So, I received a bill in the mail the other day. As you do.
No biggie, not like the rego or the quarterly power (yikes!!) but still, it was a bill and it had to be paid.
As soon as my daughter plucked the envelope from the mail box, it stood out from the other windowed offerings. She ran up to me, excited that there was something other than just a letter in it.
Once I got over the wry relief that I didn't need to default to the almost reflex fright that is evoked as a newspaper editor when something of unusual dimension presents in the post, I was a little gleeful myself!
What a nice touch from this local small business! It was a pen. Just a pen, sure. But gee whiz, it knocked the edge off having to open yet another bill. And as a writer I have learned to embrace my pen nerdiness!
That wasn't all that was inside though: there was a slip with a polite call to action to rate them on Word of Mouth. Cool. Consider it done and I could only speak glowingly of the service I had received, anyway, so it was an easy obligation to fulfil.
Two things struck me about this small but meaningful gesture.
In an age of digital, how nice was it to receive something in that mail that actually made me smile (online shopping spoils, notwithstanding!)?
A pen. Only a pen. Although, I have to say it is almost as good as those groovy Facebook pens they hand out at roadshows and training courses! And that is a big call as anyone with one would attest!
But it is what that meagre little writing instrument represented. While tucking those standard A4 bills into their envelopes, there had been enough of a care given to pack a pen and a request slip into a cute little paper bag and then add it to the postage.
Small but meaningful. Cheap and cheerful, but useful and, well, just plain nice, actually!
The second thing was that this was also an effective call to activate clients and those who love you already, to tell the world just how much they care!
Clever? Probably not all THAT clever, really, and it is a concept that has been around for yonks.
But certainly, it gained my attention, and worked a charm for them!
Word of Mouth is a simple and easy-to-navigate platform which, as the name suggests, enables clients to log in, leave their feedback good or bad and earn reward points. As a small business owner, this I found very interesting.
So, what did I do? Signed up, logged on and started watching my points. Look, you're not going to get rich out of it just like most of these kinds of rewards programs, but what a cool concept with multiple benefits for businesses, customers and everyone in between.
There is a base level free sub you can tap into and then, as with most of these platforms, there are varied levels of subscription and access based on your budget and commitment.
But as a starter, and to see how it goes, I'm willing to give it a spin.
Of course, this isn't the only feedback concept out there, but, getting back to the pen, it is a concept that can make just a lovely bit of difference for your customers.
Ask yourself, what's your "pen" and at this time of year, with Christmas on its way, it's as good a time as any to start thinking about what you can give back.
Value add, go that extra mile, make those extra calls. But isn't it funny that something that's tangible and delightfully small can have such an impact.
Small things really can mean a whole lot!
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