Honor what customers care about

This is a guest post from Jeanne Bliss — customer experience expert and author of “I Love You More Than My Dog.” See the original post this is adapted from and more like it on her blog.

CustomInk is a $70 million T-shirt shop that prints custom T-shirts for family reunions and group and business events. Because actual people at CustomInk personally review every single order, they know what events their products are being printed for. The company saw so many shirts being created for charities that they decided to become personally invested in these causes. So whenever a T-shirt gets printed by CustomInk for a charity event, they send a donation. Done initially as a casual gesture by Lori Mayfield, a CustomInk order analyst, now, Mayfield says, “we try to donate to every charity event that our customers hold close to their hearts.”

Giving Back to the Customer’s Cause

CustomInk wouldn’t feel right printing T-shirts for a charitable organization without giving back to their cause. With this one gesture they let their customers know they back their efforts. What’s most important about this gesture is that CustomInk did not take this action as a marketing effort. It began as a personal expression by an order analyst who wanted to give back to companies who trusted CustomInk.

In the end, like many other noble decisions, it returns to the sender. CustomInk’s genuine gesture to contribute to what their customers care about separates them from other T-shirt suppliers. It draws customers back to do business with a company that thinks this way.

Growing Business by Connecting with Customers

CustomInk has delivered over 15 million shirts, with 98.9 percent of their customers saying they will purchase from them again. Though their donation to charity customers is small in amount (as little as $30), this gesture connects the company personally with what their customers care about. And it shows customers that their service is not just about getting and filling orders.

With this gesture, CustomInk figuratively sticks their hand out of the shipping box and warmly embraces customers. And customers embrace CustomInk in return. Says one: “I definitely was not expecting an email asking if CustomInk could give a donation to our organization. This makes me proud to have picked this company to do our printing for us.”

And as you can see from the increase in CustomInk’s growth in donations, charities are rewarding CustomInk because they care. The percent of CustomInk’s charitable donations is directly related to the growth rate they are experiencing in charities flocking to them.

  • How do you connect in that personal manner with your customers?
  • What selfless acts tell your customers and employees about what matters to you on a personal level?

Want to learn about other tools to help you earn customers who drive the success and growth of your business? Pick up a copy of: “I Love You More Than My Dog: Five Decisions That Drive Extreme Customer Loyalty in Good Times and Bad.”

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About Jeanne Bliss

As “Chief Customer Officer” for Lands’ End, Mazda, Coldwell Banker, Allstate, and Microsoft, Jeanne got “customer” on the strategic agenda, earned 98% loyalty rates, and changed experiences across 50,000-person operations. Jeanne now runs CustomerBliss to create an actionable path for profitability and business growth -- through earning customer and employee raves. Her best-selling books are Chief Customer Officer and I Love You More than My Dog: Five Decisions that Drive

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