Customer Experience Featured Article

Get Back to Basics for Customer Experience and Loyalty

 
May 15, 2014



The social media explosion has changed how businesses are communicating with their customers. While it’s easy to reach out to customers with the push of a button, some of the long lost art forms, like handwritten letters, can go a long way in making a customer feel special and add to a positive customer experience.


Forbes has an interesting piece on this subject, describing how handwritten thank you letters by a company named HEX did well for its customer loyalty. It was no small feat, however. Employees wrote 13,000 of these thank you notes, and it’s because of these the company is thriving. What does that say?

It says that a personal touch can mean more than a canned email response; that customers feel they are, in fact, important; and while 13,000 of these handwritten gestures is certainly above and beyond what most companies do these days, it shows that HEX took the time to care that wasn’t just about a quick and easy reply.

Here in my part of New York, we have a local automotive business that thrives on similar customer interactions. In an area where Big Name Chains are the competition, this small business has to do what it can to stand out against big banner companies while staying within their advertising budget and bringing customers in the door.

What they do goes far beyond what any Big Name Chain I’ve ever dealt with does for their customers. Around the holidays, Grandma, who runs the counter and ensures the bathrooms are clean, calls every customer to wish them well and if they are ever in need, just give a holler and they will be available to help with any automotive problem.  She calls every single customer that has ever walked through their doors, and she does so with cheer.

If you find yourself waiting for several hours for a repair, Grandma will make you coffee, find you a table if you need to work, or sometimes just sits and makes small conversation with you. She even offers you a loaner car if you need to run an errand.

These are the small, yet actionable items that make all the difference when it comes to how businesses treat their customers.

While Forbes makes some handy suggestions as to how HEX could better perfect its handwritten system, like changing the salutation and signing the letter from a person, not just the company, it’s a bit far-reaching. The fact that the company makes it policy to handwrite letters is enough to have a customer feel special, and since we are a socially-inclined generation, it takes just one picture, one tweet or one Facebook (News - Alert) share to show how awesome that can make a person feel. People will notice, and customers will start wanting to do business with you. There’s no need to get nitpicky about how this can or cannot be perfected.

Like my small town automotive place, it’s the experience. These are businesses that get it, that just going a bit beyond the electronic device is a nice way to bring back a forgotten art – getting in touch with the customer and making them feel special, not like a number.

Does your business engage in more classic communication with your customers? 




Edited by Alisen Downey

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