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Be the Prada of the Internet

June 7, 2021
BETTER BIZ

We talk a lot about customer obsession in the digital world and we can safely assume that at least 80% of all startups out there have this word as a principle written down in a document somewhere. But few of us succeed to truly be customer obsessed and give an experience which exceeds customers' lowest expectations.

Last week it was my boyfriends birthday and I wanted to give him something beautiful and memorable to mark this day in our history. Well aware of his preferences, I went to a high-end Italian store, Prada, which oozes exclusive on 1 km distance. It does not scream though, it whispers rather in a delicate way which can in no way be perceived as offensive. However, it might definitely feel discouraging, which they are aware of. Well, so far, no learnings or takeaways to apply on digital products here since we rather need to scream in a crowded space and have a low-threshold sign up process.

What I would like to highlight is the experience from setting my foot outside of the front door to leaving the store with a nicely wrapped gift in a perfectly sized bag, and a neatly dressed rainshield over it to protect my purchase. Absolutely delighted.

True customer obsession

We talk a lot about customer obsession in the digital world and we can safely assume that at least 80% of all startups out there have this word as a principle written down in a document somewhere. But few of us succeed to truly be customer obsessed and give an experience which exceeds customers' lowest expectations.

So back to Prada. I felt welcomed from the first second, when the door was kindly opened for me to walk into the warmth where I got informed by the staff that someone would be right with me. I was surprised by the genuinely kind treatment by everyone. I felt right away special, when the very nice guy made me feel as if he had been waiting for me to arrive the whole day. He helped me to select a present and demonstrated it kindly for me as I was insecure about the sizes.

When we, together, decided on the right gift he sat me down in a sofa and made sure to in a very empathetic and non-intrusive way ask questions to make me feel important and comfortable. He asked who the gift was for, and created relatedness by kindly sharing his experience buying gifts for his girlfriend, without making it weird by oversharing. He made sure to use my name and offer me drinks while he went away to bring out my purchase with a grand gesture as if I'd been waiting for it my whole life. When we unfortunately were done, the door was once again kindly opened and I was waved off as if I was leaving a family dinner, with an urge to go back there soon again.

The next day I received a beautiful email, with a kind request to give my feedback on my experience. What I loved ultimately was the shameless question about which other high-end stores I had been visiting recently, and how my experience was compared to the competitors.

Good story, what's the takeaways?

  • Well, let's start by making our customers feel special from the first second they "walk into" our stores. Assist them with opening the door and onboarding them into an experience which makes them feel special, without being intrusive.
  • Be genuine and kind without exaggerating, since most humans have the instinct to recognize false empathy and false niceness.
  • Assist your new customer to understand how the product will fit their purpose, and offer them something delightful to relief the pain of any hick-ups in the journey.
  • Do your research and benchmarking when creating a good onboarding. Maybe even ask your users how their experience with you is different from your competitors with a perfectly timed and beautiful email.
  • Do everything to make the experience exceed your new customers' expectations so they feel treasured, and can feel instant love for your product. And when they leave, make sure that they feel an urge to come back soon again.

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