Small Gestures: The Secret to Lasting Customer Relationships

Years ago, Bill received a Christmas card from an executive at a company where he was a customer. Inside the card was a hand-written note, thanking him for his business. Because the company was a large, public company, and Bill knew his company was very small compared to its other customers, this personal token of appreciation made a real impression on him.

A few months later, Bill attended an event where he happened to run into that executive. After thanking her for the card, she politely told him that she hadn’t sent him a card. Bill’s co-worker, who overheard this conversation, then admitted to the two of them it had actually been he who had written and signed the card as a joke. He thought it was a funny notion that someone at a large company like that would care enough to personally sign a card for a customer, and he thought it was a funny prank to pull on Bill. They all shared a laugh.

The Value of Personal Touch to Your Customers

The executive recognized she’d been given a golden opportunity and acted on it. She personally signed and sent a Christmas card to Bill every year for the next 14 years. (Bill knew those cards really did come from the executive, because the prankster was no longer with the company by then.)

That little bit of extra attention, once a year, made such an impression on Bill that he said he re-tells this story at least 20 times a year.

Not only did this small gesture create a loyal customer for the company – Bill has now been a customer for 25+ years and recently upgraded to a new product of theirs – but it created for them one of the most powerful forms of advertising: a happy customer who willingly (and frequently) shares his positive experience with others.


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