SMArketing Blog

How to Give Customers What They Want and MORE

Written by Jeanne Hurlbert, Ph.D.

Friday, January 19, 2018

Concierge Customer Service: How to Give Customers What They Want and MORE, to Ensure Conversion, Retention, Referrals, and Profit

Things in wholesale distribution are tough these days—and they’re getting tougher. Such challenges as disintermediation, technological transformation, and increased threat from traditional and nontraditional competitors have left many distributors struggling to stand as the ground shakes violently beneath their feet. The current pace of change has become so great, in fact—in this industry and others—that futurist Peter Diamandis predicted that 40% of Fortune 500

To survive in this disruptive environment, you must innovate, you must change, and you must do so in a customer-centric way. One of the most effective ways to do that is by implementing Concierge Customer Service.™ This simple but highly effective strategy entails taking 3 key steps to  (1) offer high-level customer service to all of your customers, (2) provide an exceptional level of service--Concierge Customer Service™--to your most profitable customers, and (3) ensure you have a high-caliber system to measure customer sentiment. Doing so can affect your profitability dramatically by helping you

  1. Increase customer retention, by serving your customers at the highest level;
  2. “Clone” your best, most profitable customers not only by generating an endless stream of referrals but also by providing your sales team with a business case for recruiting customers who are similar to your most profitable customers;
  3. Increase your conversion of prospects to customers, by generating 5 critical forms of social proof that will demonstrate you serve your customers exceptionally well; and
  4. Maintain continuous process improvement within your organization, by offering Concierge Customer Service™ and keeping your finger on the pulse of customer sentiment.

What does it mean to offer Concierge Customer Service™? It means giving your customers MORE, an acronym that denotes

  • MindsetThose who handle your customer service should be lifetime learners with a growth (as opposed to fixed) mindset, patient problem solvers who can understand fully the customer’s problem, challenge, or goal and commit to solving the problem or helping the customer achieve the goal.
  • OwnershipYour employees should assure customers they will handle every issue personally and then do so, with no excuses, apprising the customer of each step/action along the way.
  • ReferabilityReferrals provide gold to your business by allowing you to reach deep into your target market to “clone” your best customers, at virtually no cost.
  • ExperienceEnsuring that you continue providing a wonderful customer experience--by systematically measuring both (a) general and specific customer satisfaction and (b) customer loyalty--provides the key to distinguishing your business in the marketplace.

Where do you begin, to put this system in place? First, understand that at its core, the goal of Concierge Customer Service (CCS) is to ensure you serve your customers, especially your best customers, well. To accomplish that, you must be able to answer the two most important, but ubiquitously unanswered, questions in business:

  1. What do your customers want?
  2. How satisfied are your customers with the extent to which you’re givingthem what they want?

You can’t serve your customers well if you don’t know them well. That means you must understand, from the customer’s point of view, what kind of service they want. You should then tailor your CCS system to those specific wants—so although every CCS system contains a set of core elements, company-specific elements also exist.  Once you design and implement the system with your custom elements, you must constantly gather feedback from your customers to ensure you’re giving them what they want.

Those who “lead the pack” in distribution and manufacturing today differentiate themselves on customer service and then use cutting-edge feedback tools to ensure they remain at the “head of the pack.” Making the commitment to Concierge Customer Service™ constitutes an investment in your future that yields dividends in customer retention, market penetration, and conversion. The retention benefits mean that you not only tie your most profitable customers to you tightly, by providing service your competitors can’t match, but also increase retention of all profitable accounts by constantly monitoring customer satisfaction and loyalty. Conversion benefits derive from your ability to “clone” your top accounts by drawing similar companies from your competitors, luring them with a level of service your competitors cannot match.Market penetration comes from converting unprofitable to profitable accounts. If you execute this strategy well, then, you can render your competition irrelevant.


Dr. Jeanne Hurlbert, President of Hurlbert Consulting, brings to her partnership with SMA expertise in sociology and survey research. After spending more than 25 years in academia, she now uses her extensive behavioral science expertise to help companies like yours distinguish yourselves through customer service. What sets her approach to customer service apart is that she begins by helping companies meld research and marketing to find out exactly (a) what their customers want and (b) how well they’re succeeding in giving customers what they want. To see how well you’redoing in knowing and serving your customers well, complete her complimentary assessment, just go to