There's a recent insurance commercial that shows a husband whispering on the phone in his living room late at night. His wife comes downstairs and thinks she has caught her spouse on the phone with another woman. She grabs the phone and asks what "she" is wearing, before receiving her husband's reply of, "Uh, khakis." The husband is actually on the phone talking with his insurance agent! What's the point of this commercial, besides the humorous twist? That the agent is willing to go above and beyond, and in doing so, is showing just how much he cares about his customers.
Just as it's essential to remember your employees are people, it's just as crucial to treat your customers as human beings. In the above example, the insurance agent was in full customer support mode even in the wee hours of the morning - khakis and all. Obviously this commercial is a little extreme, but it exemplifies how to make your customers feel like they're being cared for around the clock - which, in turn, creates loyalty. After all, they're looking for a connection to your brand and your brand isn't anything without that bond.
Here are three practical ways to ensure your customers feel like you're treating them as a unique individual, and not just another notch in the brand belt.
Remember, each customer is a unique person who needs just a bit of special attention, and these are three easy ways to make them feel good without consuming too much of your time. But don't worry - you don't have to sport khakis while applying them. Unless that's your thing, of course.
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Laney Whitcanack is Federated Media Publishing's chief community officer. Prior to joining FM, Laney co-founded BigTent in 2006 and focused on innovating online and offline ways to connect people with communities they care about. She spent the decade previous to BigTent coaching and training hundreds of community leaders, in the U.S. and Mexico, most recently as the director of community programs for the Coro Center for Civic Leadership.
A published author and speaker on entrepreneurship and community organizing, Laney received the Jefferson Award for Public Service in 2008. She is currently a board member of Zeum: San Francisco's Children's Museum and The Princess Project and is involved in even more community groups after the birth of her daughter, Campbell, last year. Laney has a B.A. from UCLA, and MBA from the Simmons School of Management, and an Ed.M from Harvard University.
March 19, 2014