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How to keep your customers coming back

I recently ordered 3 large banners from for a church project I’m heading. They arrived early, looked perfect and the price was reasonable. But, if that wasn’t enough for me to want to go back to in the future, what happened next cinched it.

A couple of days after the banners arrived there was a hand-written “Thank You Very Much” card in my mail. It read: “Thank you for choosing as your source for printed products! It was a pleasure working on your order. If there’s any upcoming sign projects you need a hand with, let me know. I’d be thrilled to help” – signed Ashley.

In today’s hurry-up digital age, an automated thank you email would be the most to expected, if anything at all. But a good old-fashioned hand-written note . . . well, that clearly exceeded my expectations and there’s no doubt where my next banner order will go.

This experience first reminds us that to grow a dealership, it’s clear that we must find ways to add value to each customer as well as letting him feel his value to the dealership. Good recognition of a customer after the sale should be a centerpiece of every marketing program. And, that simple note from Ashley at also reminds me today of fascinating stories about how TD Bank of Canada believes customers are special and they should be served and thanked in special ways.

For example, TD Banks’s slogan, “America’s most convenient bank,” is backed up by operating 7 days a week and often up to 8 PM to serve customers. TD is convinced convenience offered to customers is their competitive advantage. But that’s just the start.

TD Bank also thanks its customers through ‘Customer Appreciation Days’ on which it gives every customer free coffee and baked goods at their local bank. Then, according to reports in Forbes, TD Bank cleverly raised the bar even higher when it turned its ATMs into “Automated Thanking Machines.” Loyal customers visiting their branch ATM were surprised when they received a ‘Thank You!’ token!

According to Tim Hockey, TD Canada Trust’s President and CEO: “A thank you can change someone’s day, so that’s why we have been surprising our customers across Canada, to say ‘TD Thanks You.’ We know Canadians have a lot of choice when it comes to where they bank, and we wanted to say that we appreciate that they continue to choose TD.”

Dealers don’t have ATMs, of course, but handing out even simple gifts like mugs, tote bags, shirts, caps and similar items to customers is easy and always a good idea because people love and remember free gifts. (If your name’s on it, how can they forget.) And while you’re doing this kind of thing, you can even use the opportunity to find out about specific customer needs or desires by using things like comment cards or simple surveys. The information you gain could lead to offering new products or services or improve existing ones.

Taking time to learn something personal about top customers and then acting on that knowledge can lead to a genuine customer loyalty. And that loyalty can further result in the customer becoming an advocate for the dealership with family, friends and coworkers. If planned right, it can even lead to some widespread recognition on the internet for the dealership. Here’s an example of such a special recognition by TD Bank that resulted in more than a million hits on YouTube.

One TD Bank customer happened to be a huge fan of Toronto Blue Jays and he was shown appreciation for his loyalty with a Jays jersey and cap. It didn’t end there, according to the Customer Guru website. The customer was then told a special guest was looking forward to talking to him. Out came Blue Jays star player Jose Bautista! To top it off, he was told that he would be throwing out the first pitch at a Blue Jay’s game.

The whole event, from jersey to first pitch, was videoed and posted on YouTube, along with other similar customer recognition stories that were shared, talked about and viewed by more than a million hits. Not only did TD recognize loyal customers, the bank got a lot of recognition

Treating all your customers well, and specifically going an extra mile to thank them for their business, is the least every dealership should do. With a little creativity, it can also lead to a bonus of widespread notoriety. Regardless, it’s the best way to keep existing customers coming back. 



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