Authentic and personalized customer service is a cornerstone in building lifelong customers. In his Wall Street Journal bestseller, Hug Your Customers, Jack Mitchell encourages business leaders to put a premium on building customer loyalty through great service that makes customers feel understood and appreciated. Mitchell created a culture within his business that allowed his team to excel through some very simple yet effective techniques.
This Valentine’s Day, we’re highlighting 3 ways that you can shower your customers with appreciation to build lasting relationships.
Consistency Is Key
The key to long-lasting customer rapport is trust. When your customer knows they can count on you to deliver, they’ll come back. Consistency in the way you deliver your products and services can make the difference between a one-time customer and a customer for life. In order to provide consistency, you’ve got to train your staff on those expectations.
Many of the most successful training programs are supported by training manuals. A physical manual will help employees understand the culture of your organization, the fundamentals of their roles, and what to do in different situations.
When you clearly outline policies and procedures in a way that’s easily repeatable, your employees will be prepared to succeed. They’ll also be in-sync with each other. This way, a customer is much more likely to get a similar experience no matter who helps them when they walk in the door, call your office, or place an order.
When creating a training manual, make sure you consider the context for when and where training will occur. If you need stand-up visual references, an A-Frame Easel might be a good choice. If you have a lot of information to convey with multiple sections that will need to be referenced, you might want to use tabs for easy navigation.
In addition to utilizing a training manual, the time you take to educate your employees will show in the results you achieve. Spending time getting to know your employees and teaching them either in person or virtually is critical. Allow your staff to ask questions and encourage ideas. Building a strong internal culture will help you create consistency for your customers and ultimately build trust.
Everyone Loves A Gift
Showering your customers with gifts doesn’t have to be complicated or expensive, but it can pay dividends in building a strong and loyal relationship. Marketing swag helps promote your brand and provides additional value to your customers–if you do it right.
It’s important here to keep the value of the item front and center. A cheaply made item can do more harm than good. Did you ever get a pen from a company that didn’t work? Or, receive a cheap water bottle that you ended-up guiltily throwing away? Think about swag that your customers will actually want and use.
Here are a couple of ideas:
- Journals. Journals are booming right now. They can be used for a daily gratitude practice, to stay organized, and to keep oneself motivated. Most people keep a journal by their bedside or at their desk. By gifting your customers with a high-quality journal, you’re insuring your brand will have a prominent everyday presence with your customers.
- Stickers. Stickers aren’t just for car bumpers anymore. They have become a wide-spread mode for self-expression. Consider a great sticker design that your customers will use on their water bottles. Using a sticker to convey a message that aligns with your brand will increase the chances that the sticker will be used. Not only is this great free advertising, but a constant reminder of your brand for your loyal customers. You know you’re doing something right when a customer chooses to put your brand on their laptop.
- Notepads. Notepads are an amazing customer gift as they are high value and applicable for most people. Your customer might use the notepad you gifted them in their kitchen to write a grocery list or a note to their child’s teacher. A notepad might be used at work to jot a quick note to a colleague. You may be surprised to find where the pages of a notepad you gifted a customer may end-up.
Use Data to Personalize Customer Experiences
Chances are you are likely capturing some data about your customers and their experiences with you. You can think about that data as an opportunity to both get to know your customers and to provide them with personalized experiences.
Personalized experiences from brands make us feel understood, appreciated, and respected. When an organization does something that reflects they’ve taken the time to learn a little bit about us, we build on the relationship. We are more inclined to support a business that’s gone the extra mile to tailor an experience just for us.
One easy way to create a personal connection with your customers is to send birthday cards. If you are collecting a birthday month and an address for your customers, you can send a birthday card. Make sure the card is specific to your brand. Think about it as you would any other marketing piece you’re creating. It should align with the look and feel of your brand, be written in your brand voice, and (obviously) convey birthday wishes.
You can make the process of sending birthday cards easy by creating one card and ordering in bulk. Then, each month you can run a report of the birthdays and generate labels. This small gesture of appreciation can go a long way in building brand loyalty.
With over 40 years of experience in the printing business, we have kept our customers at the heart of everything we do. No matter what method you choose, customer appreciation is a great way to build brand loyalty. A little extra effort here can go a long way towards building long-lasting customer relationships.