By the Lionesses of Africa Operations Dept
What is it that really creates a loyal customer base? This is the constant question that has hung over entrepreneurs for centuries, even Charles Dickens realized that if he was to successfully write in magazines (how his books first appeared, chapter by chapter), he’d better have a shock or WOW! moment at the end of each chapter to encourage the sales of the next magazine.
Ever wondered why even today every TV series program ends on such a cliffhanger, with an extra huge shocker at the end of the series – which also encourages the TV companies to invest in another series as the public becomes desperate to learn what happened to Brenda Nana Mensah or Sheila Ade-Williams (yeah, you know who we are talking about, Nigeria!), or can you imagine if they cancelled the next series of Selina (sorry to spoil your Breakfast in East Africa with that thought!!!). All this was learnt from old Uncle Charles.
How do you translate this into sales for your business? You can hardly generate the same kind of suspense – the wait for the conclusion – by chopping your product in half and sending one part along leaving your customers wondering ‘will they, won’t they,’ sending the second part next week! Although that would certainly generate a certain WOW! factor…but perhaps not the one you hoped for!
In fact as the old saying goes – it’s the little things that count.
Our photo this week is of the incredible Moroccan lamps from an inspirational Moroccan Lioness, Dounia Tamri-Loeper, and her beautiful company, Dounia Home. Her lamps hang in some amazing homes across America. But what makes these so special is not just the design work, the skill, the effort (it’s not easy to punch so many holes so perfectly through the metal), which alone gives an incredible WOW! factor. The ‘Cherry on the top’, what truly personalizes this purchase and turns it more into a gift from the heart, is that when they arrive in people’s homes in America they are wrapped in handmade bags made by the wife of the Artisan manufacturer of these incredible lamps in Morocco. This ‘personalization’, this turning of a purchase into a feeling of a ‘gift’ is a WOW! factor that money simply cannot buy. The handmade bag, now used for the weekly grocery shop or visit to the local book store followed by coffee with pals, becomes a talking point amongst friends.
Melanie touched on this in two of her morning blogs this week.
“I have become much more conscious this past year of how powerful it is for businesses to make authentic personal connections with their customers…Last week, I received a delivery from one of my favourite local, woman-owned grocery stores, and whilst I was unpacking the bag, two things caught my attention. Firstly, there was an extra little brown paper packet with a handwritten message saying, “a little extra gift from us, have a great day.” Secondly, there was a beautiful printed thank you card, with a handwritten message from the founder saying, “Thank you for supporting a small business like ours, it means everything to us!” My reaction firstly on a human level was to feel really touched by the gesture, it made me feel a real emotional and personal connection with the business and the founder. Secondly, that message made me realize that my choosing to buy from a small independent business really meant something to the founder and her team, and importantly, it mattered to the success of the business. Taking the time to connect with customers on a personal basis makes a real difference – and as in my case, it can turn a customer into a lifelong brand fan. Making it personal really does work when you are an entrepreneur!”
“I know the owner, Jessie, and her staff by name, and they know mine, and my customer experience always feels very personal…Jessie and her team send me regular, friendly Whatsapp messages each week, telling me what great new produce is in stock and sending me photographs of the best fruit and flowers to buy that day. They know my shopping habits, what I like to buy, and they personalize my customer experience for me. They are harnessing the power of great communication to connect me regularly to their business and their brand, and to keep them top of my mind.”
Melanie finished by asking the essential question: “Are you harnessing the power of communication to make your own customers feel like they are special each week, and to keep them coming back time and again?”
We have highlighted a few important phrases and words, because these are the crux of the issue. Just read through them again –
‘authentic personal connections’
‘a real emotional and personal connection’
‘really meant something’
‘turn a customer into a lifelong brand fan’
‘always feels very personal’
‘personalize my customer experience’
‘to keep them top of my mind’
Take a moment to appreciate the strength in those phrases for your business. There is so much trust.
So how does this work in practice? The handwritten notes that Melanie received were perfect. Someone has taken the time to write: Thank you for supporting a small business like ours, it means everything to us!”
Lionesses understand this connection and there have been a number of examples we have seen on social media of customers celebrating these connections.