4 Ways to Kindness Can Tip the Scale With Customers

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I grew up slinging dishes and, at one point, was a server at the coolest Mexican restaurant in town. Anyone who was or is a server knows that the nicer you are to customers, the bigger your tips. But you may not realize that you can take that lesson into the business world, too. Hello, retention.

In my experience, half the battle is being exceptional in your communication approach, like asking your customers proactively how things are going, reaching out to see what goals on their side are being met or even simply sending a note of appreciation. The list goes on as to how you can put the KIND (“K” for short) in customer care. Check out my tips on getting “tips” in business.

Related: We Need to Stop Sucking at Customer Service

The white-glove approach

Today, good customer service is expected. You need far more than that to make your business stand out and retain customers. That’s why I teach my staff about the white-glove approach, where you go a step (ideally, multiple steps) above good customer service to surpass expectations by prioritizing their needs, personalizing their experiences and being dedicated to their success.

What’s the key here? That you truly care about your customers, of course! And how do we show that at my PR agency? By being kind. Seems simple, right? But you’d be surprised how few businesses put it into practice.

Four ways kindness can tip the scale with customers

Being “kind” is defined as displaying a sympathetic or helpful nature. It’s not something you necessarily associate with the business world, but remember, at the end of the day, your clients are people, too. At our core, we all share basic human needs: connection and significance (feeling valued). It’s not sappy; it’s science, and trust me, infusing kindness into your interactions with customers can make such a difference. In business terms, it’s 100% ROI because it costs you nothing but will pay dividends. Here are four ways to put the “K” in customer care.

1. Send thank-you notes

This doesn’t have to be anything fancy — the thought truly counts. So whether you handwrite a thank-you card and (gasp!) mail it or send an email or text, a simple thank-you showing appreciation for their business and your working relationship will go a long way.

Even better, send it at an unexpected time, not just during the holidays, when everyone does the same. It will stand out and mean so much more.

Related: Handwritten Thank You Notes Matter More Than Ever. Here’s Why.

2. Check in regularly

Whether daily, weekly or monthly, let your customers know how their projects are progressing and what your team is currently doing for them. And make sure to highlight successes. A little bragging never hurt — in the proper context, of course!

I also like to use these check-ins to personalize the customer experience by asking how often my customers want updates and through what means: calls, emails, Zoom, full reports or a combination of these.

Some customers are hands-off, and some want to know every detail, so this act of kindness not only gives me a means to connect with them regularly but to do so in a way that values their preferences.

Related: Use This Secret Customer Service Technique to Boost Your Customer Retention and Loyalty

3. Listen to them

I’d say a key to the point above on asking your customer’s check-in preferences is that it only works if you listen to them! Again, it sounds obvious, but admittedly, this is a hard one for me. Not that I don’t want to listen, but I’m a natural talker and really love connecting with my customers.

On the one hand, this is a competitive advantage because it’s actually part of our mission to be an extension of our customer team. But on the other, taking a step back and really listening to your customers about what they need and want is powerful. Then closing that circle to offer those things in your own service language is really the epitome of customer care.

4. Remember the little things

You expect your family and friends to remember important dates and favorite things. But when a vendor does it, wow! I can probably count on two hands the number of times this has happened to me as a customer myself, but the fact that I remember those incidents speaks volumes. As does the fact that it makes me want to work with those people even more because they care!

Related: How to Grow Your Business — Even When You Have No Idea What You’re Doing

Beyond that, simple kindnesses like opening the door if you’re together in person, asking how their vacation went or inquiring about their plans for the weekend make a huge impact on a personal (yet still professional) level. And, hey, I’m not above having a cheat sheet on each customer — their kids’ names, the breed of their pet dog, their favorite things — for reference!

The point is, the little ways we can show kindness not only have your customers liking you more, but they can breathe a bit easier. Because if you care enough to remember, you certainly have their back with the projects they’ve entrusted to you, making them want to continue the working relationship. Customer loyalty for the win!

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