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Customer Care

handwritten letter, letter writing

The Handwritten Letter

letter writing, handwritten letter

The Handwritten Letter

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Letter writing seems to be a lost art in today's age of instant messaging and email. However, whether it's the power of the written word or the belief that a handwritten letter is more meaningful and unique, it is still alive and kicking as many people prefer to receive handwritten letters and cards.

I remember receiving my birthday card, or an encouraging note (on a notecard!) from the VP of our division, back in my Corporate life. I cannot express how I felt opening that card and reading the handwritten note from her. Even more amazing, was knowing that she took the time to write a personalized message in all the notes and cards she sent out, to all the employees. This is the same tradition my mother instilled in us girls, and I hope I have passed it on to my daughter. The handwritten letter or note is about as personal as you can get, and something I do in my business today.

The process of letter writing has changed over time as we moved more into a digitalized world. However, some people continue to put pen to paper because they believe that there is something more personal about it than other digital formats. Handwritten letters can be more personalized than an email because they can show personality in their words through the actual handwriting itself, or drawing pictures on the letter or card. This personality cannot be replicated in an email or text.

While some people may argue that handwritten letters are less efficient than paperless postcards or emails, there are many benefits to handwritten postcards and letters.

Surprise and delight your clients

Companies should not underestimate the power of handwritten letters. It can increase clients' enthusiasm and surprise them with a personal touch. A handwritten letter helps to form a bond with your client.

Improves your memory

Handwriting helps us remember things better. The act of writing by hand engages more of the brain than typing on a computer or using predictive text on your smartphone. It's easier for us to remember what we've written down if it's in our own handwriting.

Promotes mindfulness

The simple act of handwriting something generates a sense of calm and mindfulness that you can’t get from typing or even talking on the phone. This is the same sense of calm we feel when coloring. Some people use handwritten letters as an excuse to send snail mail – hand-written postcards, letters with drawings, thank you notes, etc. Others use them as a creative outlet – drawing doodles or little sketches on their envelopes for no reason at all.

Allows for reflection and a more thought-provoking message

Handwritten letters are deliberate, thought-provoking, and represent a deeper meaning than an email can. As we move deeper into the digital age and instantaneous writing with predictive text, we sometimes forget how important it is to be intentional with our words and expressions.

Sends the message that you care

Companies that use handwritten postcards or greeting cards for clients show that they have taken the time to personally put something together for them - which is an unexpected touch.

A handwritten letter is a time-honored tradition. It is the perfect way to show someone how much you care. Whether it's a heartfelt note, a long overdue apology, or even an invitation to be your date for the evening—a handwritten letter will express all of your feelings in just the right way.

Handwritten letters are not just about saying what you want to say—they are about who you are as well. Understandably, there are many things that people send by email these days that would have traditionally been sent by paper mail. But if you're looking for something personal and thoughtful, nothing beats the intimacy of the written word on paper!

personalized marketing

Personalize It!

personalized marketing

Personalize It!

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When your clients are happy, they stick around. Studies show that having long-term clients helps you build a trusting relationship which makes it easier to ask your clients for referrals and testimonials. A key ingredient to keeping your clients happy is personalized marketing. 

Some of the benefits of personalized marketing are:

Create a more familiar connection between you and your customers by providing them with content that is relevant to their needs.

Provide a better experience for your customers because they get what they want when they want it.

Boost customer retention because customers feel like their interactions with the company seem more personal, more important.

Keeps your customers interested in your product by providing them with exclusive offers, discounts, and deals just for them.

And, in order for personalized marketing to be successful, you must first know your customer:
1. Research your client
What are their pain points? What are their happy spots? You can use the information you find out about them, and the tools of your trade, to help solve their problem so that they can move through your funnel to the next solution.

 

2. Follow them on social media
Set up alerts on your social media accounts and on Google, to get their updates first. This is going to enable you to check out the messages your top customers are sharing and stating to their friends, family, and if they’re also business owners, their audience.
You can also use their social media to help them by sending messages based on their behavior such as, “I noticed you shared that article about social media marketing. You’ll probably like this article too; I especially liked this part...” or, if you observe them trying one tactic, but you know another one is better, just give them the idea through a personalized message.

