If You Create It – They Will Come

shoeless-joeField of Dreams is by far one of my favorite movies of all times, especially being a avid baseball fan. For those that have not seen the movie, this Iowa farmer named Ray Kinsella (played by Kevin Costner), keeps hearing these voices “If you build it, he will come”. I won’t go into the whole movie, but Ray ends up building this beautiful baseball field in the middle of a corn field, based on the voices he hears and what they mean after doing some investigating with Terence Mann (played by James Earl Jones). In the end, all of these old time baseball players like Shoeless Joe Jackson and several more come back or down (however you view it), and they start playing baseball games on this field. In the end, everyone in the city and states hears about this field and wants to come see it for themselves. They charge everyone to see this beautiful field and that is how Ray ends up saving his farm.

Excluding the part where he stops doing his day to day responsibilities and spending every dime he has to build this field, the movie delivers the exact marketing situation that every business is in today.

Ray didn’t build any field, he built a field with smooth dirt, green grass, lights, bases, straight chalk lines. What Ray did was created an experience for the ball players. What if he just plowed some corn out of the way, threw some burlap bags down for bases and said here you go? Would they come…probably. The real questions is would they have stayed and would they have invited all their other teammates to come see this field and to experience if for themselves? That answer to those questions are without a doubt a big No!

Your customers are saying “If you create an experience, we will come”. Creating an experience is what sets you apart from your competition. Every business is different and has different types of customers, but here is a list of things your business needs to do and implement in order to create an experience for your customers:

  • Be Available: Be ready to answer your customers when they need you, not when you need them.
  • Listen: Not listening is the number 1 reason why your customers will leave you.
  • Genuine, Honest, Polite and Respectful: This means everyone, not just in customer support.
  • Take Responsibility: Things happen and most customers will understand if you step up, say your sorry and this is how we are going to fix it.
  • Fix Problems Now: Fix the problem or have a solution within 24-48 hours if you want to keep the customer.
  • Adaptable and Flexible: Thing will not always be black and white. Have game plan on ways you can resolve issues if they are not in your policies.
  • Informative Website: Your website should not only be a place for customers to find information out about your products and services. Your website needs to be a resource for the customer so they can learn about the industry and make the right decision that is best for them.
  • Knowledge: Consumers are knowledge hungry now because they can learn about anything within seconds with the internet. Make sure your company is well trained not only on your products or services, but in your industry as well.
  • Enthusiastic: Make sure anyone that is dealing with consumers really enjoy working with people and helping them. If your employees really don’t like interacting with consumers, it will only take the consumer a few moments to pick up the vibe. People like dealing with happy companies and people, not grumpy ones.
  • Recognize and Personalize: Get to know your customers, call them by name. Thank them for calling or being a repeat customer.
  • Appreciation: This is one of the biggest points of all. Give your customer a VIP upgrade, a promotional gift, extra discount, invitation to a pre-sale offer, next day shipping at a standard rate.

It’s not just about having a website, being on social media and having thousands of likes and followers. The goal should not be to have a satisfied customer, because anyone can do that. It’s about making the customer feel special and creating the experience. Let’s say you go to the store to buy a tee shirt that is on sale for $5.00 that you seen online. When you get to the store, they have your shirt size and color. You walk up to the cashier “Hi, did you find everything ok”, you say yes and leave. Chances are you are not going to go tell all your friends about that experience, yes you were satisfied, but satisfaction is something we expect.

In a world where businesses are trying to force their ads in every space available, every which way we turn, in hopes we will think of them, the ones that think outside of the box and focus on the experience will ultimately win. Why…because when you have a great experience with a great product, you want to tell everyone about it, and when others hear about that experience, they will want to be a part of it as well.

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Matt Ruedlinger