How a Simple Acknowledgment Can Create Customer Loyalty

Okay, I’m going to admit it. I just had another birthday. But, I’m not big on celebrating my birthday: I don’t like big parties, lots of presents, or people fussing over me. But, I do like it when people simply remember to wish me a happy birthday. And, apparently, I’m a bit let down when they don’t.

Real world scenario:

(Some names have been changed to protect the guilty!)

On the morning of my recent birthday, I needed to call company “G,” for whom I do consulting work, to discuss some financial matters. I’ve been consulting with “GHappy Birthday‘s” management and personnel for more than three years now. I guess I was expecting someone at this company to acknowledge my “special” day. The first person, who answered the phone, was pleasant but didn’t wish me a happy birthday. I then spoke with the owner of the company for about 15 minutes, during which time he, too, didn’t wish me a happy birthday. About an hour later, “G’s” project manager called me. Yay! I assumed that the people with whom I had consulted with for more than 3 years had finally figured it out. But, as it turns out, she hadn’t. And she, too, didn’t wish me a happy birthday. I felt s-a-d! Not one of the 12 people that worked at “G” had remembered my birthday. It was especially sad because only 12 people work there!

Later in the afternoon, I showed up for an appointment that I’d made with someone for whom I’ve been a client the past six years. I was at this appointment for about one hour, and she didn’t wish me a happy birthday. I am HER client, and she didn’t remember my day! Hmmmmmm, the lack of interest makes me wonder about my customer loyalty.

Driver's License That evening, I took a flight out to San Francisco. At the airport, a TSA agent looked at my I.D., but did not wish me a happy birthday. Well, at least I got a full-body scan : ) At the hotel, the woman who checked me in, after looking at my I.D., also did not wish me a happy birthday.

Tired from a long day of business calls, meetings and traveling, I headed off to a Safeway supermarket. At the check-out lane, the cashier asked for my birth date. When she realized that it was my birthday, she wished me a HAPPY BIRTHDAY! Wow, one person — out of seven with whom I had direct contact throughout the day– had the opportunity to give me a simple acknowledgment, and did. I was floored emotionally. This simple acknowledgment elicited such strong emotions in a me, that I can’t imagine what would have happened had the cashier used my name when wishing me a happy birthday. Oh my, I may have given her a hug!

Strategies that Turn It Around:

  1. If in your business you require employees to look at customers’ I.D.s, then train your staff to acknowledge birthdays. Wish your customers a happy birthday – whether it’s today, tomorrow or sometime during the month.
  2. Know your customers’ birthdays, especially for your most loyal clients. And on their special day, simply wish them a happy birthday — whether by email, telephone call or in person.
  3. Develop a process or procedure to also know the birthdays of your current vendors, consultants, and business partners. And wish them a happy birthday.
  4. And if you know Barbara Khozam, please wish her a happy birthday. She’s not looking for a gallant effort, just a simple acknowledgment that inspires her to continue coming back to you – and not to your competition!

I’d love to hear YOUR thoughts.  Share your best ideas, tips and feedback on customer service in the comments below.

3 Responses to “How a Simple Acknowledgment Can Create Customer Loyalty”

  1. 1 create a blog March 9, 2013 at 12:13 pm

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    • 2 bnkhozam March 11, 2013 at 4:51 pm

      Thanks for your comment and your positive energy – yes, I can tell from your writing!
      I look forward to reading another comment from you soon!

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