Random acts of kindness score big wins for savvy small businesses

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Customer loyalty is a fleeting thing. But brands that not only do right by consumers but the community at large, are capturing the hearts, minds and wallets of customers. Businesses are discovering random acts of kindness can deliver big dividends.

Whether it’s your local shop stocking your favourite brand of tea because they know you love it. Or a retailer providing a really good gift with purchase. Or those little bags of lollies that come tucked in with your latest order; these tiny random kindnesses generate goodwill and could translate to $1000s in return sales for small businesses.

Personalising your interactions with your customers also allows them to feel special, which translates to goodwill. Whether that’s a thank you card at Christmas, knowing your regular client’s favourite coffee order, or going that extra mile when it comes to customer service. While we’ve all heard outstanding customer stories that have gone viral, like the retail store that refunds a customer but then tells her to donate the clothing to charity; these kinds of actions aren’t usually scalable. While they might get good press, they won’t translate across your business to all your customers and your employees.

So how can your small business make a big difference? One of the best ways a business can add goodwill is to listen to the needs of their customers and employees. Whether your employees are interacting online, on the phone or in person, they are the frontline of your small business. You want to make sure not only do they have great morale but that they are happy to also put in that extra bit of effort for your clients. When your employees have good morale that translates to good customer service and a better work environment. It usually means you will also have better employee retention.

Employees appreciate an employer that goes toe-to-toe with them when it counts. If you are focused on creating a good work environment for your employees, striving to find opportunities for them to grow, then they too will look for opportunities to provide extra services to your customers.

And research shows little acts of kindness can make a big impression.

TrendWatching.com, says ‘random acts of kindness’ represent a major consumer trend

“For consumers long used to – and annoyed by – distant, inflexible, self-serving corporations, any acts of kindness by brands will be gratefully received,” says Henry Mason, head of research and analytics.

“For brands, increasingly open communications, both with and between consumers (especially online), means it’s never been easier to surprise and delight audiences; whether sending gifts, responding to publicly-expressed moods or just showing that they care.”

Sometimes it helps to think outside the box. Eastwood SNAP franchisee, Jason O’Connor, says a passion for sustainability was behind his latest marketing initiative targeting top clients and staff.

“I wanted to find a way to support the environment through our business,” he says. “So the ‘Our One Bottle One Year Give Away’ was created.”

Memobottle’s were the perfect match for the customer initiative

The One Bottle One Year campaign challenges people to use one reusable bottle all year to help curb the millions of tonnes of waste generated by single use water bottles.

After coming across the campaign O’Connor discovered Memobottle’s a6 and a5 flat bottles and thought they would make the perfect match for a customer initiative. He purchased the bottles and gave them out to staff. He then moved on to target clients with his feel-good campaign.

“Because the bottle was quite expensive I asked the sales’ staff to select our top 40 clients only, some from the same company. We then targeted them (for the giveaway) via an EDM.”

“The cost was small, but the benefits to the environment were great. All they had to do was fill in our entry form and we delivered their bottle. They received an email letting them know it was being delivered.

The clever invitation for the one bottle, one year campaign

“The bottle arrived wrapped in branded paper with a thank you card addressed to them stating the ‘birthdate’ of their bottle.”

O’Connor says the campaign was a success and challenged traditional marketing methods as it wasn’t about SNAP products but marketing for a good cause.

And everyone knows ‘good is the new cool’. A recent study by Young & Rubicon discovered consumers are turning away from traditionally high-ranking brand attributes such as ‘exclusive’ and ‘daring’ to list a kinder range of elements that were important to them, instead. Now listed as the most important are attributes such as: ‘kindness and empathy’ (up 391%), ‘friendly’ (148%), and ‘socially responsible’ (63%),

O’Connor says they will be contacting clients in a year to see if they lasted the campaign and to offer them a new gift.

“Because they are noticeably different to standard drinking bottles, they invite people to ask our clients ‘where are they from?’.

Next on his agenda? Coffee cups…

Thinking about sending your customers a branded personalised gift? To find out how, contact your local Snap Centre now.

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Cec is a media professional with over fifteen years experience as an editor on titles as diverse as SX, Better Pictures, Total Rock, fasterlouder, mynikonlife and Fantastic Living. She has spent the past four years working as a news journalist covering all the issues that matter in the political, health and LGBTIQ arena. She is the Senior Writer at Pinstripe Media and a recent convert to the world of small business.

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