 

3. Visit their website
What are their offers? How does the website look? Does it load quickly? What about their keywords and phrases? Do a search and see where they fall. Use this information to send them a personalized web service.
Your goal here is to keep informed about what your clients' current needs are and use that information to offer customized advice based on their actions.

Our jobs as marketers are to understand how the customer wants to buy and help them do so.

-Bryan Eisenberg

So now you have all this wonderful information, what do you do with it? You may not have thought about it before but there are plenty of ways that personalized marketing can help you connect with your clients:
Record a Personalized Video Message 

One way to really wow your top clients is with a private, recorded, personalized video message. You can do this to promote something, to say thank you, or just to say hello or happy birthday. Videos are a hot trend in marketing today, and a personalized video takes you over the top!

Customer Anniversary 
The day your customer first became your customer is a very important date that you should remember. You can use your shopping cart software to examine this information and get the right dates, or the day they signed your service contract. Sending your customer an anniversary message and "thank you for being my customer” message is a great way to create deeper, more trusting, and long-term relationships with your customers.

Customer Birthdays 
Knowing customers’ birthdays is beneficial because it shows customers that they matter enough to remember their special day and it allows you to better tailor communications to your client. Send a specialized birthday message, bonus points if you send a personalized video, to thank them and give them a little coupon or even a real gift, like an Amazon or Starbucks gift card. Get creative and send a QR code to take your customers to the video. Put it on a creative and fun e-card, or add it to a birthday card you plan on sending through the mail. Add something sweet and chocolatey, and you’re a winner.

After Purchase
Whenever your big clients make big purchases, they deserve a little extra high-touch. Send them a personalized thank you mentioning what they purchased, and offering to give them the extra help they may need to make their purchase a success.

Before a Big Event 
If you’re having a big event that your top customer is part of or coming to, send them a personalized message that thanks them, assists them, and makes them even more excited for the event.

New Launch 
If you are getting ready to have a launch, and your product is ready but hasn't hit the market yet, open it to your top customers first. Let them in on the sale early by sending a personalized recorded video message with a link to a personalized “secret” sales page.

Goal Success
Did your client or customer reach an important milestone or goal? Send a special personalized recording as soon as possible after they have achieved success to help them celebrate.

To Say You’re Sorry
Have you ever made a mistake or had something that didn’t go as planned? Heartfelt apologies can go a long way, and a recorded video apology will really wow them.
It has been proven that doing just a little extra will make you really stand out to your top customers and result in an amazing payoff! And bonus? It's actually going to be enjoyable to do, and you’re going to get a lot of valuable information from these customers. They will be helping you perfect your marketing messages to all your customers today and in the future. Plus, due to the added personal service you're providing to your customers, they’ll end up acting as brand advocates, and they’ll likely brag about it again and again to everyone they know.

Good marketing makes the company look smart.

Great marketing makes the customer feel smart.

-Joe Chernov

I would love to hear your ideas on different personalized marketing techniques. Feel free to add more ideas to the comments.

Listen…Your Customers Will Tell You All About Customer Care.

Listen…Your Customers Will Tell You All About Customer Care.

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CUSTOMER CARE

Everyone says customers are first, but so few deliver on that idea. If you are just slightly better than average delivering customer service, you are already most of the way there. Regardless of whether your customer is engaging with you via email, on social media, or elsewhere, they should feel at home, as if everything were made for them - because it is.

Many years ago, I worked as a service advisor in a Chrysler Jeep/Eagle dealership. Our focus was to listen to the customer as if they were the only one in the room and provide a white glove service. This was known as “Customer One” and evolved to customer care. Recently, while preparing my business for launch, I worked with a business coach. He looked over the services I provide and asked if I wanted my clients to feel serviced or cared for. I thought back on my training in that service department, and the positive reviews I received from my customers. I quickly changed my thought process and began offering Customer Care to my clients.

