Customers like to feel appreciated. Chances are you have one—or probably several—competitors that can do exactly what you do. One of the keys to brand loyalty is to let your customers know you care. It’s the equivalent of a bar taking care of its regulars—the short-term expense is well worth it if it keeps them coming back.
The problem is, everyone has the same idea. If you want to make the kind of impression that draws repeat business, you’ve got to think outside the box. Here are five ideas your competitors haven’t thought of.
In this era of automated everything, there is no single thing you can do for free (or close to free) that pays bigger professional and personal dividends than sitting down and writing a letter. Opening the mailbox and finding an envelope addressed to you with a handwritten letter inside—one that doesn’t include abbreviations like “B4 you go” or “CU next time”—is rare and pleasant.
This simple gesture, which was once the backbone of human correspondence, makes people pine for a time they’ve categorized in their nostalgic memory—accurately or not—as simpler, more wholesome, and more honest.
Brand outside the box. Be the biz with the cool … something. Mouse pads, coffee mugs, calendars are all played out and have been forever. What do you like? You can probably get your business’s name and logo on it.
The ballpoint pen you send out as a thank-you “gift” is destined to end up in the same drawer as the dentist’s pen, the plumber’s pen, and the electrician’s pen. Your branded cupcake, however, will not only be talked about and remembered, but likely posted on Facebook.
Thank Them with a Video
A brief video in which you personally thank your customer by name will resonate like nothing else. It’s the digital age’s equivalent of writing a letter. It’s personal, it’s not expected, and it satisfies a peculiar desire—apparently possessed by every living human being—to hear their name spoken on a video seen by many.
By using their name and thanking them individually—preferably with a personal anecdote or message—on Twitter, or better yet on your blog or in your newsletter. Thank the customer, make them feel like you noticed them, and let the rest of your patrons know that you care.
Call on the Phone
In an age where it’s perfectly acceptable to text your mother on her birthday, a personal phone call can go a long way. Picking up the phone and actually using your voice to thank them for a purchase won’t go unnoticed. If you want to make even more of an impact, call again a few weeks after they buy to make sure everything is going well and that they’re satisfied.
You don’t have to be boring to be appreciative. Everybody does a Christmas card or birthday card or, if you’re obviously trying to get them to remember you before shopping season, a Thanksgiving card. But many of those gestures seem trite and unimaginative. And having excellent customer service (with convenient hours, like home mortgage company Amerisave, who is available via phone in the evenings, when most homeowners are getting off of work) is always something that will keep customers coming back.
But your business stands out, and so should you—get creative!
How do you show customers you value their business?
Published: September 5, 2013