Using High Touch Marketing to Turn Customers into Guests
By Nina Curtis Founder & President, The Nile Institute | May 01, 2011
For years, Starbucks Coffee has used high-touch methods to build and maintain a loyal customer base. In his book, "Pour Your Heart in it," Howard Schultz, in eloquently succinct fashion said, "If we greet customers, exchange a few words with them and then custom-make a drink exactly to their taste, they will be eager to come back." This is a true description of a high-touch way to connect and turn clients into guest to build enduring loyalty. Pretty simple - right?
This approach is not new to the spa industry per se, but with the increased use of 'hi-tech', it appears that some of the 'hi-touch' has gotten lost in the mix. Today's advanced technology is just that, technology, designed in many ways to make our relationship building efforts more effective and efficient, not to replace connecting on a personal level with a guest. Don't get me wrong, I love technology and all that it has been designed to do, such as, make our lives easier, improve our efforts and profits, create more time to do the things we love, you get the picture, but it does not and will not replace one of our basic human need of, "staying connected through touch."
Hi-touch marketing requires companies to trust their employees to be human and to execute by connecting on a personal level. Too often, many companies and yes, even some in the hospitality industry, are afraid to place this much trust and responsibility in the hands of their frontline team, (I have experienced this first hand). So instead of tapping into the human element to build enduring relationships that create guest, companies seemingly compromise by turning to high-tech ways to create loyalty programs based upon rewards that focus more on price, instead of the true value of human relationships.
Today's social media frenzy provides us with several avenues to reach out and touch someone. Well, in the sense of promoting our businesses, creating fan bases and engaging in dialogue with potential guest, but don't be fooled, that's not enough to truly build a business foundation of loyalty and sustainability.
What is a business to do? How can we begin to design high touch marketing programs that truly build a more satisfied and a more loyal guest?
My interview with three spa industry visionaries provides insights into their secrets of success and offers much food for thought...
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