According to a study done in 2013, the average Starbucks customer visits a store 6 times per month, but the most loyal customers visit the infamous coffee shop 16 times per month.
What makes the most loyal customers come back almost 3 times more than the average customers?
Four words: “Cute Baby. Nice Hat.”
Folks at Starbucks came up with this phrase to help bolster the in-store customer experience. Employees were told (and are probably still told) to compliment customers as they approached the counter to order their drink. If they have a baby, tell them it’s a cute baby. Wearing a hat? Tell them it’s nice. This customer service approach has informally become known as the “Cute Baby Nice Hat” philosophy. And clearly it works.
How B2B Companies Can Incorporate the Philosophy
Sometimes it’s a little too easy for B2B companies to forget that their customers are not corporate logos, but unique individuals who come to work every day just like you do. They have homes and families. They have a life outside of what the data in a website clickstream indicates. They may even get their coffee at Starbucks. A simple compliment is a powerful way to acknowledge your customer while being, of all things, nice.
With social media being so public, complimenting your customer is a lot easier to do than B2B companies think.
Consider these 3 ways to offer a digital compliment to your customer:
1. Join the discussion
Ultimately, you want to give your customers recognition where they deserve it. And what better way to offer up a compliment among their peers?
Find your customers on LinkedIn and look for the groups they participate in. Usually, your LinkedIn feed will show you when people join a new group automatically, or you can visit a contact’s profile and scroll down to the groups section.
Take a look and see if your customer has been participating in any discussion groups. This is a perfect opportunity for you to offer a compliment, and it carries extra meaning because this is where your customer wants to be seen as influential.
If they are active, just add a comment. But even if they aren’t recently active you can still pull them in. Your post can read:
“Had a great talk with (insert customer name here) at (company) so surprised to learn about their conversion rates.”
Be sensitive to your customer’s personality (you don’t want to catch them off-guard or put them on the spot) and make sure whatever you say relates to the LinkedIn group in some way.
A simple compliment can give some credit to your customer, bolstering their reputation as someone worth knowing.
2. Play matchmaker
Everyone has a life outside work. Take off your business hat and put on your people hat by finding a unique hobby your customer participates in.
This is generally an easy thing to do if your customer has social media profiles. Take a look and see if they mention anything in particular about their hobbies. It’s important for all B2B companies to know what your customers’ interests are outside their role as a “customer.”
You may discover you have a common passion – which is fantastic. But you may also find that you don’t share any interests, and that’s ok too – you may know a different customer who does! This is where you can start to build depth in your community.
A B2B salesperson did exactly what I’m suggesting, she discovered her customers hidden hobbies and passions either through social media or general conversation. She found one customer who absolutely loved motorcycles and introduced him to another one of her customers who shared the same passion. The two customers buddied up after the introduction, even going on a ride together during an industry event they were both attending. All because of a salesperson who understood these two customers are first and foremost people.
The lesson of this story is that if you are able to identify customers with a same passion and introduce them to each other, your business will ultimately benefit from the bond because those two customers have a strong, positive connection to your company.
3. Send a compliment publicly
Besides LinkedIn, there are other social media sites where your customers spend their time. Figure out the ones your customers is on and offer a compliment via social media.
– Tweet them an article you found that made you think of them. Maybe an article on their favorite hobby, or something relating to their job.
– Repost an article they wrote or were interviewed in via LinkedIn
Using social media to connect with your customers on a personal level feeds into your relationship with them, ultimately making it stronger. Your customer will thank you for thinking of them, but more importantly they will recognize that you see them more than a customer, you see them as a person.[title]How Do You Send a Compliment to a Customer?[/title]
What do you like doing to let your customers know they are appreciated? Join the conversation by commenting below.