When consumers think about extraordinary customer service, often it comes down to the little things. A corner shop that always stocks the brand of candy they like or a company that once sent a free product to acknowledge them as valued customers, for example. These small efforts cost businesses very little money but make a big difference in winning long-term customer loyalty. For a small up-front expense, your business could earn thousands of dollars in sales over the coming years.

So how does a business use this approach to win customer loyalty? Here are a few suggestions for putting random acts of kindness to use in your business.

Showing Support for Charity

When a Zulily employee instructed a customer to donate an unwanted coat to charity rather than return it, the action made national news for a reason. The action was rare, especially for such a large retailer. Even if the request never captured the attention of news media, it would have won the loyalty of the customer, who likely would have told her friends and family. While most businesses couldn’t afford to direct every return toward charity, an occasional good deed can make a lasting impression.

Acting on an Observed Need

Often the best thing a business can do is to pay attention. Through conversations with customers, you may hear something small that you can act on. Desk.com calls its customer support agents its “WOW team,” which serves as a reminder that they should always look for opportunities to wow customers with “random acts of customer service.” Whether interactions are in person, by phone, or online, service agents should be trained to find ways to do little extras. Desk.com’s employees watch for opportunities to provide extra services to its customers, which in turn helps the company build long-term partnerships.

Being Kind to Staff

Good customer service usually comes from the employees who interact with those customers most. Whether you’re just starting out with a small team of one or two or you’ve grown to a multi-person service desk, it’s important to create a positive company culture. When morale is high, it shows in customer interactions. You’ll also be able to retain your top workers and attract new ones. One example of an employer going above and beyond was Jimmy Fallon’s decision to buy his entire staff flowers on Valentine’s Day when he noticed no one had received anything.

Sending Birthday Cards

It’s a little thing that can make a big difference. If your business collects birthdays on customers, use that information to send a note to each of them each year. Some businesses combine that with a special discount or free item. Simply sending a reminder for the sake of acknowledging the special day can mean more to a customer, though, since it feels as though they’re being treated as part of the family.

Holiday Greetings

The holiday season gives businesses an opportunity to show appreciation to all of their customers at once. For B2B businesses, this may be a less expensive proposition, especially if they’re early stage and have a small client base. Find an interesting gift that either represents your business or the local community and send it to each client. For customers, chose those who have become regulars and send a small token of appreciation with their December purchases.

Customer loyalty can support a business, providing the reliable cash flow necessary to grow. By finding ways to do personalize interactions and do occasional small favors, your business will be able to gain an edge over the competition. Customers will appreciate the random acts of kindness and recommend your business through their own networks.

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I'm Chalmers and I'm the Co-Founder and CTO of Due.com.

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