"The Master value is trust. There are no relationships that can survive for very long without it."

- Jim Amos

Engage Customers By Allowing Your Franchise System’s Humanity to Show

June 29th, 2012
Connecting with customers on an emotional level builds loyalty
What kind of relationship do you have with your customers? Franchises are great at delivering excellent products and a consistent experience, but customers have a multitude of choices. So how do you earn their loyalty?  Businesses need to connect with their customers on an emotional level by treating them as individuals, giving them attention, showing that you care, and dropping the corporate mask in order to show your own personality.

Tasti D-Lite has gotten a lot of attention thanks to the ways that our company uses social media to engage with customers, but social media is just a tool. You don’t need to use Facebook or Twitter or Foursquare to create an emotional bond with a customer.

Consider one recent example:

When Chris Hurn’s family vacationed at a Ritz-Carlton in Florida recently. When the family returned, they realized they had left behind “Joshie,” a stuffed animal that was a favorite bedtime companion for Hurn’s son. Hurn wrote at The Huffington Post that to relieve his son, he told him that Joshie was fine. “He’s just taking an extra long vacation at the resort.”

Hurn called the Ritz-Carlton to see if they had found the giraffe — they had, with the laundry — and he mentioned story that he had told his son.

The Ritz not only returned Joshie, they send along a binder with photos documenting Joshie’s adventures at the hotel: lounging by the pool, driving a golf cart, getting a massage, hanging out with stuffed animal friends.

Needless to say, the Hurns were completely charmed, and it’s an excellent illustration of how a little humor an extra care can have an impact.

Customers are delighted when companies pay attention and deliver personal service. That’s why Tasti D-Lite puts so much effort into social media — it allows us to interact with our customers, and surprise and delight them.

We follow the conversation about our brand throughout the day, so when a Twitter user mentions Tasti D-Lite in a tweet, we can start following that person’s tweets and offer them special deals.

For instance, when a customer using the Twitter name “paperelle” tweeted that she was heading out get some Tasti D-Lite or Mr. Softee, we quickly subscribed to her Twitter feed. She was pleasantly surprised by the attention, tweeting, “OMG, @tastidlite is now following me on twitter!” We then asked her where she was headed, and offered her a coupon.

By engaging with paperelle, we created excitement, built loyalty and were rewarded with great word-of-mouth in the form of all the other people reading her Twitter feed.

By listening to your customers, you prove just how much you value them.

For more tips on how you can make your business more human, grab a copy of The Tasti D-Lite Way when it is published later this year. Tasti D-Lite Vice President of Technology BJ Emerson and I share what we’ve learned about using online tools to communicate with and reward customers.

Tasti D-Lite chairman and CEO Jim Amos has more than 30 years of experience guiding successful franchise companies such as Mail Boxes Etc. He was inducted into the International Franchise Association’s Hall of Fame in February.


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