The Secret (and Free) Driver Behind Wildly Successful Customer Loyalty Efforts

In the world of work, people take a job because it provides a source of income and benefits.

They excel at work, and run through brick walls for their company, because of a whole other host of factors.

Primarily: pizza parties.


Bear with me here.

From our employee benefits and perks blog:

A recent experiment by Dan Ariely at Duke University showed that incentives and recognition are just as significant motivating factors as cash in employee performance.


Three groups were promised incentives for meeting certain milestones. One was offered $30 in cash, another pizza, and a third would receive an encouraging text from their boss. A fourth group was offered nothing.


Oddly, the pizza group was the most productive, followed closely by the boss encouragement group. Taking third, by a noticeable margin, was the money group.

Personal, unique recognition drives people to go beyond. We all crave acknowledgement and approval from peers and superiors.

Money drives us to action, but recognition drives us to excel.

It stands to reason that if personal recognition motivates people at work, it also has applications to the rest of their lives as well.

Your customers want to be recognized and appreciated. They want to be acknowledged and to feel important.

How are you providing recognition, acknowledgement, and gratitude to your customers?

Here are a few ideas you’re welcome to borrow.

Three Simple Ways to Recognize Customers

Use First Names and Other Personal Details

As Dale Carnegie said, “Remember that a person’s name is to that person the sweetest and most important sound in any language.”

If possible, remember the small details from small talk. How the kids are doing, if the customer plays golf, what they buy most frequently.

It sounds simple and perhaps trite, but it shows the customer you’re making an attempt at a relationship. In some ways, it creates an obligation, something the customer feels they need to reciprocate.

Tell Them Their Progress

Do you have customers that use your product or service more than others? Or even customers who spend more than others?

Tell them about it. Provide a status update for them. Let them know they’re ahead of the curve, doing more than other customers.

In other words, tell your most loyal customers that they’re your most loyal customers.

This will build up their confidence and pride, while also letting them know that you recognize and appreciate them.

Share Exceptional Customer Stories

Once you’ve identified and recognized your exceptional customers, share their stories with othe customers. Give the less-loyal customers something to aspire to, and show them what’s possible with your product or service.

Customers who are willing to go in on a “case study” with you are more likely to stick around a long time. These stories create a mutual obligation on both sides to maintain the relationship.

That’s a good thing, so long as you hold up your end of the bargain

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The Only Limit is Your Imagination

These ideas are just barely scratching the surface. There are countless ways any brand can show its customers that it sees them and appreciates them.

The best part about recognition is it's free. 

You don't have to spend a dime if you don't want to.

You don't have to give away your products or services. You don’t need to throw pizza parties for them. Both would be helpful; neither is required.

It doesn’t even have to be cheesy things like handwritten notes - though those are incredibly effective.

The “how” behind your recognition isn’t as important as the effort itself.

A good product at a fair price will bring people in the door, and maybe bring them back for more purchases.

Recognition will make them enthusiasts and experts. They’ll be more likely to return, as well as tell their friends about your business.

Heck, they’ll consider your business to be a friend.

Acknowledge the customer. Give them new goals to reach and things to achieve. Gamification is one avenue, but it doesn’t have to be the only one.

Loyalty Statistics The Ultimate Collection

Topics: Customer Engagement

Written by: Brandon Carter

Brandon is a former writer and marketer for Access Development. He's a frequent blogger on customer and employee engagement & loyalty, consumer trends, and branding. Connect with him on LinkedIn or Twitter at @bscarter

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