Keep it human


Susan Oakes of M4BMarketingBlog asked me if I would be willing to write a short tip for her upcoming post on “How to Keep your Customers Loyal”. The post outlining some great tips should be coming out anytime now. Here is what I submitted.

Keep it Humantips
In the times we live in, customers are bombarded with marketing messages from all over. In this noisy world, companies that stand out are the ones which retain the human touch. The best way to buy customer loyalty is by treating each one of them as a unique human being at every touch point. Buying after all is a human behavior, so make sure you respect the “human” part of it.

Now what does “keep it human” mean? It could mean any or all of the following:

  1. An introductory greeting and opening the door to the customer when they walk into your store
  2. Helping the customer “buy” the right thing to solve their problem and not just try to “sell” them what you have. In some cases, you may not even have the right thing that the customer wants – recommend where they can “buy” the right thing – it means loss of a sale, but could be earning a longtime “relationship”, people typically don’t forget those who help them.
  3. A thank you card send to the customer after purchase
  4. A follow up phone call to make sure the customer is satisfied a few days after purchase
  5. A website that helps the customer finalize the buying decision and written in a language that the customer understands as opposed to one with marketing gobbledygook where the customer feels stupid
  6. A no questions asked, quality guarantee for all purchases
  7. Reachable customer support and friendly voice of the rep that engages with the customer to solve the problem
  8. A business that the customer would like to associate with and recommend to family/friends thereby putting his/her own reputation on the line
and the list could go on.

If you think about it, many of the above holds good for local businesses – the mom and pop stores in your neighborhood. The owner knows many of his customers by name, he chit chats with them when they come in, helps them solve their problem (not just sell them what they have). This is a relationship that has been painstakingly built over the years. The value of the relationship is not completely based on how much money you have spent in the store, but being respectful of you as a human being. In the good and bad economic times, one scarce resource is “customer’s attention”. Business that win more of the customer’s “attention” will succeed. Customers tend to give more “attention” to those that respect them and keep it human.

Do you agree? What would your tips be on “How to keep Customers Loyal?”

Image Courtesy of: Montgomery Public Schools

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2 Responses to Keep it human

  1. drjamesanderson says:

    Gopal,

    Good thoughts. The fancy word for all of this is “rapport”. If we can connect with our customers, then all of sudden it’s not us vs. them, but rather two sides that have bonded.

    The old sales saying is that people like to buy from people who are just like them. If you can “keep it human” then you can make this happen…

    – Dr. Jim Anderson
    The Accidental PM Blog
    “Home Of The Billion Dollar Product Manager”
    Subscribe to The Accidental Product Manager Newsletter now: Click Here!

  2. Susan Oakes says:

    Gopal, your post is a good reminder of what being human is all about, especially taking the cue from the local shop.

    Perhaps it is time to get back to basics, start really connecting on a simple level and not worry so much about the tools and tactics we use.

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