December 10/17, 2018: Volume 34, Issue 14
By Jim Augustus Armstrong
To understand the importance of customer recognition, let’s take a minute and put ourselves in our customer’s shoes. Cathy Consumer is a 35-year-old mother of three, all under the age of 10. She and her husband work full time. Cathy loves her kids and is a devoted mother, but they’re a little weak in the recognition and appreciation department. Maybe they show some appreciation on Mother’s Day and her birthday but the rest of the time her kids rarely appreciate her efforts on their behalf.
Cathy works as an insurance adjuster. Other than her bi-weekly paycheck, her boss doesn’t give her any recognition. The public, whom she deals with during insurance claims, doesn’t give her recognition. Neither do her co-workers.
Her husband, while devoted, is overworked and stressed out. He’s tired all the time and mostly just watches TV in the evenings, so he doesn’t give her as much validation for her efforts as she would like.
Cathy is craving recognition and appreciation, but she’s not getting much of it in her day-to-day life. It’s the same story with many of your customers. Even those who receive sufficient recognition on a day-to-day basis wouldn’t turn down a little more.
If you were the one to give Cathy Consumer and all of your other customers the recognition and appreciation they crave, it would give them great, positive feelings about you and your business. More importantly, it would strengthen their loyalty, so next time they might not be so quick to be seduced by a “free installation” offer by some box store. It would make them more likely to refer you. It would help you create deep connections with your list of past customers.
Let’s look at some customer recognition and appreciation strategies you can put in place immediately.
Beverage menu. After welcoming a walk-in and thanking her for visiting, hand her a beverage menu and ask her what she would like to drink. This will make her feel instantly appreciated, not to mention create total differentiation from competitors.
Handwritten thank-you cards. Send personalized cards to customers after every completed installation. This is something you virtually never see from any business in today’s retail environment.
Customer of the month. In your newsletter and e-newsletters, feature a customer of the month and honor her by sending her out to dinner. People love to see their names in print. Also, people will open your mail to see your next customer of the month.
Acknowledge customers publicly. Thank customers for their business in your newsletter, email and social media. Post photos of their installed floors, along with their comments. Make them into mini celebrities just by buying from you.
Acknowledge referrals. Have a section in your newsletter thanking the people who sent you referrals. Remind everyone of your referral incentive program.
Welcome whiteboard. Put a whiteboard on an easel near your front door. When you know a customer is coming in for an appointment write, “Jimbo’s Floors Welcomes Cathy Consumer” on the board so she sees it when she walks in.