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October 11, 2011

Caring for the customer - The american way

America is the Mecca of marketing. There are so many things that one can learn from the American way of marketing things. The one thing that immediately comes to the mind is the panache or the flair of presentation. Americans have a definite flair for dramatization. Right down to Donald Trump who named his hotel “Taj Mahal” and boasted that it was as good as the original Taj!

American trouser sizes: One thing that all people hate is the dreaded question that the sales person asks in a textile shop” sir what is your waist size?” Shoppers in USA are in for a pleasant surprise. The American size is one size less than normal. For example Indian size 38 would be size 36 in USA. Shopping in USA is a pleasurable experience as 2 inches are taken of your waist that too instantly! The only other place that can make you even happier is Ethiopia where one magically becomes 7 years younger (Ethiopia follows a calendar that is 7 years behind the Georgian calendar. Ethiopians are right now in 2004!)

Large, extra large: America is the country that made inches redundant by getting in a new concept called small, medium, Large and extra large. Many people console themselves saying “well we are large”. But how large, no one really bothers because after large it is all XL (extra large and one can go on till 7 XL). Bank on Americans have taken the guilt out of shopping!

Plus sizes: Fat is out but fat people are still good for business. In a country that celebrates thinness paradoxically most of the customers are fat and they have to be pampered. USA has a very polite name for fat customers. They call these customers plus size customers and there are shops catering to plus size customers’ fashion needs.

Zero size: USA worships thinness. USA has coined a term called zero size. Zero size does not mean having a waist of zero. It is 22- 24 inches at waist. But the concept of zero size becomes so popular that a winsome lass like Kareena Kapoor starved herself to get a zero size. Sanity prevailed and she has returned to her earlier and normal waist size.

Calling clients as guests: One of the things about USA is the terminology. All other countries call their customers as customers but US airlines have taught the world to call their customers as guests. Guests in the house and they must be treated as guests are treated at one’s home. Albeit many companies call customers as guests and merrily cheat and rob!

Allowing readers to read to their hearts content: American book shops have mastered the art of display and enticement. American book shops are so inviting that readers can go to the book shop pick up a book and read it to their heart’s content. There is no pressure of buying. One can sample the book and buy it only if one wants. It works to the advantage of the book shop as the book shop appears to be crowded. A crowded shop always triggers others to walk in. It is a win-win for the book shop.

Allowing readers to borrow as many books as possible: American public libraries allow members to borrow as many books as they want. There is no restriction on number of books that one can borrow. But one should be cautious about the due date. After the due date the borrowed books will be charged a dollar a week as late fee. 

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