Getting Personal with your Customers

Most online transactions are fast, efficient, and completely lacking human contact. Why not shock your customers once in a while with a truly personal online experience? Below are 13 ways to get personal (in a good way) with your customers.

1. Shock your first time customers by calling them within a day of their order. Ask them for feedback and thank them for their support.

2. Post online profiles of everyone at the company, but ditch the boring executive bios. Instead post profiles from the rank and file, the people who actually interact with your customers on a daily basis. The profiles will remind your customers they buy from people, not an “organization”

3. Take one day a month and answer the phones yourself. Tell customers who you are and get their feedback first hand. Customer’s love to opine when they know they’re talking to a decision maker. (I guarantee you will walk away with loads of new ideas from this tip).

4. Include a manager’s business card along with every order, along with a note asking for feedback.

5. You know those feedback boxes on your website? Don’t just read them, respond to every single customer who leaves a suggestion. They took the time to leave their 2-cents, don’t they deserve a response? (from my personal experience, customers are utterly shocked when you respond to suggestions. Kinda sad, isn’t it?)

6. Leave smiley face and “thank you” penciled on your customer’s receipt. Restaurant servers do it. It reminds them a real human touched their order.

7. Give to a worthy cause. Make sure you communicate specifically the people who benefit from your donations, so customers feel the connection.

8. Include a picture of each customer service representative in their email signatures. Every time they engage a customer via email, they’ll be reminded a real, caring human being is on the other end.

9. Actually listen and respond to your customers via Facebook and Twitter. It’s shocking how many large brands still just push out updates and never bother to respond to comments or tweets.

10. Start blogging. Scratch the corporate-speak, and find an authentic trust agent from within the company customers will relate to. Zappos is the master of creating a window into company culture with their frequent video blog updates.

11. Publicly recognize your top customers, product reviewers, etc. Link to their profiles on your site. Give them e-badges that signify their loyalty, such how long they’ve been supporting you, etc.

12. Actively call your long-time customers before they call you. Not to sell them something, but rather to get feedback on a recent purchase or service call.

13. Assign a personal customer service rep to each customer. When a customer orders, send them an email letting them know who their personal customer service rep is. Assign the same customer service rep to the same customer each time they order and, voila, you’ve created a relationship.