Workplace blogs
Workplace blogs

Do Your Customers Need a Hug?

“Embrace teamwork, create positivity, spread humor and show off your fighting spirit” are the four core values of the outdoor advertising company AFA JCDecaux that I visited in Copenhagen two years ago.  I’ve mentioned them in past e-zine issues and blog posts because of their tendency to do unorthodox things. Outrageous things. Wacky things.

Which is precisely why they are so wildly successful and listed as one of the best places to work in Europe. They have gone out of their way to intentionally build a family-like culture that values and recognizes employees and that has a heck of a lot of fun. From dessert eating contests to line dancing lessons designed to jump start the work day, they play as hard as they work.

And they believe that their customers should have fun as well. Here are just a few of the offbeat approaches they take with their customers that helps them stand out from the herd:

– When they win a contract, they send an official “Hugging Team” over to the customer’s office to personally thank, and well, hug them.

– When a customer cancels an order they dispatch their “Military Team” outfitted in army fatigues to find out why the customer cancelled, and to give them hugs. (They’re big into hugs.)

– When a customer comes to their headquarters, a team of greeters await them in the parking lot (and presumably offers up some hugs).

– If a customer asks for a better price on a contract, the sales reps have been known to say, “Sure. Come to our games room and play Foosball with me.” They then negotiate a better deal based on how well the customer plays Foosball.

– They’ll greet customers inside the headquarters with a special welcome sign with the customer’s name and plate of Danish treats.

– They’ve been known to make customers who phone in sing a funny song or say something humorous before being put through, with the promise that they’ll then hand deliver a bottle of red wine within 30 minutes.

– They relentlessly thank and show genuine appreciation to all their customers, especially those needing, you guessed it, a hug.

Michael Kerr. Humor at Work. Michael is an international business speaker who helps businesses succeed by strategically putting humor to work for less stress and more success. 


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