How can you move from customer service to customer care? It begins with Operational Excellence. Simply put, provide a better-quality service, ensure best-practice processes are in place, and if your response time takes longer than 24 hours, improve it!

As a provider:

  • Know your customer’s critical needs!
  • Conduct regular audits of your processes
  • Facilitate just-in-time delivery
  • Do it right the first time

As customer:

  • You must communicate!
Richard-Branson-Virgin-Group

To achieve operational excellence, you and your team must be of the same mindset and behaviors. Mindset must be customer-centric, not about production quotas.

If you do build a great experience, customers tell each other about that. Word of mouth is very powerful. – Jeff Bezos, Amazon

CUSTOMER SATISFACTION

How do you know if your customer is really happy? Do you feel confident that, if given a survey, they would return that coveted 5-star rating? Meeting your customer’s critical needs is paramount. Speaking to those needs is marketing. In today’s highly competitive environment, customer retention is at the top of the list, and customer loyalty is dependent on the customer’s perception. It is no wonder that businesses turn to the Kano Model to determine customer satisfaction. The Kano Model, also known as “Kano Analysis”, was created by Japan’s Dr. Noriaki Kano in 1984.

Kano Model
Kano Model

The model is designed to find the connection between the product or service and customer satisfaction. The model divides attributes into four categories: threshold, performance, excitement and indifferent, to determine customer satisfaction and dissatisfaction

Do you know what your customer wants, what they need? The number one method to determine what they want? ASK THEM and then LISTEN! Find out what makes them tick. Get to know your customer.

LISTEN

Kano suggests that customer satisfaction falls into 3 categories:

  1. Dissatisfiers – this is your basic quality service. It does not increase satisfaction, but absence of will LOWER it; This level must ALWAYS be met.
  2. Satisfiers – This is your performance quality. Simply, you met their expectations.
  3. Delighters – This is the excitement quality – the WOW factor. You exceeded the customer’s expectations; it was an unexpected surprise. This level increases your market share.
listen

We are in an amazing era of technology with an endless set of communication tools in the toolbox. Smartphones have revolutionized the way we can communicate with our customers. You can text, email, video chat, post on social media, and guess what? You can even call them!! Therefore, the best way to find what they really want, and need is to simply ask them.

You’ll want to ask questions like:

  1. What Can I Do to Make Your Life Easier?
  2. What is Your Next Goal?
  3. What Problems or Roadblocks are You Facing Now?
  4. What’s the One Thing You Wish I Did Better?
  5. What’s the One Thing I Did Better?

When reaching out to your customers, the number one rule is to listen. Ask your customer, “What can I do for you today?”  This one sentence packs a powerful punch. It shows you care more for their needs than what they can purchase from you. Take some time to familiarize yourself first with the information you already have about them so that you can mention some of that in your conversation.

High-Touch Customer Care

Butler's gloved hand serving empty silver tray on blue background.  Put your own object on the tray.

High-Touch Customer Care

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Gary Vaynerchuk, serial entrepreneur and one of the most sought after public speakers today, has stated that the best marketing strategy ever is to simply care, and high-touch marketing shows that you care.

High Touch, as defined by yourdictionary.com, is dealing with or interacting with a human being as opposed to transacting with computers or high-tech. High-touch marketing focuses on the human interaction, dealing with or interacting with your customers as human beings in a personal and empathetic way using low-tech methods.

High-touch marketing involves ensuring that you increase the human factor in all your marketing efforts. Even though most of your business may be conducted online today, your customers still value social interaction, and because of this fact, high-touch marketing methods can be the differentiator for your business.

As a small business owner, there is one thing that can set your business apart from the giant multinational corporations - the individual care you can give a customer. You can offer a better experience to your customers because you understand the buyers’ journey and how it relates to what you can offer them at that point in terms of products and education.

High-touch marketing consists of creating hyper-personalized experiences for your best customers.

Customers value experiences today more than ever in the history of humans. The great thing is that you can do that more easily because, as a small business owner, you are able to personalize the customer experience, individually. The hard part is developing that experience, virtually.

