(Left to right) The Hardy’s Paraparaumu team: Judy Tihema, Denise Garnham, Michele Kelcher (store manager), Amanda Adams, Jenny Forster
I recently wrote about the importance of recognising a Customer’s “LTV”, or Life Time Value i.e. the economic value of that customer throughout the full duration of his or her relationship with your business.
In this article, I bring you a classic example of an enterprise I deal with that gets it very, very right in that regard . . . at least in its relationship with me (and I assume, therefore, with its broader customer base).
“Hardy’s Health Stores” is a reputable nutritional supplements retail chain with outlets throughout New Zealand’s North Island. Wherever I am in the world at any given time, if at all possible, I call or email a particular Hardy’s outlet for my regular purchases in the broad “health food store” category (which also includes personal care products).
I’ve had the pleasure of dealing with the chain’s Paraparaumu store for something like eight years. And I’ve had the added benefit of being tended to personally by the store’s manager, Michele Kelcher.
One of the Best Examples I Could Put Forward
Michele is one of the best examples I could ever put forward of someone who understands the benefit of not just servicing her customers, but of creating a genuine relationship with them. And, in doing so, she sets an effective example for her small team, who follow her lead well.
So what makes her level of “service” so special?
Here are just a few examples:
- She takes the time to make an indelible mental note of my preferences e.g. no added sugars and flavourings in supplements. She will study the ingredients of every product I ask for or that she recommends before selling it to me, to ensure she’s not inadvertently sending me something containing an additive I don’t want to consume. (She puts my preferences before her profit.)
- If I have a health concern, she’ll research it in order to identify the most valuable approach for me to take in nailing it. (She’s open-minded, concerned and makes the time to go the extra mile.)
- If I’m in need of a product she doesn’t stock, she’ll turn somersaults to get it in for me. Even if doing so costs her store money she doesn’t immediately recoup from me. An example is an obscure product I found during a visit to California. (Again, she puts me before her own immediate profit and goes the extra mile.)
- If I’m in need of a product she knows that, for example, the neighbouring pharmacy stocks a more suitable version of, she visits the pharmacy, purchases it on my behalf, and includes it with my order. (She goes the extra two miles.)
But Wait . . . There’s More
But she and her team don’t stop there.
When my beloved dog was in Massey University’s veterinary hospital, Michele organised for the equally service-oriented manager of Hardy’s Palmerston North store to make daily trips, in person, to the facility, with supplements that we hoped would be helpful in saving him. Not only that, I wanted him fed organic chicken . . . which the Palmerston North store manager drove across town to source. Talk about going the extra mile. Literally.
Now, THAT’S caring about your customer.
(Compare that with the response I received from Hardy’s Lambton Quay store in Wellington when I errantly assumed they would, similarly, visit the pharmacy next door and include a product with my high-value order: ‘No, we don’t do that sort of thing for a customer.’ Resultantly, I’ve never spent another cent in that store.)
Let’s Do the Math
Now, is it all worth it?
You do the math. Hardy’s has – for eight years – benefited from all my substantial monthly purchases in the following product categories:
- Personal care (shampoo, conditioner, moisturiser, toothpaste, soap etc etc)
- Nutritional supplements (not cheap; have you noticed?)
- Health foods other than nutritional supplements
- Homeopathic remedies
- Essential oils
- Miscellaneous “hard” purchases e.g. books, salt lamps, essential oil burners etc
The store also benefits from the very positive word of mouth I generate. This article being a classic case in point. And it’s very, very genuine.
And, so long as Ms Kelcher leads the team at that store, Hardy’s will continue to benefit from that level of patronage for the chain’s remaining time in business, or the rest of my life. Whichever comes first.
THAT is the true definition of “Customer Life Time Value”. And THAT is how you secure it.