I walked into The Fatty Bao in Bangalore the other day with a friend,the waiter there instantly recognised me. I had been there only twice, but he made sure to come forward and seat me, and even remembered the drink I had ordered last time(Mandalay Bay, ladies and gentlemen. Orange infused jasmine tea with a Vodka base. Delightful stuff) None of this surprised me. In fact, I have come to expect this at the Fatty Bao, and it was one of the reasons why I chose it for a lunch date with my friend. Who doesn’t like to show off their ‘regular customer’ status once in a while, right?

Now, the good folks at Fatty Bao aren’t invading my privacy or gathering copious amounts of intel on me. What are they doing, however, is observing and remembering visitors and creating a unique experience. One that makes the customer feel recognised and appreciated as a patron.

These days, a customer pretty much knows everything there is to know about your business before they even walk in to your door. At a restaurant, they most likely already know the menu, the best rated dishes, and the kind of services they expect. Customers have long begun to expect the same from businesses.

In an online business, where products or services are delivered through web or mobile applications, the challenge is providing a personalized service to hundreds of thousands customers. The way you communicate with your customers is a big part of the service that will ensure they keep coming back to you.

Just think, what if your favourite cab company stops sending you generic emails about their daily offers, and instead let you track how many rides you have taken with them, the amount of money you’ve spent, and best of all: threw in a free ride every time you hit a milestone of say, 25 rides. Wouldn’t that be exciting?

The point is, customers love it when businesses learn from their previous encounters and interactions, offer them a better service the next time. What businesses often forget is: you don’t need hordes of personal data to do this. The key is in using the little information you have to do something your customer will love.

If your intention is to encourage customer loyalty or customer retention, then this will reflect in your positive emails that help the end customer or reward them. Conversely, if your intention is customer retention at any cost – it will result in creepy, intrusive emails. There is a very thin line between positive customer retention and being creepy.

It is essential to make use of a customer communication platform to do just that. You can reach out to customers proactively and be extremely responsive when they reach out to you, no matter what communication channel they are on. Remember, nudge, don’t shove.

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