A hero ventures forth from the world of common day into a region of supernatural wonder: fabulous forces are there encountered and a decisive victory is won: the hero comes back from this mysterious adventure with the power to bestow boons on his fellow man.
from The Hero With A Thousand Faces by Joseph Campbell
There is a reason why such storylines hit the spot every. single. time. Think of Frodo in the Shire. Neo, working as a software programmer. Harry living in a closet beneath the stairs. It’s an ordinary day in an ordinary world for the hero. Until one day…
…something extraordinary happens.
An evil ring must be destroyed. A fateful choice between a red and a blue pill. An invitation letter from the Hogwarts School of Magic…
“But I’m not worthy!”
“I’m just a hobbit!”
“I can’t be a wizard-I’m just…Harry, just Harry!”
Et cetera, et cetera, et cetera.
Cue the Mentor.
Obi-wan. Gandalf. Professor Dumbledore. Morpheus. Agent K. Mr. Miyagi. The mentor thrusts them across that threshold, where magnificence awaits. There are trials and tribulations, to be sure, strong allies and stronger foes. At the end of the story, for better or worse, the hero is a completely changed character. This is a formula that has been used for thousands of years called the Monomyth aka the Hero’s Journey.
That’s great and all, but how do I use the Monomyth to seduce my clients?
By making the client the hero of your story. Set him on a hair-raising quest that ‘just happens to’ align with your business objectives. A transformation is needed. Something is missing. An adventure awaits. Chart the map and lay out the instruments. Call upon their allies. Every Frodo needs a Sam, right? As a business, you are Morpheus, and your job is to guide clients down that rabbit hole. They are on a quest for what you offer, so do everything in your power to make it a rewarding experience.
You can begin by doing something most companies relinquish to cold automation: actually caring about your clients. Not the lazy version of customer care that involves sending them out into a wolf-infested wood with a red cape and a ‘hey, call us if you need anything.’ Unless you want to always bribe your customers, I suggest you go beyond the promotional offers and discover that the wolf in question might be you.
Imagine the way you ignore a child who wants to play and tell you stories. Pretty soon, that same child will build a 700-ft tall, 300-mile long wall of ice between you. The only way you’ll catch glimpses of them is through tiny cracks in the ice. Reap ice, sow ice.
How can I fix this?!
No way around it. You have to scale that wall, and I will share 5 ways you can go about doing it. Remember: this is about the customer, not you. I’m a stickler for a consumer-centric approach because the stuff actually works. Also, you’re going to need some ice picks and a really long rope.
1. VALUE DELIVERY
This is about going beyond expectations. If I pay for a burger, I want to get the best tasting burger with a fresh salad, golden fries, the good kind of ketchup and a hot towel for my hands. This actually happened to me and it was hands down the best burger I’ve ever had in my life. Granted it was a while back, but I remember telling everyone who would listen to go to that restaurant. Some places today charge more 1,700 shillings for an okay-tasting burger with three sticks of fries. Are you okay with this?
LESSON: Under-sell. Over-deliver.
How do you make a guest feel at home? By setting them a place at the table. I don’t mean literally. I mean, give them a reason to belong. Reward your clients for being loyal. I’ve been waiting for a certain coffee house to do this for years.
LESSON: Create a loyalty program for your loyal customers.
I tried coffee from a different establishment, recently. Let’s call it JuuChini. I ordered the mint mocha, because yes, that sounded good. And it was. The best coffee I’d had in weeks. So of course, I convince my partner-in-coffee to come along the following week. We both order the mint coffee and wait with toes curled in anticipation. Ten minutes later, all the excitement haemorrhages from our toes like a shattered dream. Yes, it was the same mint mocha. But instead of that lovely, large cup from before, it was served in these tiny, little glass cups that are designed to be beautiful, but can only hold a thimble full of coffee (I’m exaggerating of course, but those were the feels). For the same price. When I pay 350 shillings for a cup of coffee, you better give me my big cup. To make it worse, other tables were receiving their coffees in the large cups. The waiter explained that they use smaller cups for some people because they don’t finish…
I’ll stop there.
LESSON: DO NOT FOR ONE SECOND ASSUME WHAT I CAN AND CAN’T HANDLE. GIVE ME WHAT I ORDERED, TAKE YOUR MONEY AND LEARN TO STANDARDIZE YOUR OFFERINGS AND HANDLE CUSTOMER FEEDBACK IN A CONSTRUTIVE WAY, JUUCHINI.
The thing that led me to that idiotic experience at Juuchini was the need for variety. Cheaters, you know what I’m talking about. Sometimes, the impulse for something different is really hard to ignore, which is why those loyalty programs are even more important. Surprise them with something new every now and then. And I don’t mean smaller cups.
LESSON: Find a way to delight your customer without being totally boring. Does this sound like a balancing act? That’s because it is.
I don’t care what industry you’re in and who your customers are. This is the number one rule in the book. Forget all others and remember this:
LESSON: Make your customers feel important and special. Because they are.
We all want a good story that holds us spellbound from the first page, don’t we? Caring about your customers is one such spell. The most powerful one you can master. But if you’re going to become a seductress, there’s a few more than you definitely need to learn.
Did I miss something? Let me know in the comments below! This is also your chance to rant (positively or not) about your client experiences.