Every romance has a special moment that sparked it – a magical moment that created an undeniable connection. That magic also applies to the connection we make with our customers. Customers fall in love with a brand because they’ve had an exceptional experience – whether it’s helpful client support, personalized service, an outstanding product, or a magical touch to make their day a little brighter or easier.
Why is it important to make this special connection? Because customers are the heart of our business! If they feel valued – even loved – they will come back. Again and again. To quote Apple CEO, Tim Cook:
“In the long arc of time, you are only relevant if customers love you.”
How to Love Your Customers
Inspired by the sonnet by Elizabeth Barrett Browning “How Do I Love Thee, Let me Count the Ways”, let’s count the ways we can show our love to customers daily – bearing in mind that even the smallest gesture of kindness, caring, and thoughtfulness can create a longterm connection.
- Focus on Your Customer – This may seem obvious, but successful brands keep their attention on their customer first, and their product or service second. Customer preferences and needs change over time so it’s important to adjust your product or service accordingly. If you are customer-focused you will be able to change what you offer to fit your market.
- Know Your Customer – Finding out what makes a customer tick, as well as what their needs and pain points are will help you better serve them and come up with solutions that will make their life easier. You can get to know your customers better via satisfaction surveys, phone, chat, and social media conversations, and by doing market research.
- Be Kind – Exhibit empathy and kindness in all interactions, so customers feel special and cared for. Try to use a courteous tone – even when there are challenges or difficulties.
- Listen! – Listening is a skill – and art – anyone in a customer-facing role should master. Sincere listening shows that we are really paying attention and that we care. Listen carefully to customer needs and feedback – negative or positive – and always thank them for their input.
- Express Gratitude – As is the case with all relationships, it’s so important not to take customers and their loyalty for granted. Find ways to express gratitude in small and big ways – and frequently. Examples of this are ‘love notes’ – hand-written or emailed, special discounts or offers, surprise gifts or freebies, or invitations to VIP customer events.
- Sprinkle Magic – In addition to the above, ask yourself what you can do to add some elements of magic to the customer experience. What can you surprise your customers with to make them feel your love? It might be going beyond the call in some way, personalizing their experience, or providing an element of delight. Think of ways to add an extra special touch that is both meaningful and unforgettable. To quote customer service expert Chip Bell:
“Become the sprinkle-adder to your customers’ experiences and watch their pleasures grow, right along with your profits and reputation.”
- Spread the Love – Create a strong online presence for your brand so you can make it easy for your most ardent fans to shout from a digital ‘mountaintop’ if they have fallen in love with your brand! Our digital age makes it easy for customers to write online reviews and testimonials, create user-generated content, take part in customer marketing campaigns, and participate in case studies and new product tests.
These are just a few examples of how to love customers – you can apply these and your own creative ideas to keep your customer romance vibrant and alive! In summary: If you love your customers with this level of “depth and breadth and height” and “with a passion put to use” to use the words from Browning’s sonnet – they will not only return your love but will continue to be committed to your brand.