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Men, Remember Women Like Warm and Fuzzy

sheconomy_warm-blanket

Sometimes it is one very
small act of service that will sell
your customer.

I went to the hospital recently to have a fairly simple test run. I had to be there at 6:00 a.m., which is a monumental accomplishment for me. As an advertising creative, I am typically somewhere that early in the morning only if I have been there all night. But I did make it on time even though the map they provided had incorrectly labeled the building I was to go to and I had to walk from one end of the campus to the other.

Once registered, they had me change into one of those thin gowns that don’t really tie well. You know the ones I’m talking about. They then had me sit out in a small waiting room and fill out more information and sign more papers. Some of the information I provided raised questions for the technician about the test I was scheduled for. But they decided to take me on back to the MRA machine. Once I laid down and they were about to insert an IV, the technician continued to ask questions, raising even more concern about the test my doctor’s office had scheduled. At that point, he suggested calling the doctor’s office before proceeding and asked me to step back out into the waiting room. The doctor’s office was not yet open, so they began paging the doctor in the hospital. Because it was not considered an emergency, they did not feel comfortable paging him at home. Understandable. So I began to wait.

I had not been sitting long when the radiologist came through and laid a warm blanket across me. He said, “I hope your wait is not too long, but hopefully this will make it more comfortable.” Keep in mind, this was not just a blanket, but a “heated” blanket. I must say – I was simply shocked.

They finally spoke with my doctor and discovered the wrong test had indeed been ordered. They made the necessary adjustments and then performed the test. What should have taken about an hour took a little over three.

But here is the point of my story: On the way to my office that morning, I realized that all I really remembered about the entire experience was that warm blanket! All of the inconveniences and hassles had been erased by that one simple act which was unexpected and exceeded my expectations.

It doesn’t have to cost a fortune to connect with women, it just takes a little understanding.

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Stephanie Holland is President and Executive Creative Director for Holland + Holland Advertising, Birmingham, Alabama. Working in an industry that is dominated by men, she is one of only 3% of the female creative directors in the country. Stephanie works mostly with male advertisers, helping them successfully market to women. Subscribe to She-conomy by Email
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13 Responses

  1. What it comes down to is customer service and actual people. Whether that is at the doctors office, the grocery store or the spa. As a women, I value good customer service. I can regale you with my best shopping experience ever — it happened at Nordstroms about 8 years ago. I’m still telling people about it. Whenever I want to really go shopping, not just pick something up, I start at Nordstroms. What made this experience so memorable was the person who waited on me. She was knowledgeable about the products she sold both in the story and online. She knew the procedures of the store and found ways to add value to my visit that had nothing to do with the clothes. In contrast, I refuse to shop at Macy’s. No one can ever tell me where anything is, it’s never priced correctly and the employees never seem that interested in helping. I recall them saying at one point they were investing millions in their computer system to help their customers. Instead, why not train your front line folks and maybe pay them a little extra and give them a reason to WANT to help the customer. I also know a great attraction that does terrific online marketing. However, I’ve had two horrible customer service experiences while there. It’s not an attraction I go out of my way to write about in my blog and isn’t my first choice when deciding what to do on the weekends. They did a great job marketing and they have a great attraction, but you have to keep folks once you get them there too. Don’t forget the basics and customer service/experience, no matter what your industry is the most basic.

  2. Great line of thinking Stephanie. As a man I’d like to add that the blanket would have felt good to me too, but your point is of course dead on. That’s why I always read your newsletters.

    I suspect that many men would have said no thanks to the blanket even though they might have wanted it. I also suspect only a few women would have said no under the same circumstances. That is one key difference I’ve observed about women verses men; women are generally more comfortable accepting a compliment, a kind gesture, and a gift.

    I think Sue Rodman makes the connection to a management focus on service well in her post. I’d like to add that regardless of policy, training or whatever companies attempt to do to improve the service experience it always comes down to the fact that a person makes a decision to do something nice. One might expect this type of service at a spa or a very upscale hotel. One reason is that the great hospitality companies focus on finding people that possess the “service personality” during the hiring stage, and many other industries would be smart to do the same. Especially if they cater to women. Find people who enjoy being of service. Those that thrive on it. To me that is the key to satisfying customers, and especially women. However, those employees must also be empowered to do something and have access or authority to utilize or implement the fix. (Offering an electric blanket costs money, for example.) This is why companies must work with managers of all areas that touche the customer to ensure that the hiring process seeks out this personality trait as a priority.

    And the male employees need to be trained to understand that women customers are much more open to special treatment. Some male employees may think that all customers feel the way they would. (Marketing to yourself is always dangerous.) Making male employees understand that women are more open to kind gestures and personal attention than they themselves might be would be a good first step to take in improving relationships with women customers.
    MM

  3. […] may be something small, but it’s the extra little touches that go a long way.” (Sound like a recent blanket story?) Anyway, this tweet shows where HomeDepot thanked her for her earlier post, letting even more […]

  4. I have spent many a night in the ER..waiting to find out if I will be admitted or not.

    If you are lucky, and nice….you can get extra blankets and MAYBE a pillow. But on 2 occassion, I actually was given WARM BLANKETS and OMG ..what a difference that made in my ordeal!

  5. How true your story and point is! I have had experiences with the public, doctors, retailers, ect. that seemed awful up until the point where that magical thing happens – understanding – and I truly only remember or talk about the understanding part. It takes so little sometimes to turn a situation around. Great post!

  6. Great story! Customer service is what it’s all about. My favorite office supply store is in the West End – we live in the EAST end. It’s a 40 mile round trip and I delightfully make it JUST for the customer service.
    I pointed this out to the manager not long ago and now I’d treated even MORE special. Same thing with the market. I’ll pay higher prices to be treated with dignity, respect and consideration.
    Customer service is a fine art.

  7. […] Let’s bump up the temp, guys. Better yet, give me a cozy blanket. Come to think of it, airlines do that […]

  8. My agency’s entire marketing to moms philosophy is called What’s Your Blanket? based upon a similar act of caring that made an impression on me at the end of a yoga class. It’s become such a good litmus test for marketing that we now give out Warm Blanket and Wet Blanket awards to brands who understand how to care for the caretaker…and those who don’t.

    • Kat, I love your Warm/Wet Blanket awards concept! It is amazing the difference that just doing the simple things can make. Hats off for finding a creative way of driving that point home!

  9. I beg to differ. Did that radiologist ASK if you wanted a blanket? Or did he just assume that the “girl” would be cold and need a warm fuzzy?

    Here’s my story: I was donating platelets at a local blood center. I’d worn a short-sleeved wool-blend sweater (not easy to find) and a mid-calf wool skirt. A female staff member laid a blanket across me. I asked her to remove it.

    “Are you hot? feverish? Should I get a doctor? Do you feel faint?” (Honest, she assumed I was ill!)

    No, I’m fine just as I was. Please remove the blanket.

    “But you’re wearing a skirt!”

    It’s wool and covers well below my knees.

    “But aren’t you cold?”

    No. I was perfectly comfortable until you put the blanket on me. Did you force the five male donors in the room to use a blanket? I don’t see any of them with one. (Remember, for platelets I had needles in BOTH elbows and couldn’t move my arms.)

    By all means offer–and it sounds like you, in a thin hospital gown, needed a blanket, as would a man. But one of the most important rules is, when a woman says “no” she means “no.”

  10. We loved this story at ARMA and used it as a jumping point for a blog post: http://www.armainc.com/blog/archives/785

    Thanks for sharing!

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