by Lisa Zone

May 24, 2016

I’ve had “write blog post” on my to-do list for several weeks now. Trouble is, I’ve had little inspiration for said post, which made it easy to keep hitting “dismiss” on that calendar appointment. That is, until I got into work the other day to discover unexpected flowers in my office. And this blog post was born.

As I arranged the bouquet in its vase, I realized the act of giving (and receiving) flowers can be a metaphor for how brands can create loyalty among their customer base. Am I suggesting you send flowers to your top customers? Certainly not. But I AM suggesting you think about what the act of giving flowers represents – surprise, delight and thanks – and how it can apply to your brand:

  • SURPRISE– As I learned when I found the flowers in my office, good surprises are fun. Good surprises tell the recipient you are thinking about them, they’re important to you and you’ve done this [insert special thing here] with them in mind. Now translate that to your brand. Are you surprising your customers? Even small gestures can yield big rewards – and cement loyalty – if done authentically and without expectation of anything in return. With the daily hum of managing budgets and timelines, though, this kind of thoughtfulness can often go overlooked. But if you’re not surprising your customers, is someone else? If so, you may be the one in for the biggest surprise of all – when you lose that piece of business to the competition.
  • DELIGHT– Surprises are positive really only when they’re good, right? (If you don’t believe me, let’s talk about that unexpected car repair bill or missed deadline on that big project.) And what feeling does a good surprise elicit? Delight. When was the last time you did something that provoked a “Wow, you didn’t have to do that, but I’m so glad you did!” response from a customer? (By the way, that’s exactly what I said to the person who gave me the unexpected flowers.) Personally, I’ve gotten responses like that for acts ranging from sending a $20 bucket of popcorn to providing counsel that the client said was “exactly what I have been saying for weeks!” Creating that sense of delight can be especially meaningful and impactful when dealing with new customers, who are perhaps used to a lesser level of service, expertise or professionalism. What is your company’s plan to delight new customers out of the gate and make them feel good about their choice to partner with you for the long term?
  • THANKS– In business and in pleasure, the act of thanking someone can go a long way. (Those flowers were a thank you for a favor I had done.) But in the daily grind of trying to deliver (these days, oftentimes with limited time or resources, it seems), saying thanks for your business can carry a lot of weight. Did someone recently refer a new customer to you? Or did your long-time client make that recent project a walk in the park? Once you all breathe a collective sigh of relief after that big project concludes, don’t forget to take that last step and thank your customer for his or her partnership.

Do you subscribe to any of these – or other – suggestions? If you do, my guess is your customer loyalty is probably coming up daisies.