Do you remember what it was like to be you treated like an extra special customer, where you felt valued, important, and genuinely delighted?
Chances are, the moments that truly stood out are the ones that employed some thoughtful execution and a dash of creativity. Sprinkle that with a touch of enthusiasm along with an element of surprise and you’ve got yourself a recipe that will inspire a loyal following.
Let’s take a look at a few creative ideas that did just that.
1. Automated Thanking Machines
Twenty lucky TD Bank customers in Canada were in for a special treat when they got more than just cash wi
thdrawals from their ATM transactions. The “automated thanking machines” doled out varied presents, ranging from round trip tickets, Disney Park tickets, special baseball team kits and freshly cut flowers, to name a few.
What made this tactic noteworthy was the careful planning and thoughtfulness behind the gifts. The bank employees knew their customers very well, so much so that they knew exactly what presents will make them truly happy.
Lesson: Take the time to get to know your customers. Form a relationship that is built on trust and a genuine interest in their general well-being. And then find ways to reward your customers based on what you know about what motivates them, what lights their fire, and what their struggles are.
2. The Happy Thank You
It’s been said that your own name is your favorite word. Hearing it makes you feel validated and important. This is the premise behind this short film by Coca Cola. It follows the lives of ordinary workers in the service industry – drivers, highway tellers, security guards – who do their jobs so well that they’re fondly talked about by the people they serve. However, nobody knows these workers names. A small token of gratitude remedies that: a bottle of coke with their names printed on it brought on surprised smiles on the ordinary worker’s faces.
Lesson: Take the time to not only know your customer’s name, but how to pronounce and spell it correctly. Be mindful of their gender, or any designations they might have. Remember: it’s everyone’s favorite word.
3. Lego’s Awesome Response to a 7 Year Old Customer
This story has been talked about many times before, but it never gets old. When Luca’s dad suggested that they email Lego’s customer service to request for a missing part replacement, a response was the furthest thing from his mind. What he got was so much more than he expected: not only did he get the rare discontinued toy replaced, but also got a a few more complementary toys to add to the little boy’s growing collection.
There was also a thoughtful email message that explains the reason behind the generosity: I included something extra for you because anyone that saves their Christmas money to buy the Ultrasonic Raider must be a really big Ninjago fan.
Lesson: Creativity doesn’t require complicated, grand gestures. Sometimes the simplest solutions have the greatest impact. Lego didn’t just offer a replacement; they turned a seemingly small, middling problem into a wonderful customer loyalty program that’s heartfelt and truly personalized.
4. The Hilarious Flight Attendant
This Southwest Airlines flight attendant has managed to turn a regular air safety spiel into a funny, sidesplitting schtick that has everyone thoroughly entertained at the beginning of a long flight.
She does this not just to get a few laughs or to break the monotony, but mainly to provide an air of levity on a grueling flight.
Lesson: Think out of the box ways to lift the mood in what might usually be a “routine” situation. In this case, the flight attendant helped nervous clients relax and made an otherwise boring event into a memorable, pleasant activity.
5. MayDay Live Tech Support
One of the biggest pain points of customer service is the phone merry go round, where you have to go through so many hurdles before you can talk to a live person who can really help you. The Kindle tech support system cuts through the muck and lets you talk to an actual person at a touch of a button.
Lesson: Find ways to serve your customer’s needs that shows that you value their time and the business they provide. Offer real solutions, not mere promises that leave them dangling.
6. My Starbucks Idea
When their sales figured ended on a sour note in 2008, Starbucks came up with a truly customer centric plan: they crowdsourced ideas straight from their patrons on how to be better. From free wifi to free birthday treats, they didn’t just listen – they executed. And it resulted in 375% increase in brand loyalty.
Lesson: Leverage on how social media and the popularity of crowd sourcing tactics to heed customer needs. Find ways to show you truly listen and value customer’s opinions.
7. 600 Peso Mystery
In this video, a man puts a clear drop box in the middle of a busy mall with a request for a 600 peso donation without knowing what donors will get in return. A woman wanted to satisfy her curiosity, which led her to give away the required amount of money without knowing what she’ll get in return. Her gamble was rewarded ten fold: she won an iPhone, an iPad, Speakers, concert tickets, a cake, and a 600 peso 1 year Spinnr subscription. And the 600 pesos was returned.
Lesson: Help spread a positive life lesson that tugs at the heartstrings or, in this case, makes people think about how they feel about risk and taking a leap of faith.
To rise above the noise in customer service, run of the mill niceties don’t quite cut it anymore. A bit of creativity can leave a positive impression that will get your business talked about, remembered, and re-tweeted to viral proportions on social media.
Photo credit: meylah.com