In a world that gets less personal all the time, the personal touch, as we call it, can have a big impact.
Personal thank you cards from retail businesses whee we spend money — personally addressed, personally signed, maybe even a $5 coffee card in it — are rare. Gifts of any kind from businesses where we spend money, are rare.
All the while, we can buy more and more ‘stuff’ online. Almost anything we want.
Each of us can spend money in an actual store where there are actual people … or we can order it online, and avoid the hassle and travel and parking and gas — and often, perhaps most importantly, we can avoid dealing with people who don’t really seem to appreciate that we’re there. They don’t seem to care that we are the ones who put bread on their table with the money we spend.
And so online grows. And retail continues to struggle. And we read about Target closing stores, and all kinds of retail stores — big and small — closing. The business isn’t there for them any more.
Well, the business is there. The money, the customers, are there. And more and more of those customers, and their dollars, are buying online. It’s easier. It’s often cheaper. And really, going into a lot of retail stores just isn’t very pleasant.
Quite a few years ago, I read about this study. It asked people why they quit shopping at a business.
They tabulated the results. Some people didn’t buy the product any longer. Some had moved. Some had died (those people weren’t able to respond!) … Some bought from a relative now. Some said prices were too high. And a few other answers.
And there was ONE reason why most people quit shopping in a business.
This one reason was given by 67% of the people who answered this survey.
Sixty-seven percent of people quit shopping at a business, because of the ‘perceived indifference’ on the part of the people in that business.
In other words, almost 7 out of 10 people who quit shopping at a business, did so because they felt like the people there didn’t really care about them.
I’ve written thousands of words on this topic because it’s so critical — and missed by, it seems, most businesses. Most customers leave businesses for reasons completely within the control of the people in that business. There’s this huge amount of business that is lost, because customers think the people in that business don’t care about them.
Think back on the customers that you do NOT have any more.
What if you could get back 70% of them by showing them some love? By showing them, in a lot of different — and simple, and affordable — ways that you care about them and appreciate them?
Think about the customers you have now. You’re going to lose some. Every business does. But what if you could KEEP 70% of the customers you otherwise will lose? What if they did NOT go away? What if you did NOT have to replace them?
If you lose 100 customers a year now … what if you only lose 30 in the next year?
What if you could reduce customer loss by 70% … by showing a lot of love to the people who spend money in your store, and put bread on your table?
So we get to thank you cards.
These cards are really all about loving your customers.
I write cards with a pretty simple purpose: to make the person you send it to, feel good. Feel better because of what they read. The idea is to lift people up. Make them laugh, smile. Feel something that they might not often feel. I want the people who read these, to stop, and go, ‘Wow. That’s really nice.’
I believe in lifting people up. And we have opportunities to do that every day. Many opportunities. We can do it with each person we talk to on the phone. Each person we see face to face. We can say things that make him or her feel better for having talked with us.
And if we do those kinds of things for people, they want to be with us.
If we do those kinds of things for customers, we’ve just increased the odds that they’ll stay customers. If we love them, they’ll come back for more love — and for more of whatever it is we sell.
Conversely … if we fail to make people feel good, appreciated, special, smart … if we fail to lift them up … if we talk to them with trite, boilerplate words and phrases … they’ll leave us. They’ll just buy online. That way, they don’t have to be treated with that ‘perceived indifference.’
Indifference is the great killer of retail businesses. And it is, can be, the greatest strength of retail businesses.
The retail businesses that thrive in the years ahead — and there are those businesses — will be the ones who love their customers. They love them when they walk in the door. They love them while they’re there. And they love them after they’ve left.
Those businesses will send thank you cards — ones that actually say something, and mean something, and make people feel something.
Those businesses will spend money on their customers — thank gifts. Coffee cards. Chocolates. More expensive gifts for customers who spend more.
People need, above all else in this world, to feel loved, and special, and smart, and appreciated, and wonderful, and cool, and awesome.
We hope we get those feelings from the ones in our day to day lives — our lover, spouse, parents, friends, neighbors. And sometimes we do. And sometimes we don’t.
Sometimes we get those feelings from someone who works in a business. From someone who talks to us with kindness. Who has a gentle smile, a warm hello. Who pays attention to us, makes us feel good, when we are in a store. It could be the grocery clerk. It could be the shoe salesman at Nordstrom. It could be the barista at Starbucks or a local coffee shop.
Our job is to lift people up. Yours. Mine. Our job is to love the people who put bread on our table. They work hard for their money. Our livelihoods depend on them.
If we love them, if we show them we care, if we make them feel special, important, awesome, cool … yes, cool! … they will come back to be with us again. We all seek people like that in our lives. Let’s be people like that. In our face to face contacts, on our phone calls — and let’s send out cards to people who mean so much to us.
With the cards I write, I hope YOU get excited to actually send them!
It can be hard to find cards you WANT to send — I mean cards that YOU like, that make YOU feel good to send, that make YOU laugh, make you feel something, too.
It can be hard to find cards that say what you really feel. Sometimes we don’t know what we really feel — until the words are in front of us.
I write words that I hope say what YOU feel. And say what you want to say to your customers — you just couldn’t find the words. And now you have them. And now it’s easy to send a card — and it’s fun. And you feel good. And your customers feel good to get them.
I hope you find the cards affordable. I am shocked when I go into drug stores and see cards that are $3, $4, $5, sometimes even more. My Mom sometimes wants to buy several of these cards. I tell her, “Mom, just send whoever it is a $5 coffee card from Starbucks. They love that. And if you spend $5 on a card, they’ll glance at it and toss it!” Which is true … lol …
So I’ve priced the cards to make it affordable.
But more important than that — at least as important — is that they are cards you WANT to send. And at least as important as that … when your customers get the cards, they like the card! They’re surprised, charmed, delighted! They laugh out loud, they chuckle, they feel something soft inside because the words you say really touch them.
If we do these things for customers — and I call it all ‘love’ … lifting people up, making them feel better, making them laugh, these things are high forms of love — then we’ve done good things for our business, too.
Love them, and they’ll come back. Heck, we know that NOT loving them, ignoring them, being indifferent toward them, those things will cost us a great many of those customers.
So let’s love customers. Let’s do it when we are with them. When we talk with them on the phone. And let’s do it with a cool note after they’ve left.
Love is powerful. None of us get tired of being loved, of people who make us laugh and feel beautiful and special and smart. Let’s do those things for our customers. Let’s be bright lights for our customers, let’s be the ones who encourage them and bring kindness and warmth and laughter into their lives.
I think that’s good for business. I hope you think so, too.