Whether you are a fan or would rather avoid the day of love, there is a lesson to be learned for small businesses. As we can all relate, it can get cold in the world of selling and buying. (And I'm not just referring to the shopping carts exposed to the 'Polar Vortex'). Often, the process is about getting the transaction done as quickly as possible. And, sure, customers like convenience and instant gratification. But there is always room for a little intimacy, even in the business world...
When you really think about it, customers don't trust products, they trust the people behind those products. The ones designing them, building or configuring them, testing them. And you build trust through intimacy. Here are a few ideas on incorporating intimacy;
- A Personal Touch. A friendly voice is always a warm welcome. Whether I'm making a doctor's appointment, placing an order or looking for someone to voice a complaint, the person's tone sets the stage. (Yes, even employees in the complaint, er, customer service department must be cheerful). And a live human voice is always better than an automated one. (Brrr). If face-to-face, a firm handshake would suffice. And always encourage communication between the customer and your company. Nothing is more frustrating than not finding a phone number on a website. Put it everywhere.
- Be Revealing. Reveal something special about yourself or your company. Take them behind the scenes of how their product is being handled.
Share your beliefs. Maybe your company is a big supporter of a local charity. Share that information. Maybe you do something special for your employees. Share that, too. People like to hear that you have happy employees, not disgruntled ones. You're proud of them, show them off.
- Icing on Top. Just a little extra effort goes a long way. Like a thank you card or a call (emails don't count). A special treat just for visiting. Free samples. And who doesn't like to be remembered on their birthday?
Many times, it doesn't come down to which product has more bullet points in features. It's the personal, human relationships that make a difference. So bring a little warmth to a customer today. No, don't just crank up the thermostat. Although, a box of chocolates certainly wouldn't hurt...