This is actually more than just a novel idea. There are several research projects that back it up. A study by Garrity and Degelman, published in the Journal of Applied Social Psychology, indicated that restaurant servers who introduced themselves by name and then personalized the experience for their patrons received an average tip of 23% compared to 15% for those that made no effort at all. That’s a difference of 53%.
You may not own a restaurant, but the concept of personalizing the customer’s experience still applies and can make your business more profitable. Here are a few suggestions on how you can better personalize things for your customers:
1. Understand what motivates them
What motivates people to come into your shop, visit your website, or call you up? Is it a need? A want? What are their expectations? Something motivates customers to get up off the couch or take time out of their day to patronize your business. What is it?
If you can find the answer to that question, you can begin to make meaningful connections with your customers. The basic motivational framework assumes that people evaluate how motivated they are to do something based of a few basic questions:
Can I do this? Does the customer have confidence or ability to pull the trigger and buy something?
Should I do this? Does pulling the trigger align with the customer’s values and goals?
Will doing this be worth it? After pulling the trigger, will the customer feel that what he or she has given up is worth what he or she received?
2. Know your value proposition
We all have a value proposition. Take a look at your own business. What do you sell? Where do you sell it? How much does it cost? Who do you sell it to? These are questions that can help you define your value proposition – the thing that makes people keep buying stuff from you. Some of you might have a convenient location or the lowest prices. Some of you might provide a world class retail experience. Know your value proposition and use that in your messaging to bring in a target audience that value your value proposition over your competitors’ value propositions.
3. Seek commonality and community
Making small talk can sometimes seem meaningless and insincere, but, as human beings, we naturally feel the need to connect with other human beings based on commonality. A common interest, school, neighborhood, philosophy, etc… we tend to gravitate to people that have things in common with us and when we all get together in groups we become a community. What do you have in common with your customers? How well are you forming a community around your brand? Make the small talk genuine and you can start to make it personal with your customers.
From the 100,000 foot level, we may all just seem like a bunch of busy ants flying around on a map, but we are all people. People still like things that feel close and personal, barring sociopaths and people with certain personality disorders. Make it personal to start making it profitable.