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Marketing / Business relationships

Increase customer loyalty: Small things, big impact

Ever notice that the little things you do in business have the biggest impact on your customers and their loyalty? It’s something we should all think about if we want to increase customer loyalty.

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Our family cat was hit by a car and killed, which was a very emotional and traumatic experience for us. Two businesses I dealt with the following day showed me how much the small things mean to me as a customer.

Firstly, I set off to visit our local vet. The previous week I had been in and purchased a new bag of cat food, a worming tablet, and a six-pack of flea treatments – all of which were unused and needed to be returned.

The only hiccup was that I had already broken the foil on one of the flea treatments to remove it for use during the week. So although the product had not been used the packaging was damaged.

I expected to be told I couldn’t return the product due to the open packaging and would have been accepting of that, but although I didn’t really care about the money, it was still $70 I didn’t want to waste if I could avoid it.

Small thing: The receptionist at the vet clinic was very happy to refund me for all purchases including the opened flea treatment, and explained that they’d be able to sell it to a staff member.

"It occurs to me that as small business owners, we’re ideally placed to celebrate the small, and make a conscious effort to add the little touches to our clients’ days."

Big impact: I was enormously grateful to be met with compassion and not strict rules and policies. It made a very difficult and emotional morning easier to get through. I am not sure whether the people I dealt with at the vet are aware of how much this really did mean to me.

Next, I needed to contact the cattery that we use when we go on holidays. Our cat was already booked in for a visit over Christmas, and that needed to be cancelled. The person who answered the phone was very kind and compassionate and offered condolences.

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Small thing: A few days later a handwritten card from the owner arrived sending her personal wishes and expressed her sorrow at our loss.

Big impact: The phone conversation had already totally met my needs and expectations as a customer. Receiving the card was very touching and made me feel like the cattery really cared about our cat and us, and that they acknowledged what a sad experience this was for us.

It occurs to me that as small business owners, we’re ideally placed to celebrate the small, and make a conscious effort to add the little touches to our clients’ days.

Having recently experienced the power of being on the receiving end of these ‘small things’, I’ve been thinking more deeply about the opportunities I have in my business to make a big impact through small actions:

  • What would make my clients feel that I care beyond the call of being their coach?
  • Where can I show compassion beyond the expected response?
  • What small act would surprise a client and make them feel special?

As the song says, From little things, big things grow. What small action could you take today that would have a big impact on your customers, and in turn increase customer loyalty?

Linda Anderson

is a Certified Professional Coach dedicated to helping people live bold and rewarding lives. Linda has an energetic and direct style of coaching which suits people who like to be challenged.

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