I changed my morning routine recently.
From 2009-2011, I commuted downtown every work day via the Metra Union Pacific West train that terminated in Ogilvie Transportation Center. Every day, without fail, I would step off the train, walk up Madison Street and stop at Starbucks on my way to my office at 1 North Dearborn Street.
About 4 months ago I started a new job as the marketing head for Sears PartsDirect. I usually spend two days a week downtown and the rest of the week at the corporate HQ in Hoffman Estates. Our downtown office is at 1 North State Street (exactly one block east of my old office on Dearborn.)
I walk the exact same path I did for those three years. If you know me at all, you’d probably expect that I still stop by that same old Starbucks, ordering the exact same coffee I always did.
And you’d be dead wrong.
I still take the train downtown. I still get off at Ogilvie. I still walk East on Madison, just as I always did. I still walk on the same side of the street – right on past my old Starbucks (and 14 other coffee shops.)
Today, I keep walking. I cross Dearborn and then cross State street and KEEP WALKING – nearly an extra block past my office to get my coffee at Dunkin’ Donuts.
Because they know me. And it only took two visits – both of which happened by luck.
The first time I walked into that Dunkin’ Donuts, I ordered my usual– Extra Large Coffee with cream and two Splenda.
The second time I walked into that Dunkin’ Donuts, the lady behind the counter saw me in line and shouted to a helper (EXTRA LARGE WITH CREAM AND TWO SPLENDA.) And then she caught my eye, to confirm my order and winked at me.
I didn’t stop going to Starbucks because of the coffee. Or because they did something wrong. I stopped going because that Dunkin Donuts is now MY Dunkin’ Donuts. As long as I feel like they know me there, I’ll be coming back. And all because of one phenomenal employee. One person who cared. One person who REMEMBERED me.
What are you doing today to build customer loyalty and make your customers feel special? To feel remembered?