THE UNEXPECTED JOYS OF A VALENTINE STRATEGY TO CUSTOMER SERVICE
What exactly is a Valentine strategy for customer service?
Think about it this way. What if you could constantly communicate to your customers that you’re not only appreciative of them, but that you have the ability to pleasantly surprise them? What if you could constantly one-up yourself by giving your customers something unexpected and unique?
That’s what the Valentine strategy is all about, and it’s not just reserved for Valentine’s Day either (although I won’t turn down a nice unexpected surprise on any day). It’s about making a connection with your customers that lets them know you care, and that you’re thinking about them enough to do something fun and off-the-cuff.
I was so excited to dive in on this topic with customer service gurus Chip Bell and Jamey Lutz in our webinar on the Valentine strategy. How much more connected would you be to your customers if the Valentine strategy was how you approached your customers every day, and not just one day in February?
Here are my three biggest takeaways.
THE VALENTINE STRATEGY IS ABOUT HUMAN-TO-HUMAN SUPPORT
It’s inescapable – we live in the era of automation. Technology has taken us to some pretty beautiful places, especially in the corporate world. Whether or not our lives are any easier, technology has definitely made them more simple. Even still, that can work against customer service when we’re not able to physically connect with customers to give them those Valentine touches that matter so much.
I loved Chip Bell’s story about this. He talked about a recent trip to the dry cleaner, and specifically about what the person behind the counter told him as he was leaving. They said, “Thank you for my paycheck.” What a unique way to thank a customer. Instead of just saying, “Thank you for your business,” they took Chip from just being another faceless patron to literally supporting this person’s ability to put food on the table. I love that. Chip left feeling great because he was able to have that connection, and the result is that dry cleaner will continue to earn his business.
CHERISH THE CRANKY
I absolutely loved this line from Jamey Lutz, one of our expert FPG Human Performance Strategists.
“If we are looking at our customers as personal attacks when they’re frustrated with us, chances are we’re not going to have an open heart, we’re not going to be open to serving them regardless of that.”
Chip Bell mentioned this idea of “cherishing the cranky,” which is the idea that a Valentine strategy can even apply to challenging service situations. Even when something’s gone wrong, or a customer’s perceived something is wrong, that’s a great chance to let your love and appreciation for that person’s business shine through. A lot of times a true Valentine approach to service recovery is offering to fix a problem that wasn’t necessarily our problem to fix. What a great way to engender goodwill with either current or potential customers.
When you can truly cherish that cranky attitude as a chance to go above and beyond for your customers, you’re living out the Valentine strategy.
MAKE IT A LOVE WEEK EXPERIENCE
I was lucky enough to experience something called Love Week at our FPG office the week before Valentine’s Day. If you’re unfamiliar, Love Week was an idea that began with a marketing company called Mindvalley. Employees secretly draw a coworker and serve as that person’s “secret angel” for a week. Each day, our team brought (secretly, of course) gifts for their person ranging from a desk full of croissants to letters of appreciation.
I was blown away when someone on my team handmade labels for a few items based on our favorite TV show. This is the kind of Valentine strategy that’ll make customers coming back forever. I was so blown away by this show of generosity, not only because it took him a lot of time, but because it was so customized to what I like and appreciate. The best customer experiences are customized to their wants and likes. When you do that, you’ll not only be a step ahead of your competitors, you’ll be creating Valentine moments all throughout the year.