We all love a Christmas Hamper, and what do we find in there? A few delectable treats…some mysterious items we don’t fully understand…beautifully packaged foods that never quite live up to first impressions… Occasionally there will be something that can’t be used for some reason (coffee beans when you don’t have a bean grinder, perhaps). Oh, and smelly cheese. Always a smelly cheese.
If your customers were the contents of a Christmas Hamper, what would they be?
Here, then, is a light-hearted delve into the Hamper of Delights that is your customer base. Well, we’re allowed to get a bit silly at Christmas…
1. Shortbread selection: Always popular, liked by everyone. They’re sweet, crumble under pressure and yield easily. But be careful – if you don’t keep them in exactly the right conditions, they can go off very quickly.
2. The Big Ham: Weighty and immovable. This chap knows what he wants – oblige him (or her) with the sweet treatment (honey glaze, a slice of tinned pineapple, nothing too fancy) and he’s the customer that will keep on giving. Ignore him, and you risk throwing him away, unused and unloved, by Twelfth Night.
3. Pickles and Chutney. These can be tricky – what’s going on in there? So many ingredients all bumping up against each other. You’ll spend some time getting to understand these volatile jarfuls. You may need to be imaginative and to go the extra mile finding their perfect match. Proceed with caution. Sometimes those pickles bite back.
4. Biscuits for Cheese. They exist solely in a supporting role. Apparently bland and uninteresting, they quietly provide the solid base on which your business empire is built. Don’t forget they’re there…they need some tasty attention lavished on them to bring out their full potential.
5. The inevitable Smelly Cheese. Probably a Stilton, Camembert or (if you’re lucky) some Roquefort. Flavoursome, full of personality, attention seeking, full of joie de vivre! Lavish your attention on them! Enjoy them with complementary biscuits and port! These customers will enter your competitions, take up your promotions and tell it to you straight. You’ll work hard to stop them going off, but get it right and they’ll reward you richly.
6. The Bottle of Port. This one’s taken a long time maturing into the person he or she has become and has acquired an air of entitlement. They require gentle, respectful handling. Ultimately rewarding, but be patient; this one’s a slow burn and you won’t understand this chap until you’re at least 30 or the Managing Director. If you’re under 25 and smiley, they won’t want to deal with you. That is all.
7. Flavoured Coffee. I’m sorry, but what’s this all about? Some of your customers will, from time to time, be full of fluff, bluff and nonsense, trying to be something they’re not. We’d all prefer our coffee straightforward and authentic I’m sure, but behind those gimmicky added flavours there’s still a real, decent customer trying to get out. You can help them. Yes, you can.
8. Bag of mixed nuts. Enough said.
Like the contents of any Christmas Hamper, all your customers are a gift and often hard earned at that. So embrace them all! Take the time to understand their individual flavours and learn from the different demands they bring. Variety is the spice of life! Thank you, customers.