Have you ever had a friend do something unexpectedly kind (like offering to watch your rugrats so you could go shopping alone), and then found yourself in the kitchen baking cookies to say thanks?
Or maybe your spouse washed the dishes when it was your turn and you suddenly felt inspired to make them breakfast?
The natural reaction of doing something for someone else after they do something for you or give something to you is called reciprocity — and it works just as well in the business world as it does at home.
In fact, some savvy researchers tested the theory of reciprocity out on restaurant servers and found that the result was dramatically higher tips.
Servers that simply presented diners with a piece of candy at the end of the meal received an extra 3% in tips. But, servers that mentioned to diners that they were giving them the candy because they thought they might enjoy it saw their tips increase by as much as 21%.
Servers aren’t the only ones who can benefit from this routine of giving and getting.
Every business can see a positive impact from giving a little something extra to customers.
The good news is your business doesn’t need to spend all the profits on treating customers; just a small token can pay off in terms of larger sales, repeat business, referrals and positive reviews.
But, like the servers from the study, the biggest results don’t come with simply giving. The real payoff comes when the item you give is meaningful and enjoyable for the customer.
This personalization, along with a quick mention that they are getting something extra, takes a token over the top.
Here’s a few ways to make reciprocity work for your business…
- Any time customers need to complete or sign a form, give them a pen and mention that it is theirs to keep.
- With each order, include a sample of another item the customer might like, with a note explaining why the item was chosen.
- Give customers digital copies of their forms, contracts, or photographs on a USB drive.
- Offer stickers or small toys to parents, mentioning how well-behaved their kids are (or commiserating if they are not).
- Offer tape measures to customers considering furniture, flooring, window coverings or other home improvement items along with expert advice for taking accurate measurements.
- Give potential customers interested in joining a gym or fitness center a sports bottle when they come in for a tour.
- Give new customers a “First Time Buyer Bonus” of any personalized token related to your business and welcome them to your family.
It doesn’t take much to make your customers feel special and keep them coming back. Consider these token ideas, and watch the results roll in!