While Gary Vaynerchuk’s book, The Thank You Economy, demonstrates the power of today’s social media movement and the culture—the expectation—of communication, transparency and connection that social media revived, it also reminds us of some basic client service principles:
- Care—about your customers…about your brand—with everything you’ve got
- Instill a culture of caring into your business by setting the tone through your words and actions
- Be authentic—whether online or offline, say what you mean, and mean what you say
Vaynerchuk mentions how people in their 80’s or older reminisce about a time when retailers and local businesses made it a point to know your name and make you feel like family. I recently had two personal experiences—one with a local business and another with an online retailer—that compelled me to write this article about how making a simple emotional connection with your clients is still the ultimate “social” experience that makes you feel like family—what good social media marketers aim to achieve using today’s social tools—and can certainly build client loyalty for your company or your brand. Note: The third story is not based on my personal experience, but on something I read recently that I thought fit well into my set of “Thank You” themed stories.
Sorry, We’re Closed—But Not for You
I needed to have a prescription filled immediately at the only pharmacy in my area that carries the medication I needed (none of the big-box pharmacies had the medication in stock), which happens to be a small, independenty-owned pharmacy named Marlton Pharmacy. I called late on Friday as the pharmacy was closing, and the assistant who answered the phone said the pharmacy was closed for the day and would not be open until Monday. Then, she asked me to hold on for a moment. The pharmacist whom I had met just once previously, Nittal Lodha, got on the phone. After explaining my situation, she asked for my name and responded with, “Oh, hello, Rob,” and continued with recalling the particular medication I received on my first visit a month earlier. That was the first touchpoint that made me feel special. She asked if I could come to the pharmacy at that time (which I was unable to do) and she would wait for me to pick up my prescription. Then, although the pharmacy is closed on Saturdays, she offered to meet me there on Saturday (the very next day) at whatever time was convenient for me in order to fill my prescription. We met at 9am, and I was out of there in less than 10 minutes. Prior to that, I had never experienced that level of emotional connection with a local business, nor had I experienced such a feeling of caring for me as a client/customer. That touchpoint far exceeded my expectations, and the overall experience increased my loyalty to this particular pharmacist and her local business. Will I refer my friends? You can bet I will.
A Personal Touch Makes a Difference
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This story doesn’t need much explanation because I think the above image covers the story well. I ordered some motivational books and artwork online from Simple Truths. My package arrived much sooner than expected, and when I opened the box, I found the card shown above on top of the items I ordered—the first thing I saw when I opened the box. Now, I have seen similar notes about my items being “packed with care by…” a specific person. However, I think this particular packing card made me feel an emotional connection with “Melissa” and with Simple Truths because: 1) It included a photo of the person who carefully packed my items 2) The message is simply stated and presented, and 3) This card “greeted” me when I opened my package. A very simple “extra” made a strong impact on me as a client/customer and on my loyalty to this business.
I Am Not a Deadhead
While I, personally, am not a “Deadhead,” I recently heard some intriguing facts about how the band has been an inspirational leader in client/fan loyalty from the book Marketing Lessons From the Grateful Dead: What Every Business Can Learn from the Most Iconic Band in History. The Grateful Dead broke almost every rule in the music industry book. They encouraged their fans to record shows and trade tapes; they built a mailing list and sold concert tickets directly to fans; and they built their business model on live concerts, not album sales. By cultivating a dedicated, active community, collaborating with their audience to co-create the Deadhead lifestyle, and giving away “freemium” content, the Dead pioneered many social media and inbound marketing concepts successfully used by businesses across all industries today. According to the book description on Amazon.com (from which most of this brand story is derived), this band can teach you how to make your fans equal partners in your journey, “lose control” to win, create passionate loyalty, and experience sustainable marketing gains.
Do you have any stories to share about how a unique approach or a simple “extra touch” bought your loyalty to a brand or builds client loyalty for a particular brand or company?