It’s Winter 2012 and a Bend man drives up to the local Dutch Brothers coffee kiosk. The barista recognizes and greets him. He comes every day.
The barista asks the customer if he knows about the monthly gift-card deal and free coffee that comes with it. The man says he didn’t bring enough money for the deal, But he’d like to buy it tomorrow.
The barista makes him an offer: since the deal is ending today, he can come back tomorrow and purchase the deal. Plus, he gets today’s coffee for free as part of the gift-card deal.
The man, happily accepts the free coffee and promises to return the next day to purchase the gift card.
Fan acquired. Personalization delivered.
What makes this different than spam? If the barista didn’t know this man was a regular, and was pushing this deal on every customer that came to the kiosk – nothing. But, since the barista knew the customer was a regular, and that he would personally benefit from the deal, it was a beneficial introduction between the customer and the deal.
In the past, there were a few restaurants that would reward employees for remembering customer names. 50 names yields a bronze plaque on the wall. 100 silver. 200 gold.
The intangible that these restaurants are leveraging is personalization. Customers feel recognized and members of a community that value patronage. This intangible doesn’t translate outside the community, remotely, or when traveling.
Personalization is not a commodity. It’s genuine and valuable. Encourage, reward, and leverage it for your local business.