“...No product is perfect in if it’s presented to the customer in a way that doesn’t appear to be “caring” to the intended recipient. No matter how delicious the food, no matter how safe the jet travel, if it’s presented in a way that doesn’t show care for the customer, it’s not going to be a hit.”
Micah Solomon, a customer service consultant, keynote speaker, and the author of High-Tech, High-Touch Customer Service, says that in addition to providing a “perfect” product it’s critical to also provide what he calls, caring delivery.
Building Loyalty One Hug At A Time
There are few gestures that can show genuine care more than a hug. On certain occasions, a hug may be deemed an appropriate action, but those times are infrequent in the business world. We all know that there are huggers and non-huggers. Everyone has been faced with the awkward situation of being hugged by a hugger when you least expect it. You know, like the time at the annual holiday party when Mr. Huggler approached you and embraced you in a way-longer-than-comfortable bear hug. Many of us have also been surprised with a gift from a business contact or professional colleague. That moment of, “Wow, thanks but I didn’t get you anything…yet” can take the wind out of your sails faster than the arms of Mr. Huggler can extend his arms from across the room.
Both encounters can make you feel incredibly appreciated or totally inadequate. Or sometimes a bit of each, at the same time! There is no way to predict when these moments will creep up, but it’s always good to be prepared for the unexpected hugger or gift-giver.
Recent Survey Data
GiftCard Partners recently surveyed the professions surrounding the real estate market, including real estate agents/broker and mortgage lenders in an effort to find out if and how real estate companies use non-cash rewards, in particular gift cards. Below is a brief summary of the findings:
- 87 percent of respondents reported using gift cards during the past 12 months
- Nearly 80 percent gave gift cards as a gift to a client upon closing a transaction
- About 50 percent used them as sales incentives for agents and while engaging in a referral
- Over 33 percent used them for open house drawings or giveaways to other agents
10 Tools Of Caring Delivery
The right marketing tactics can keep a steady stream of customers despite the ups and downs of the economy. The use of some basic communication tools could pay big dividends for the growth of your business and brand. Here are the top 10 ways to create customer loyalty in real estate:
- Send personalized, hand-written thank-you notes
- Acknowledge special occasions with a gift (i.e. holidays, birthdays, anniversaries and births)
- Keep in touch with friendly phone calls
- Host customer appreciation events with a drawing for a gift card (or free hugs)
- Provide educational classes, workshops or seminars (including workplace etiquette tips)
- Act as a resource
- Create a blog and keep it updated with useful information
- Send regular email communications: highlight any useful info, a blog post, or an upcoming event
- Invest in your customers
- Refer back to other professionals who support your business
There is an opportunity for real estate companies to show their appreciation through the use of gift cards as part of their long-term strategy to increase referrals. It can also help to show value, create sales incentives, offer survey or contest rewards, and even attract new customers. Gift cards are a powerful thank-you tool that also builds loyalty beyond the surface – positively impacting your brand. They will be remembered longer than an unexpected embrace. This is a prime example of caring delivery.
Building customer loyalty is an important part of a comprehensive marketing and customer appreciation plan. Using these tools to build effective referral networks with prospects and customers, are all key components to staying competitive in any market.
These 10 simple tools can help you show how much you care. You can get a jump on building loyalty with your prospects and customers, just don’t use the “jump hug” unless you know the recipient is expecting it.