Thursday, December 17, 2009

Pay it Forward - Everyone Loves a Compliment!

This week I received a lovely letter from a customer in Indianapolis. Her experience with LILL began when a friend, sporting a LILL bag, told her about my business. She loved the bag and checked out our website. She found that we offered home parties in her area and contacted our Indianapolis rep, Amy, to set up a party. She had a wonderful party experience (I'll share her words later in this post) and then attended a second event Amy hosted at a local salon. She has quickly become a LILL lover. I personally love the story of how she came to find out about LILL - through a friend with a bag she loved - and, how she came to get a few of her own - through a rep who loves what she does. It speaks directly to the essence of LILL and thus I truly appreciated that this customer wrote in about her experience. Receiving letters like this really make my day.

While I obviously loved the letter, the point of my blogging about it is that it reminded me how important it is to compliment others for things that you appreciate. I often find myself pleasantly surprised by service or products and think to myself "what a great experience" or "I love this product." I don't, however, take the time to tell the person behind that experience or product how much I appreciate their help or their product. For example - just yesterday, I was going through my favorite drive thru. (Yes, I am a fast food junky)! It is my favorite drive thru, not because of the food or speed of service, but because every time I go there the staff is just really friendly and nice. Working in fast food is difficult - but this staff is always so pleasant and happy. I think about this every time I go there, but I never compliment the service. I will next time.

And, as I think about it there are several other services and products that I love and this letter has inspired me to speak up about it. I plan to shoot off a few emails to other businesses that I love and hopefully make someone else's day. My little way of paying it forward...

Here is an excerpt from the letter I am writing about:

"The primary point of writing this letter is to tell you what an amazing team member you have in Amy (our Indy rep). She was wonderful to work with and helped me set up my party for about ten of my friends. When she came to my house she was professional and fun. She was wonderful in assisting all of the girls in finding what they truly wanted. The thing I liked most about Amy, was that she was the "anti" saleswoman. Never once did she try to force a bag on someone. She consistently said she wanted all of us to love what we designed and never forced anyone into a decision or a purchase. You could also tell that she loved what she was selling. She was able to show us so many examples of items that she had designed and used on a regular basis. My LILL purse party was one of the most fun things I have done with my friends and everyone was thrilled with their purchase. All in all, I want to thank you for creating LILL. I can not tell you enough how much I love your product and your staff. Not only have you created a wonderful product, but also a fun opportunity for people to get together and do something different. I have been to jewelry parties, Pampered Chef parties, Mary Kay parties and none of them come close to comparing with the fun my friends and I have had at the LILL parties."

Jen Velarde

Monday, December 14, 2009

How do you use today's technology?

I went to a holiday party this weekend where the conversation turned to how long we have been out of college and how much technology has changed how we live today. When I graduated in 1995, I had never sent an email, the internet was no where on my radar screen and all of my training for work in the world of interior design had been done with pencil in hand vs. on a CAD system. We have been talking about this at LILL lately as well and while I have since emersed myself into technology and it runs most of our operations today - I didn't "grow up" with it like those 10-15 years or so younger than me.

Technology for me is something I have to think about versus something that is ingrained in my daily routine. I have dabbled in blogging, lightly use facebook and have yet to personally twitter. I keep my blackberry close at hand most of the time, primarily for email. I just started to understand the purpose of texting - and actually really like it. All this is great, but it is December, 2009. And, so, you might say I am pretty far behind the times in terms of keeping pace with some of my more technologically savvy customers. I feel the technology gap each time we discuss ways to reach this portion of our demographic. With all of the options that social media provides it can be a bit overwhelming to decipher which methods are the best tools to stay in touch. I find myself probing anyone who seems "totally connected" for their ideas and what they are doing now to communicate to friends, find out about events, promotions and products etc.

One idea we recently tried that was successful for us was working with Groupon - a collective buying program - where we adverstised a special purchase opportunity to their mailing list. It generated a huge amount of buzz for us in the first two markets we tried - Chicago and KC. Since we participated, I am on the daily deal email list and it is one of my new favorite ways to find out about different businesses and specials around my city. (We are the deal of the day in the Boston market tomorrow - 12/15 - so if you missed an opportunity to get in on the deal earlier, you can join in the Boston deal as coupons are valid at any of our stores )

That is one example of a great new tool - there are many more out there that I am looking to learn about. So I am asking - where do you go to find out about new concepts, cool experiences, great sales, etc? Send me your ideas. Leave your comments here - for each one I get, I'll put your name in a drawing for one of my favorite bags of the season - Grace in Chateau de Lill.

Or - come tell us your thoughts in person - if you are currently attending a large midwestern university and will be in Chicago over the holidays, we will be hosting a focus group on Thursday, Jan 7th from 1pm to 4pm at our Chicago boutique at 904 W. Armitage in Lincoln Park. If you are interested in participating, please complete this questionnaire below no later than Wednesday, Dec 16th.

(If you are selected, you will be notified by Monday, Dec. 21st. Focus group participants will receive an 1154 LILL Design a Bag Kit in return for their participation in the focus group session).

Jen Velarde