From handwritten notes to fresh-baked cookies, a simple gesture can go a long way toward building customer loyalty in a competitive marketplace. Even just a quick phone call or personalized email can do more to earn your customers’ long-term trust than any coupon or discount code — really.
To find out which methods have been most effective, we asked ten entrepreneurs to share one special way they get more referrals and positive reviews. Their answers may surprise and delight you — and will likely do the same for your customers.
Here are our top ten customer advocacy ideas to test drive in your own company.
1. Send handwritten notes
During our first holiday sales season, one way we inspired word-of-mouth support for LSTN Headphones was by writing handwritten notes to each customer who purchased a pair of headphones. It seems simple, but it made a huge difference.
Most companies make it a mission to have satisfied customers, but satisfied customers aren’t compelled to share their experiences. The factor that inspires word-of-mouth support is having happy customers.
To achieve this, you must set the bar high by going above and beyond what your customers expect of you. Underpromise and overdeliver. Shock them with delight. Wow, them with service.
3. Provide personalized service
PeoplePerHour has a community of more than 500,000 users, but one of the main delights for customers is getting support tickets answered by myself — the CEO and founder. Customers get delighted when they see the guy at the top take time for this and consider customer support important.
4. Take the time to get to know your customers
Learn your customers’ names and some brief personal information. Establish a basic friendship with them because you’re looking to meet their needs.
5. Take note of the little things
From time to time, we send gifts to our clients, such as their favorite tea or coffee. Another great thing all of our VAs do is really care about the client and ask about their kids and parents. It’s great because you really build a strong relationship with the client.
6. Prioritize your customers’ interests
Real customer advocacy means looking out for their best interest, even if it means a short-term loss for you. Is a customer paying too much for your product? Ask him to downgrade. Did you screw up? Refund him proactively. Does he have a charge complaint?
Resolve it in their favor until you can prove the opposite. Small gestures like this can build real fans for your brand.
7. Retweet your customers
We follow many of our clients as they come in the door, and then every once in a while, we retweet their tweets. They get a notification that we’ve done this, and it shows we are paying attention to them and that we’re on the same page. It establishes a bond that goes beyond client service. It shows that we respect what they are saying.
8. Treat them to a birthday coffee
We always make sure to ask our customers when their birthdays are. They soon forget we asked this until their birthday rolls around. When it does, they receive a birthday card from us with a gift card for coffee. Our customers are inspired and excited to see that we remembered, thanked, and recognized them on their special day.
9. Send postcards
As a token of gratitude for anyone who reads my blog or book and has the courage to reach out via email, I ask for their mailing addresses and send handwritten postcards.
The postcards match my brand and have a fun quote or saying on the front, and readers seem to really appreciate the human touch from someone they previously assumed would be inaccessible. Plus, who doesn’t love snail mail?
10. Just check-in
It’s nice for clients to know you were thinking of them even when you didn’t have something on the calendar. With coaching clients, I try to reach out and check in with them or send articles I thought they might like in-between scheduled sessions.
Don’t forget email when communicating with customers
A personalized note, check-in, or birthday treat doesn’t always have to be sent through the mail or delivered in person. Sometimes the best thing you can do is simply send an email.
The only issue is that it can be incredibly difficult to prioritize and efficiently manage your inbox, especially between team members. Which is where a shared inbox tool like Outpost comes into play.
Outpost can help your team collaborate and save time so you can take better care of your customers. With coordinated templates, tags, collision alerts, and internal notes, you can accurately and efficiently surprise and delight your customers through coordinated email.
Posted in: Customer Service