Guest post by Cathenry.
A lesson shared from a recent Forbes article (Nine Impactful Customer Service Lessons That Can Change Your Business Approach) states customers are often loyal because of an emotional connection. This connection can then possibly extend itself to that sweet spot of word-of-mouth advertising on top of the traditional marketing venues.
We’ve all heard it is not so much what we know but how much we care that makes the greater impact on people. We pursue certain businesses because of their expertise in an area. But if they go above and beyond to anticipate and satisfy our needs, then chances are (if they are in the repeat or consumer business) they just acquired a loyal customer.
Hopefully – with the onset of a new year a prime time to do this – time is taken to thank customers for expressing how much you appreciate being in a business journey with them.
To take the time to write a note, card or email puts even more weight on the sentiment. Going retro with your customers with a handwritten note is seldom expected. Customers can gain an understanding of the kind of personal interaction that will take place with such a company. Often our verbal thank you is said so quickly it is perceived as cursory. But to give the gift of your time by sending a written thank-you shows more intent.
Recently I received an email from my credit card company (the first such email ever) with a heartfelt thanks for my business. It read: “Before the year is over, we wanted to take a moment and let you know how much we appreciate having you as our customer. We’re humbled and honored to be part of your financial journey. We continue to be inspired by you, and we’re as committed as ever to give back to national and local charities, including Volunteers of America. This wouldn’t be possible without your support!”
Many companies show that they give a portion of their proceeds to charitable groups to help create a further emotional connection to a cause outside themselves.
My business (a boutique bed and breakfast) supported a grassroots charity for an orphanage in Zimbabwe. The charity was created and run by an international couple who were my guests. Throughout the year they would do fun runs, contests, etc., to raise money and they have a Go-Fund-Me account. This was a hands-on, boots-on-the-ground endeavor for them chronicled in a public blog for people to follow.
All that being said, the notion of giving back to the world makes an impression on the customer. I also typically include 5% discounts to key population groups (first responders, teachers and others).
My charitable British guests mentioned above live in Spain. We still reach out and keep up with one another. They came as guests and left as friends.
Not all your customers will become friends nor is that always possible, but it is serendipitous for small businesses particularly when those friends are also repeat customers or can make a referral.
This is the second in a series of posts. Read the first post here.
Cathenry has operated a boutique bed and breakfast enterprise in her home since 2014. Her business goal is to give guests a positive and memorable customer service-driven bed and breakfast experience. She always has gravitated to businesses demonstrating sound professional ethics, clear communication, and successful customer service. Having known customer service advocate Mark Lusky for more than 11 years, collaborating as a guest blogger is a natural outgrowth of their association.
Drawing on her extensive hospitality, hosting, event planning and customer outreach experience, Cat brings to the table unique perspectives and insights that expand the gravitas of this customer service-driven blog. She also brings to bear intense curiosity stemming from serving as a former reporter, teacher, and organizational coach with certified training.
As research and curating of information have long been Cat passions, she also will offer the perspectives and insights of third-party subject matter experts in the field of customer service as part of her guest blogger contributions.