How can a small business establish trust with their customers?
Trust is something that has to be earned customer by customer, sale by sale.
Think about brand-building and building your business over the long haul, because I think anyone who's interacted with customers at any level understands that it takes a degree of maturity and patience. And you need to be firm but fair. Customers recognize that you should not probably be able to return a thing that you bought 2 years ago. But at the same time, if you have a problem, there's a general expectation that you're going to help someone get through it.
If someone asks me what's some of the secret sauce about Mailchimp, it's that we have a very large support organization that establishes trust, one customer at a time. In many ways, they make my job a lot easier. Trust is built day after day, customer by customer. And that is something that I think, for an entrepreneur, is a commitment.
Do you have any early customer loyalty lessons from a job outside of marketing?
I worked in retail for a small men's and women's clothing store and did everything. A lot of it was interacting with people and knowing who the regular customers were. And I was expected to be mature because it was a nice store, and so it was a lot about being polite. So it was a very high-touch, high-service place. Everything was, "Can I put things together? Can I deliver it? Can I courier it to you? Would you like it wrapped?" Everything was about extra service. That was a very formative experience for me.
And your most formative marketing experience?
My work at Chanel. That was the lesson of real clarity around who the target is, and just deliver, deliver, deliver and with a mindset towards this brand means something. And also a notion of quality, such that everything is made the way it is supposed to be made—even if no one knew, a quality that you don't see is in there. And that was something that really made employees feel proud to be there. At a certain price point, you have to tell the story. There's a romance behind things. And so it's easier to tell the story if it's a good story.