How to insult your best customers

You can call them micro-insults – the tiny things that most annoy your customers.

Sadly, unless you ask, you will never be able to correct them. You and your people will continue to do or neglect them.

Rick Houcek, who writes a weekly inspirational column (, told his country club clients:

“You’re all customers, too. When you’re a patron of a hospitality establishment – restaurant, hotel, night club – what little things annoy, irritate, and drive you crazy?”

Putting it in the 1st person changed their perspective. Problems were easy to identify.

The country club employees quickly generated a long list of micro insults: No separate checks, no menu substitutions, crumbs left on table, water glasses not refilled, no table candles lit, wait staff not smiling at initial greeting, up-charges for extra items on a hamburger, table linens with holes. 

The country club employees recognized they did some of these things that were easy and inexpensive to fix.

Ask your employees the same thing. When they are customers, what micro insults annoy, irritate and drive them crazy?

How do they apply to your customers? Fix them to keep your customers happy.

We share such strategies in our “Uncover Your Inner Sales Genius.”  For a complimentary copy join the mailing list at the top of the page.

Next: What motivates your customers?

Give customers memorable experiences

Here’s a competitive strategy: Create memorable experiences your customers can share with friends and have everyone talking about you and your products.
The Wall Street Journal has been staging high profile business forums for corporate executives and, like Turner Classic Movies, has Wine Club sales and events.
Hearst magazines staged road rallies and driver simulations to engage readers of its Road & Track and Car & Driver magazines.
Their Delish magazine is marketing a new Bite Club, a series of pop-up events in different cities tailored to their region. They will use these events to test which events and sites draw the biggest turnouts.
Marketing experiences rely on a combination of event programs, prices and customer mail lists. Hearst plans an exclusive spa day that will cost participants $1,300 each, designed for those who can afford it and appreciate sharing experiences with other wealthy people and their friends.
Ask your team these questions:

  1. What experience can we give our customers they would love and talk about?
  2. How can we pre-test its appeal?
  3. How can we make a profit on it?
    We share such field-tested strategies in our 3-CD “Make Yourself a STAR (Someone They Always Remember)” self-study course.
    For details, you can email .
    Copyright 2020, The Bellune Co., Inc.

It’s all about the customer’s experience

Having enjoyed Bananas Foster and other fattening fare at Brennan’s in New Orleans, we can attest to Ella Brennan’s skills.
Mrs. Brennan invented the “celebrity chef” in nurturing Paul Prudhomme and Emeril Lagasse, two Food Network stars.
But she held their egos in check and concentrated on making her family’s restaurants memorable for 5-star food and fun.
“A restaurant is not a church, where you have to be quiet and kneel,” she said.
She wanted every meal to be boisterous.
Any pretensions were punctured by jazz bands swaying between the tables and 25-cent martinis at lunch. She wouldn’t let her waiters put on airs and the menu described French dishes in plain English.
Long before other restaurants saw the need for national reputations, Ms. Brennan cultivated friendships with journalists. She once helped scrub a lodging for visiting reporters. They rewarded her with glowing reviews. The Chicago Tribune called her the “doyenne of brunch.”
She scoured newspapers for stories about other industries that might contain lessons for her restaurants and held weekly brainstorming sessions with her staff.
I tell you all this because you need to become the Ella Brennan of your business.
Take her ideas and run with them.
For a complimentary digital copy of “Mastering the Master Mind” email