October 12, 2017
My husband, Larry, told me that, years ago, when he was deciding which university to attend, he had narrowed it down to two schools. Both universities had beautiful campuses and outstanding reputations. I asked, “What made you choose Purdue over the other school?”
“The doors were open at Purdue,” he replied.
Intrigued, I wanted to know more. He explained that he had visited both universities without scheduling appointments. He wanted to tour the campuses and informally meet with members of the faculty who would be his professors.
At each school, Larry visited the department where the majority of his coursework would take place. He walked down the corridor at the first school. Every faculty member had his or her office door closed. In order for him to speak with the professors, Larry had to knock and wait to be invited in to chat.
When he visited Purdue, he walked through the department and noticed that every office door was open. The professors looked up as he walked by, waved and invited him in for a chat.
Larry chose Purdue.
He said, “I know it sounds like a little thing, but it made all the difference. I just got the feeling that the professors would be more caring and friendly.”
Universities are big businesses. They all try to recruit great students with slick marketing materials and advertising campaigns. But just like other businesses, in the end, it’s the little things that matter most. Students and parents are a university’s primary customers. Many of these customers choose their schools based on how they “feel” about the people who work there.
In all businesses, it’s the little things that count toward building customer loyalty. I’m a frequent visitor to a local coffee shop. I enjoyed going there because the manager knew my name and always greeted his customers with a smile. His attitude was contagious with the employees and it just plain “felt good” to go there.
Two months ago, he was transferred to a different store. The mood has changed dramatically. The new manager frequently “hides” in the back room. She rarely smiles and I’ve never heard her ask or mention a customer’s name. One of the employees told me, “Several of our customers have called the corporate office to request the old manager. We’ve even lost some of our regulars because they say it’s no fun to come in here anymore.”
Here are 10 “little” things you can do right away to build customer loyalty:
Customer expectations are not complicated. Your customers notice and appreciate the “little things” that will either lead them to loyalty or out the door—to the competition.