One of my very favorite moments in Star Trek: The Next Generation has Worf stating "Good Tea, Nice House" in appreciation for hospitality. The episode is The Survivors. Even though the episode has nothing to do with the retail experience, the overall setting and Worf's response [see below] always remind me of the importance of hospitality in building trust - online and offline - and creating an environment that someone would willingly return to [think retail store or website].
I first referred to this moment it in a blog article titled Good Tea, Nice House, written in July 2006, which discussed customer loyalty and the retail experience. More specifically, I refer to Fred Reichheld, customer loyalty expert known for asking the ultimate question How likely would you be to recommend us to a friend? and developing the Net Promoter Score.
As important as the Net Promoter Score is, it can't happen unless a prospect feels that s/he can trust us enough to do business with. There are plenty of ways for not building trust [see Online Marketing Advice: How Not To Build Trust], many of them simply due to not thinking or even considering how a customer might react.
Expressing trustworthiness and developing trust takes careful consideration and preparation - as hospitality does.
Think how hospitality expresses itself in a retail environment. It means turning the lights on, making sure displays are neatened and dusted, that fresh tea or coffee has been prepared, that the music is just right and that bathrooms are clean. In a hospitable environment, representatives are dressed professionally and look enthusiastic about interacting with visitors; they know how to put someone at ease and how to listen respectfully. They come up with solutions that are so relevant that they lead to sales...
How do you express hospitality and trustworthiness in your retail experience? Let me know in the comments.
[Subscribers, to view Good Tea, Nice House directly on YouTube, click on this link.]