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Create Memories With Your Customers To Increase Loyalty

Create Memories With Your Customers To Increase Loyalty

When a customer buys something, most businesses provide them with a receipt, a bag if they need one, and some kind of “thank you” to close out the transaction. The truly successful companies also throw in a little dopamine. As a natural chemical found in the human body, dopamine acts as a sort of

When a customer buys something, most businesses provide them with a receipt, a bag if they need one, and some kind of “thank you” to close out the transaction. The truly successful companies also throw in a little dopamine.

As a natural chemical found in the human body, dopamine acts as a sort of neurotransmitter. It gives us that pleasurable feeling when we’ve been rewarded for certain kinds of behaviours.

You probably experience this every time you check your email or refresh your social media feed. Receiving a friendly message or getting some new “likes” on a Facebook post feels good, right? Dopamine makes us recognize that good feeling and continue to seek it out, over and over again.

In a similar way, the businesses that thrive are those whose customers keep coming back for more. Not simply for more of the same product or service, but for everything about the entire experience. These kinds of companies stand out, in part, because they tend to be the exception to the general rule.

How often have you walked into a store, distracted with thoughts about everything you needed to do that day? How often have you barely paid attention when you picked an item off the shelf, carried it to a cashier and paid for it? You might find yourself back outside again with hardly any recollection of what just happened.

Many buying experiences become so routine we can almost sleepwalk through them, or experience them the way we tie our shoelaces. There’s nothing about them to make you stop and savour the moment.

Proactively thinking through the experience you offer a customer — especially if they’re not a customer yet — is a way of focusing on growth rather than an individual sale. If you get the experience right, where it’s both positive and memorable, customers will want more. They’ll stay loyal, which means less time spent trying to get more customers to replace those who don’t come back..

This kind of memory-making activity doesn’t necessarily require a large investment. It just requires some strategic thinking. Think about the following:

The handwriting effect

In a world where almost everything is typed out, there’s something innately human about getting a handwritten note.

Imagine placing an order for a product via e-commerce and finding a handwritten thank-you included with the product when you open it. Or a note that offers some advice on how to make the best use of the product.

It might not be feasible to handwrite notes for every customer once you get to a certain size, but you can use marketing automation software to achieve a similar effect. A note with the customer’s name and any details about their account history or their preferences will go a long way towards making the experience more memorable.

The ‘straight from the top’ effect

In many of our day-to-day iterations with companies we deal with junior to mid-level employees. These could be store associates in the consumer space, and sales reps in the business-to-business (B2B) sector.

On occasion, however, you might have an experience where a senior executive or even the CEO of the company decides to play a hands-on role. They might come down from an upstairs office to chat you up and thank you for your purchase, or be summoned by staff to help deal with a product issue.

When “the boss” comes forward, customers feel like they’re interacting with someone who is more deeply invested in the company’s fortunes. They are presumably busier than everyone else, so taking the time with you as a customer feels special.

To achieve this effect at scale, think about how you might use technology to more easily route people to the most qualified customer service agents to deal with their issue. Or simply arm all agents with better information so that customers can be treated as well as if they were talking to the head of the company.

The candy bowl effect

Sometimes hotels, banks or offices in other businesses will greet visitors with something besides a smiling receptionist.

There might be a bowl of candies sitting at the receptionist’s desk, for example. You might ask tentatively: “Is it alright if I take one?” When the answer is an enthusiastic “yes,” there’s an instant satisfaction of getting something sweet without having to do anything in return.

You don’t have to give your customers candy, of course. The point is to think of what you could offer with a spirit of genuine goodwill, even if the person you’re offering it to might not turn out to be a customer.

Throw in some extra batteries when a consumer buys an electronic gadget. Offer free access to an eBook or other asset if you’re a B2B company. Step up (without being asked) when there’s a need to do some fundraising or somehow support a cause that’s important to your community.

Demonstrating generosity, especially when it’s not common or expected, will almost always get people to notice your company and remember you when it’s time to make their next purchase.

Final thoughts: the practice of memory-making

There’s a common thread running through all these techniques, to create memories with your customers.

First, they appeal to people emotionally. You’ll spend a lot of time articulating your value proposition and marketing to your target market on an intellectual level, but that’s not always enough. You want to become unforgettable — in a good way.

The other common thread is that all of these effects contain an element of surprise. We all have enough challenges throughout our day, and when a company takes extra effort to provide a good experience, we’re taken off guard. This forces us to then take a second look. And by that point, we’re well on the way to becoming a customer.

Just remember to look at all these effects and turn them into repeatable, consistent processes. Customers will most likely remember the last experience they had with you best of all. Make sure it was as good, if not better, than the one that came before.

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