Adding a “Personal Touch” Boosts Customer Loyalty

Businesses are constantly on the hunt for new customers and the hardwood lumber industry is no exception. However, the drive for new customer acquisition sometimes comes at the expense of established customers, who may feel neglected or overlooked by the business. Whenever possible, it’s imperative not to let this happen.

We feel a strong sense of responsibility to our loyal customers at Baillie. We’re always looking for new ways to connect with customers to foster a deeper relationship, recognizing that these customers form the backbone of our business. That is what serving as a trusted hardwood advisor and supplier to customers is all about!PersonalTouch

How can adding a “personal touch” strengthen customer loyalty to your business? Here are a few thoughts:

Keep customers informed. Communications may be the most cost-effective way to boost customer loyalty. Ask for permission to send customers business updates on a regular basis. These updates can include information on:

  • Changes in the business (new operations, new personnel, etc.)
  • How-to tips on blog posts and elsewhere, for better use of your products or services
  • Industry news
  • Profiles of loyal customers

Let customers know “how your company is handling certain situations by providing as much information as you can,” advises TANK New Media. “Every touchpoint you offer to your audience helps them feel more connected to your brand.”

Additionally, we have found this particularly useful when promoting specialty products like our Super Prime White Oak, Cabinet Grade Cherry, or Walnut Prime Strips. It has also been effective when we are trying to educate our customers on continuous quality improvement efforts we have been working such as the addition of T-sheds, new dry, etc.

Expand the range of interactive options. Customers complete their buying journey through different avenues. Making this process as easy and convenient as possible is another way to boost customer loyalty.

Some customers choose to get information or go online without any need for human contact. Others rely on speaking with an actual person, not coping with an automated message. It’s up to every business to “incorporate the best technology you can afford, and also give your customers the opportunity to access real people in real-time,” notes Financial Smarts. While employing these digital touchpoints, “make sure to provide your clients with contacts they can reach out to if they want more assistance.”

Introduce customers to your team. Traditionally, businesses highlight their business leaders in materials provided to the public, both online and in print. A more effective way of encouraging a connection between your business and customers may come in singling out the people who make things happen behind the scenes.

Consider posting brief profiles of members of your customer service team (and others in the organization, where appropriate). Adding a face to business processes—through photos, profiles, Q&As, etc.—helps strengthen connections between you and your customers.

Provide special programs or offers. A great way to drive customer loyalty is by offering programs or offers that are just for them. This can take a variety of forms depending on the industry you are in. For us, it means providing special hardwood lumber sorts, unique inventory programs or even special products. 

Offering Individualized programs demonstrates that you understand your customer's needs and are willing to go the extra mile. This level of "personal touch" can pay big dividends in developing customer loyalty for your business.

If you’re unsure about the best approach to boosting customer loyalty, talk to the people who have the most comprehensive knowledge of the target audience—your customer-facing team members (support teams, sales personnel, etc.). These employees can provide key insight into the concerns buyers often grapple with, what they most want to get from your business, and how your products and services can fit in with their long-range goals.

Engaging with your customer-facing team members may result in “new insights about what customers want and need, and how to refine your marketing message to let them know you’re there to help.”

Being in a position to help customers paves the way for the kind of personal touch that keeps them returning to your business in the months and years to come.

Brett Del Prince
Baillie Lumber
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