How to Make the Ordinary Feel Special for Your Customers

I was picking up a few things for my cat and checking out at PetSmart this week. As I entered my card information, I was asked if I wanted to donate to PetSmart Charities.

Having a soft spot for animals, I left a small donation.

When I got home later that evening, I was surprised to find an email from PetSmart with the subject “Thank you for helping save a life.”

The email went on to explain how even a $2 donation helped provide pets with vaccinations, but also the impact a $25 or $50 gift could have.

You know, I’ve made these donations in the past, but they’re usually pretty mindless. You make the donation and the register and then forget about it moments later.

But in this case, I was inclined to visit the PetSmart Charities website and learn more about their work. In a nutshell, it made me feel great.

Everybody wants to feel special, and everybody likes to see their name in lights.

Think about that subject line… It wasn’t “Thank you for your donation.” It was, “Thank you for helping save a life.” It made me feel like I’d done some real good.

In my earlier days working with small businesses around town, I would often help them draft customer newsletters which always had a component that featured new, existing and top customers. We also featured and profiled employees for the customers.

Everybody loved it.

More specifically, newsletters would highlight what the best customers were doing and the types of actions they took. This would subconsciously convey to new clients and customers that there are certain ways their customers behave and act. It shows customers the recognition and rewards that come from a higher level of loyalty.

In a nutshell, it’s setting the tone for the customer’s experience.

This simple little email sent after donating does something similar, and I’m certainly far more likely to make another donation the next time I visit the store.

It caught me doing something good, and it rewarded me for that. It’s a win for everybody – They’ll get more donations from me, I have a better understanding of the impact of my donation, and most importantly (to me), it gave me a warm glow inside to be recognized.

That feeling of happiness & pride was worth way more than the amount donated, and of course, the good folks at PetSmart know that.

Think about this has it applies to your customers and employees.

What processes do you have set up to help create a sense of pride/warmth in your employees when they do things well, or when they go above and beyond?

What systems do you have in place to make your customers feel special? How are you ensuring that they understand the full breadth of the value you bring to them, their families, and their communities?

Feel free to swap customers & employees.

Experiment with ways to communicate the value you offer and the amount they bring you.

And most importantly, reach out to your clients regularly with stories of how you’re helping other clients, how you think you can help them, and if at all possible, the impact they’ve had on you.

Show them that you understand their world and that you appreciate them.

Help them understand what you can do to make their world better.

Your Challenge For This Week: In a couple of quick sentences, describe to me how and how often you find ways to congratulate employees and customers for doing things right.

Pose this same question to many people in your company including customer-facing staff and senior leadership, and see how closely everyone’s responses match up.

For bonus points, ask a random sampling of your customers if they feel you do enough to appreciate them.