A couple weeks ago I was perusing the Costco.ca website when a kids’ table and chair set caught my eye.
I wasn’t shopping for one, but this set stood out from the other junk I’ve gotten used to seeing in big box stores.
Made of solid wood, the table had an attractive dark brown finish, and each chair was painted in a slightly muted version of the obnoxiously bright colors most kids’ furniture comes in.
Plus there were 4 chairs instead of just 2.
Even better, there were no cutesy decorations or branding slapped all over the product. This was a handsome, apparently decent quality set that I knew my young boys would use and enjoy—and that I wouldn’t mind having in my home. (I’m super picky about décor.) The price was right too. So I bought it.
Creativity caused me to pull out my credit card that day. But the experience that followed is why I can’t stop talking about what a great buy I got.
When the furniture arrived at my door earlier this week, I didn’t open it right away. I just let the box sit in my foyer.
I was dreading the painstaking process of putting the table and chair set together. Sorting through a zillion tiny parts, interpreting poorly written instructions, arguing with my husband over the possible reasons it wasn’t fitting together and Gawd, should we just send it back?
In truth, I was expecting a miserable experience all around. Of all the kids’ furniture we’ve purchased—and put together—in the past, 99% of it was cheap junk that eventually ended up in a landfill some years too soon.
To my surprise though, this time was different.
CafeKid, the manufacturer of the furniture, knows how to deliver an amazing customer experience. I don’t use that word often, but these guys really get it in a way that their competition–and I argue many other types of creative businesses–do not. Here’s how:
1) Attention to Detail – The furniture pieces were in perfect condition. No nicks or chips. The finishes were carefully applied and smooth, including on the undersides you can’t even see. As a ruthless perfectionist, I could not find a thing wrong anywhere. CafeKid obviously takes pride in workmanship seriously.
2) Substance – Most kids’ furniture nowadays is made from particleboard, chip board or MDF. Aside of the chair backs, all the pieces were made of solid wood.
This gives the furniture a totally different look and feel than cheap look-a-likes. Moreover, the furniture will last a lot longer, maybe even long enough to avoid the landfill and be passed on to my kids’ kids. (Note: that the chair backs were MDF is not actually a bad thing. Real wood tends to warp when the humidity changes. By using MDF for the chair backs–an element that doesn’t get much wear and tear anyway–the structural integrity of the chairs is protected. Yes, I’m a nerd.)
3) Presentation – The pieces were packed carefully and well protected from shipping damage, the assembly instructions were written in plain, conversational language and included excellent illustrations, and the product just looked fabulous right out of the box. There was this handle-with-care feeling that’s lacking in today’s rush-rush, more-more world.
4) Ease of Use – CafeKid did all the nitty-gritty assembly steps in advance. All I had to do was screw in a few bolts—one for each chair leg and two for each table leg—and I was done.
The holes were pre-drilled. Everything fit together perfectly. And the entire assembly process took me about 15 minutes. I hadn’t even put the product to use yet and I was beyond thrilled.
5) Availability – CafeKids’ contact information was on the box, listed on every page of the instructions, and stamped onto the furniture itself. There was also a simple form asking me to register my product by mail or online. On the registration form they made it crystal clear that they’re in this for the long haul:
“We have adapted the highest standards of quality and safety in the manufacturing process and know that you will enjoy this item for many years to come.”
You know what? Despite my cynicism and general mistrust of modern manufacturers, I actually believe this promise. In fact, I think I believe in CafeKid.
Creative thinking definitely helped CafeKid position their products so as to attract consumer attention.
However, creativity in business isn’t enough.
Creativity alone doesn’t instill customer loyalty.
Creativity alone won’t bring you a constant stream of high quality referrals.
And creativity alone won’t ensure bankable margins for any stretch of time.
In what ways are you creating an amazing experience for your customers in your creative business? How might you do this better? I’d love to know your thoughts. Please share in the Comments below.