With many in a lockdown environment due to the Covid-19 Pandemic, online businesses and websites now have a more attentive audience. You want to be careful with how you nurture that audience; finding the correct balance to keeping their attention, without coming across as a used-car salesman.

Customers Want to Feel Special

The higher value customer experience will translate into your customers feeling like VIPs.

When customers feel like very important people, they are more willing to pay more for that upgraded experience. People will pay for value and feeling special makes them feel important.

High-touch marketing creates excitement and passion because they are getting more of what they really want from you. That means the customer is likely to stick with you long term, thus increasing your lifetime earnings from each new customer acquisition. And, as you develop more trust through your actions, your customers will transform into advocates for your brand.

The most important marketing skill you have is to listen to your customers

Really get to know your customer.  Read all correspondence between your business and the customer. Take notes about their problems, issues, and happiness. Fill in the information in your client file as you discover it.

Using your customer files, try to create a full profile for each of your top customers that include their name, demographics, family information, purchase history, communication history, social media profiles, websites, and more. The more information you can find that is relevant to your offerings, the better.

Do make sure to set a schedule for learning about your top customers, as doing this can be remarkably interesting but quite time-consuming. Remember that this type of marketing is in addition to what you are already doing and not instead of what you are already doing.

Create personalized interactive communities for your VIP customers to join. Really bring the conversation with your best customers to a new level by inviting them to your VIP group that is included in the price of the special unique offering you submitted to them. You can tell them before or after, the critical aspect is that you bring your clients closer to you so that you can help them more and they can learn more. The more open you are, and the more they learn from you, the more likely they are to become the brand advocates you need.

Another way to get to know your customer is through their websites. Once you have their names and information from the shopping cart data, you will want to figure out what you know about them. Find their websites if they have them based on the information you can find in your system. If they do not have websites because they are not business owners too, that’s okay. You can find out information by who they follow and the sites they like to visit.

Social Media is Not a One-Way Virtual Street...

Friend/Follow their social media using the information that you find in your shopping cart data, as well as your autoresponder data, determine what their social media accounts are. Ensure that you follow or friend them based on the information they have given to you. If you discover that you do not have that much information on them, see if you can find them following you on your social media platforms so you can follow them back. If not, invite them to follow you so you can follow them back.

Follow Up! Follow Up! Follow Up!

Send a Thank You Note whenever someone spends a substantial amount of money with you. Thank you notes via email may not really cut it as much as they do for most of your customers. You should reach out with a handwritten note or card to let them know you are thankful.

Following up is as easy as 1-2-3:

1 Day after the sale/service – Send a Thank you

2 weeks later – call or email to see how things are going; ask if they have any questions about the product/service

3 months after the sale/service – Send them a Personalized offering

High-touch marketing is personalized marketing methods that provide a lot of human touchpoints and can easily be incorporated into your business model by:

More Segmentation – The more you can segment your audience, the better. Using the technology to break down your customers into smaller, more personalized groups will help you develop the right offers as well as content to market those offers.

Extreme Personalization – With extreme personalization, it can’t be automated. This is going to include doing things just for one customer at a time. For example, sending a thank you note in the mail after they order.

Personal Phone Calls – Give your buyers a call after they make a purchase to thank them and offer your personal help.  Most of the time, you’ll end up leaving a message, but they’ll still feel super special getting a call of thanks from you.

Relationship Building – Find out who your top five customers are and focus on following them on social media and interacting with them more. You can also send surveys to incorporate technology in helping build the relationships closer.

Customized Packages and Offers – Figure out who your top ten customers are, look at what they have purchased in the past, and develop a special offer that is just for them. Talk to them and let them tell you what they want, then give it to them. We’ll do a deep dive into customer offerings next week.

Ultimately, high-touch marketing is all about super personalized marketing that provides a way for you to include your unique human touch in all your marketing and product creations for your customers - all of them, not just the top ten.

Incorporating high-touch marketing into your business model is going to grow your business and your bottom line like nothing before it. It is truly a win-win for you and your customers.