I love ‘fishing in different ponds’ which basically means exploring places, industries, people that you don’t normally spend time in or with. I’ve been working in Italy and it gave me a great opportunity to see how other people do things when it comes to the ‘customer experience’.
Here are 5 examples of a ‘Dramatically and Demonstrably Different‘ approach that I came across in Verona and the surrounding region.
I hope they prompt some thoughts, ideas and even actions for you to take in your business.
1. Just Fill Her Up Please – With Wine That Is…
Our research suggests that 3D Businesses Create Delighted And Devoted Customers (it’s Characteristic #3 of 3D Businesses!) and a key ingredient of this is Being Easy To Buy From.
Valpantena is a family run wine business with a shop in Verona and there’s a wide range of bottles of local wine on display for all tastes and budgets – similar to many of the other wine shops we visited (er, ‘researched’!).
A key differentiator here however, was an innovative approach to being ‘easy to buy from’ and that was a wine filling station – very similar to a petrol pump! It’s clearly very popular with ‘the locals’ who were queuing up to ‘get their fill’.
It’s a great example of making the experience ‘easier’ for your customers (and yourself?)
Question: How could you make it easier for your customers to buy from and deal with you??
Sometimes it’s simply about simplifying things….
2. A Green Light Says ‘I’m Free’!
On our visit to Verona we entered a city centre underground car park and as we approached the barrier, up it went – it recognised our toll payer gadget in the window and charged us via that.
As we drove round the busy car park we were ready for the endless ‘driving round looking for a space misery’, but we didn’t need to. Every carparking space had a light above it – red meant it was occupied, green meant it was free! We quickly saw a green one and in we went!
It’s a great example of taking away the customer’s ‘pain’. Yes, they have built in it to the design of the service being offered, but so could lots of other councils and car park firms – in fact, so could lots of businesses generally.
Question: “Where is your customers ‘pain’ and how can you eliminate it?”
It’s also about creating a ‘personalised’ experience…
3. Design Your Own Bra And Stand Out!
Verona is a busy and bustling city with lots and lots of fashion shops and as we meandered through past the magnificent Roman ampitheatre to find Juliette’s balcony (as in Romeo and Juliette!) we passed lots of them… but one caught my eye!
Among the very many ‘lingerie’ shops was one that offered something a bit different – Tezinis offered a chance to ‘personalise’ your own bra for only £15! Basically, there were inks and materials there to do it in the store – along with someone to either help you, or do it for you!
Now, I’m not the target market for this, but judging by the numbers of young female customers in there, it seemed like a nice way of establishing a ‘Dramatic Difference‘ – the ‘core offer’ is the same, but the way they enhance it makes it stand out!
Question: “What makes your business ‘stand out’?”
4. Trattoria Osteria No 1 – A Different Sort Of ‘Tweeting’!
A journey to the countryside for lunch took us to a little village called Fumane to find a restaurant that our friends recommended – they promised us a bit of a surprise. We rang ahead and booked our table and as we drove into the village and approached the restaurant, our host came out to greet us (not quite sure how he knew it was us!)
We were first in to the Tratoria Osteria No.1 and received a lovely warm welcome from the very friendly staff. The quirky branding and interesting surroundings created a great ‘feel’ to the place and it soon got very packed. As we ate our delicious food (and drank our gorgeous wine!), the ‘entertainment’ appeared! Two delightful little parrots arrived at the bar and started performing tricks – OK, it might not sound much, but it just added a little fun to the whole experience and created a great talking point.
You might not have parrots (or wine) but…
Question: “What are the things that your business does that get people talking and telling others about (‘Positively’ of course!)?”
5. Brunelli Vineyard – A Lovely Story!
Our journey continued to a local vineyard – there are lots and lots of them in the Valpolicella Region and we went to this one based on a recommendation (it’s all about ‘word of mouth’).
From the outside, the Brunelli Vineyard shop looked like all the others, but it was when we met Alberto that things changed – his knowledge was unquestionable (for no other reason, that I know nothing about wine!), but his passion and his stories ‘sold’ us! Tales of his grandfather and his family, how the wines were produced, their history and how they were named were very ‘enchanting’ and persuasive. The ‘tastings’ helped too.
Question: “What are your ‘stories’ and are your people equipped to tell them?”
So, what does this all mean for your business? In a world of crowded markets…
- What differentiates your business? (Be honest – What really differentiates it?)
- How do you ‘Demonstrate’ that?
- Does everyone in your business understand that?
- Does everyone in your business DO it?
Right, where was that wine?
ps. A huge thanks to Peter and Andrea for showing us round and looking after us so ‘delightfully’!