Consider these two gift-wrapped, celebratory scenarios:
It is your birthday, and among all of the letters and parcels that await you that morning, you spot one addressed from me. Of course, this is not wholly unexpected since (let’s assume the following, even if you don’t actually know me that well) that I am one of your very best friends and a truly lovely person. Now without wanting to add a cynical tone to this happy tale; the reality is that, even with the heartfelt and genuinely giving nature of all the gifts before you, they have only been sent today ‘because’ it is your birthday.
Scenario two is slightly different. It is not your birthday, nor any of the other calendar days traditionally associated with the giving of presents. But as you arrive at the office there is a small gift from your favourite Coach and Mentor. It has complete relevance to your circumstances, was obviously selected with you in mind, and has a small note attached saying ‘I saw this and I thought of you’. (To intensify the impact of my next two questions, let’s also assume that this gift is significantly less expensive than the previous birthday present.)
Which gift will have more resonance with you? Which would mean more?
You cannot automate caring…
We live in a world where everything is instant, we are all too busy, and most things can be systemised. This might mean we can get much more done and get our message out to a far bigger audience, but what if the message is diluted by the act of automation? You need to let your customers know that you care!
Please don’t mistake this observation for cynicism, because I love special occasions as much as the next girl, but only ever sending cards and showing gratitude for a client’s custom at Christmas is a waste of your money. Genuine, heartfelt spontaneity and individual attention will make your customers love you for life. I don’t just mean the giving of gifts and spending money on clients: this includes the simple acts of keeping in touch ‘out of the blue’, bringing their attention to something of relevance in the news, introducing them to new opportunities and simply caring about their world.
How does all of this equate to ROI?
For most companies, recurring income and repeat business is the foundation stone upon which they can accelerate their journey towards success. Central to these things is the customer relationship and the sense that they are buying more than just a commodity at the lowest possible price. *
*(Obviously if your business is all about selling high volume commodities at the lowest possible price, none of the above will really be relevant to you – sorry.)
So by investing a tiny amount in cementing those relationships (relevant information, thoughtful gifts, useful ideas, or simple hellos), your long-term ROI will increase significantly. Don’t just automate communication – make it mean something and let your customers know you care about them (individually as well as collectively). In addition to being genuine, spontaneous communication also makes good business sense.
What about Poldark?
Recently I went for a walk in Ammerdown Woods with two of my friends, their daughters and my daughter. If you have never been, you should, as it is absolutely stunning. Perhaps because it is such an atmospheric and beautiful place that it is occasionally used as a film location that a few scenes from the latest series Poldark were shot there.
Anyway, I took a lovely shot of the three girls while we were out (photography is another of my hobbies) and decided to print it up and frame them to give to my friends. The response I got from this simple gesture was overwhelming, and it was that which gave me the idea for this post.