Posted on May 15 2013

People Buy from People: Why Connecting with Customers is Critical

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Gone are the days when a business or brand can rely on a glossy magazine advertisement or a fancy storefront display to attract its consumers to a lifetime of loyalty. Customers expect retailers to go the extra mile and offer a “why” to the “what;” an emotional connection on top of the tangible one. Rarely does a customer buy from a brand he/she doesn’t know or feel invested in. If the customer does, it tends to be impulsive and most likely a one-time purchase. On the flip side, if a customer happens to discover a new brand and has a positive experience attached to it, he/she becomes a “lifer.”

Businesses are always competing for more customers, otherwise known as “market share.”  When the economy is in a relatively slow growth mode, the only way a company can survive is by gaining more customers or by getting a larger share of wallet from existing customers. Both are strategies deployed by almost every company.  They want more of us, and once they get us, they want us to spend more with them.

My family and I have a favorite Italian restaurant we go to regularly. I saw the owner around town recently and asked him how business was going. Humbly, he informed me that he had just finished his best year on record and 2013 was off to a strong start. I asked what his secret was. “Nothing,” he responded. “I just make sure I’m there to greet my customers as they walk through my doors.”

Ding, ding, ding!

He’s investing emotionally in his customers first and foremost. By welcoming each and every patron as if they were guests at his private dinner party, he is offering an emotional connection, leaving them to crave more because of it. It’s no wonder why his business is booming.

Whether a restaurant or a store, it comes down to a simple philosophy that people buy from people.  The experience a customer walks away with after making a purchase is what he/she remembers best and in return, will share your brand “story” with others. It’s a simple touch point so many companies seem to overlook. Like my restaurateur friend, even something as simple as a warm smile and personal greeting at the door can make all the difference.

– Loretta


**Featured image courtesy of Marketing Viewpoint

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Loretta Soffe - Principal