In the world of marketing and customer service, we talk a lot about knowing our customers. This means several things. One way of knowing our customers is knowing what they want from us and why they do business with us.
Another way of knowing our customers is literally knowing who they are. It might be acknowledging their presence in your store of restaurant. It might be calling them or dropping them a note to say “hi”. It involves knowing them as real people rather than nameless, faceless customers.
Yesterday I was talking about this with Stevie Ray. Stevie is an expert at understanding people and why we do what we do. He runs Stevie Ray’s Improv Company which does consulting, teaching, coaching, training and many other things relating to helping people communicate better.
One of Stevie comments was that people love being recognized. No matter what the business, if you walk in and an employee greets you by name and chats with you, even for just a moment, it can make a huge difference in your loyalty to that business.
I agree completely.
Take restaurants, for example. There are about eight restaurants my wife and I go to on a regular basis. They probably get 90% of our dining budget. At every one of them someone knows us. It might be a server or the hostess. Maybe it’s the manager or owner. But in every case, someone recognizes us and lets us know they recognize us.
There are 336 restaurants in a 12 mile radius of where we live and work. Yet these eight restaurants get most of our dining dollars.
A big reason for this is because they take the time to acknowledge us as people. Doing so makes us feel welcomed. We feel they want us to be there. We feel connected to them.
Some big companies have figured out how to do this and they do it well. Many small businesses do this well because the owners are naturally outgoing and friendly. Others focus on it and make it a priority.
One of the best ways to grow your business is to keep people coming back. A simple way to do this is know your customers. Recognize and remember them. Find ways to let them know you want them to be a part of your world. Connect with them as people and you’ll keep them coming back again and again.