Customer Loyalty is Made by Emotional Connections

I recently conducted a research survey where I offered participants a chance to win one of three $50 gift cards for completing the survey (an effective, cost-effective way to boost survey response rates).  A customer jokingly wrote back telling me that a competitor gave her a $50 gift card for completing their survey and it wasn’t fair that I was just giving her a tiny chance to win a gift card.  From her language it was pretty clear she was just teasing.  However, I wrote back telling her that I couldn’t stand to be outshined by our competitor and was sending her a $100 gift card to thank her for her participation and show her that I valued her business.  I also jokingly let her know not to get spoiled and expect this every time.  She wrote back saying that she was stunned by the response and thanked me profusely.  Odds are she told some colleagues and friends about it, and she’ll probably re-tell the story when she goes to spend the gift card.

The next time a competitor calls that customer trying to lure her away, they’ll have a much tougher hurdle ahead of them because now, my customer has a stronger emotional connection to my company and she knows she truly is a valued customer and we’re going to take care of her.

Companies like Enterprise Rental Car and Nordstrom have known about this concept for a while and have become very successful by developing practices to delight their customers.

It’s amazing how big an impression an extremely inexpensive gesture can have on someone.  Think about a restaurant manager walking the floor who overhears someone complaining to their friends about the glass of wine they ordered and swoops in and offers to bring them something else free of charge.  For just a few dollars, that manager can turn what could have been a festering, relationship-souring experience into a great experience they’ll remember the next time someone asks that guest for a restaurant recommendation.

Regardless of your business, there are countless opportunities for you to go above and beyond to delight your customers (especially your most profitable customers).  Think about how you would feel if the president of your big, faceless cable company called to personally thank you for your business – probably pretty pleased.  Your customers could feel that way about you.  Until next time, thank you for reading.

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