Small Business Tip Tuesday: That Simple, Personal Touch Makes a Difference

by Ken Mueller on March 13, 2012 · 13 comments

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Yesterday was my birthday, and when I woke up at 6 a.m. I discovered that I already had about 60 birthday greetings waiting for me on Facebook.

By 11 a.m. that number had swelled to about 400 such greetings, and I pretty much spent my entire morning responding to those greetings, as well as the many well-wishes I was getting on Twitter. And of course Google+, and email, and just about every other platform out there…

Now understand, I just turned 50, so I really should be all depressed and wallowing in self-pity, and out shopping for a red convertible and some gold chains to get my mid-life crisis under way. But all these greetings truly put a smile on my face. Four-hundred birthday greetings in the morning alone (knowing more would come throughout the day) is a wonderful thing. That’s about 20% of my Facebook friends, and many of them are people I’ve never met in person; some I’ll never get the chance to meet, but there they were, taking a few seconds of their time to wish me a “Happy Birthday”.

Some of them were just those two words, while others had longer sentiments, and still others attached videos or pictures to their greeting. But no matter what they said, or how they said it, (I got quite a few “old man” jokes), it felt good to be remembered. None of them had to wish me a happy birthday, and sure it didn’t take a lot of effort, but they still did it. And I’m grateful.

This is a great way to use social platforms like Facebook and Twitter. Even if you can’t wish someone a happy birthday from your business account, doing so from your personal account makes a difference. Our customers don’t always separate us from our businesses. How we behave in one realm affects how they view us in the other.

A simple “Happy Birthday” or “Happy Anniversary” or “Congrats” on some achievement can go a long way. Thinking of someone during one their “life events” makes them feel good. In the same way, condolences at the time of a death in the family can also be meaningful.

One of the first things I do each morning is look at my list of friends with birthdays on Facebook and click through, wishing each of them a “Happy Birthday!”. Takes me about a minute, and I’d be that most of them appreciate it. It’s a social thing, after all, and this IS social media.

And of course you can up the ante a bit by sending a real card in the mail to some, or perhaps a special discount for their birthday via email. I got a few of those today, as well. And even though they were sent by a computer program, they had my first name, and offered me well wishes on my big day.

Sometimes that simple little greeting will make a difference. I know that as I read, and respond to, each of the birthday wishes I receive, it makes me feel good about the person on the other end. Our businesses can benefit from that as well.

What little things can you do to make your customers feel special? Are you willing to spend a minute or two a day just to put smiles on their faces?

 

 Small Business Tip Tuesday: That Simple, Personal Touch Makes a Difference
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13 comments
Inkling_Media
Inkling_Media

@DawnMentzer @MalharBarai @Ross_Quintana thanks for the RTs!

Shonali
Shonali

I'm so glad we all put a smile on your face. I think that effort makes a huge difference, and I try to do the same; wish people on Facebook (very easy), on Twitter, if I know them there, and sometimes I'll send an eCard as well. It makes me feel good when people do it for me, and I want to do the same.

RachelStrella
RachelStrella

I send out physical birthday cards to clients, prospects, colleagues and friends using the birthdays tool on Facebook. Getting something in the mail is nice as so few people do it anymore.

vmaione
vmaione

Happy Birthday, Ken. (Uh oh, I feel guilty though that I didn't post something yesterday!) I like to send hand-written cards to my clients on Valerntine's Day and Thanskgiving to show appreciation.  The little things are so important!

 

Howie Goldfarb
Howie Goldfarb

I went to see Peter Shankman speak here in Albany. He is one of the few genuine 'rockstar personal brands' and the fact he grew two businesses and sold them shows he knows business. One thing he said was he goes to Facebook everyday and says happy birthday to all his friends who have them. He felt it was very important.

 

One thing I love and hate about Facebook is the birthday reminder. Because when I first joined all these 'old friends' came out of the woodwork. We connected said hello. Briefly caught up....never to connect again...except when it is someones birthday and they just say 'Happy Birthday'. And btw it is more the platform since you obviously have way way way more connections than me and yet when I was active I always had 300+ unread items in my feed and no way I would read more than 25 during a log in session.

 

Happy 50th Ken glad you had a great day you are a kind and generous good dude....and we both know @ginidietrich could learn a lot from you on that front.

C_Pappas
C_Pappas

I worked in the hospitality industry for many years while I was in high school and college so there was tons of opportunities to do extra special things. If we knew a guest was sick, we would send them some soup - on the house. Hot outside? Why not put lemonade in the lobby instead of coffee in the afternoon? I even went out one time and bought a guy cigarettes. It's one of those things that doesnt take much but it's remembered for a long time. plus, you feel good and they feel special.

 

Happy birthday, by the way!

KenMueller
KenMueller moderator

 @vmaione Haha, it's ok. No need to feel guilty, and yes, even in this social media age, I think the personal hand-written notes are a nice added touch. And with so much happening online, people might really appreciate the extra mile of doing something offline. 

KenMueller
KenMueller moderator

 @HowieSPM  @ginidietrich Thanks, Howie. And I think you just need to learn how to manage your notifications and unread items!

 

I've been trying to teach Gini a thing or two, but you know what they say about old dogs...

KenMueller
KenMueller moderator

 @C_Pappas Thanks, Christina! And yes, we sometimes spend too much time on the forest, and not enough on the individual trees. We overlook the small details that can make a big impression on people. For instance, for my birthday, I got an email from the dealer where I bought my care a few years ago. It had a certificate for a free car wash. That's it. No sales pitch, nothing. And you better believe I'll be using it!

KenMueller
KenMueller moderator

 @C_Pappas My realtor is really good with this. She sold my house for me about 3 or 4 years ago, and she still sends a nice card, or even stops by to drop off a little gift, each Christmas. And she gets a lot of referrals from me as a result of things like this. 

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