy is Worth the Time

I think we all are aware of the challenge known as “Creating high touch in a high tech world.” As small business owners we concentrate on how to build our email list, or the number of “likes” for our Facebook Page.  Wouldn’t we be better served if we spent some time on building individual relationships?  

Here is a post with some interesting solutions to this vexing problem. 

Hi-tech is not a reason to sideline high-touch – a lesson for the travel industry from a shoe seller

NB: This is a guest article by Carla Caccavale, brand strategist at TrustYou.

I recently sat on a panel addressing destination marketers about just that: destination marketing today and tomorrow.

But when panel moderator Gene Quinn of Tnooz asked us to give our overarching take on the topic, I took off my marketing hat.

I shared what I thought what is most meaningful to me as a consumer: in this high-tech world we live in, don’t lose touch with high-touch service.

This doesn’t just apply to destinations; this holds everyone from hoteliers to shoe salespeople. It was my “shoe lady” at retailer Neiman Marcus who drove this point home just recently.

We are communicating more and more via email (sadly it is exclusively via email in many cases). So, as I am sure you can relate to, when I open my email at 6am I have at least 25 new messages waiting for me (in the span of six hours when I last checked before bed).

Many tend to be from retailers; buy this, try that, new product, big sale, etc. I must admit I fall victim to these emails (I am every clothing and shoe marketer’s dream). I have saved and texted the photos to Ronni, my “shoe lady” telling her I must have these.

I needed an intervention and decided on a self-imposed one. I made the conscious decision to delete all of these shopping-focused emails during the week. I am not going shopping, so no need to look and be tempted. Done deal. Or so I thought.

Soon after this decision I got an email from Ronni. She wanted to make sure I knew about the new promotion going on; spend $X,XXX and get an $XXX gift card.

She thought I would be interested and reminded me that she can help me shop throughout the store, not just in the shoe department where our relationship first began.

I thought to myself:

“Ronni, what would ever make you surmise that I would be interested in such a promotion?”

No, not really. I actually looked around to see if there were any cameras watching me. How does she know about my decision to delete these emails without looking at them? I was incredibly impressed that she reached out to me personally.

Then I thought of the travel world that I operate in.

  • Why isn’t anyone else doing what Ronni is doing?
  • Why isn’t the island that I love to vacation on not touching base to see how I am?
  • Why is the hotel that I like to getaway to for a weekend not checking in to see if I am in need of a night out?

Because they expect me to pay attention to the emails they are sending and Facebook posts they are pumping out at a dizzying pace.

Guess what? I’ve tuned you out. Information overload has gotten to me.

All too often we pride ourselves on the “size” of our database. How many email addresses we have to blast the next offer or sale to.

When was the last time that you followed up an email blast with a personal note? Sent along a reminder of a romance package and said:

“Dear Mr. X, We’ve missed seeing you and Mrs. X. If I can help make arrangements for a surprise visit, please let me know. I would be happy to handle you reservation personally.”

What if the spa associate at a hotel emailed a client and offered to not only help them at the spa, but make room and restaurant reservations as well (remember Ronni offered to help me throughout the store, not just in her department).

Two other points I made on the panel were:

  • look outside the industry in which you operate
  • take off your marketing hat and be a consumer

Which brands are leaving an impression on you?

Other than my four kids, do you know who sent me a Mother’s Day card? Women’s fashion site Tory Burch.

Okay, maybe not Tory herself, but I got a card and that stuck with me. It included a gift card, which I not only used, but wound up spending more on top of that

I don’t care if that was their plan all along. They are the only brand that thought to send a Mother’s Day card. Everyone else spammed me with Mother’s Day sales.

Whether it’s a follow up email, a handwritten note or, do I dare say a phone call, we cannot sideline the value of high-touch service when our guests are not with us.

We focus on the on the “in the moment”, but not the after the moment. Stop getting their emails and then never looking them in the eyes again. If you are just blasting (via mass email) and not hand holding, you are missing an opportunity.

In these email infatuated days the personal touch can make a difference. It can make the difference between spam and a sale.

NB: This is a guest article by Carla Caccavale, brand strategist at TrustYou.


Responses

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