The secret to creating brand loyal customers is to make every customer engagement with your brand memorable and delightful! People love to boast and brag about exceptional experiences, and with today’s online access make sure to give them something to talk about.

On a recent trip to Europe we stayed in both a big brand hotel and in a small family hotel. Which one do you think created the most memorable experience?

In Germany, the big brand “preferred guest membership” hotel where the rooms cost the most was actually memorable, but in the wrong kind of way; Impersonal communication, a lack of taking ownership and an attitude of if you don’t like it, that’s our policy, left us wishing we could cancel and go somewhere else!

Our greatest memories instead, came from a tiny 20 room, family run hotel that gave us individualized attention, answered a multitude of questions, treated us like family and went above and beyond traditional hospitality norms.

As part of their business culture, they created the most memorable unexpected experiences; from recommending the best local dining to reserving tickets to popular tourist sites, even where to score the best Belgium chocolate.

Each of us agreed that the warmth from smaller hotels, shops and restaurants, were the ones that created memorable, connected experiences. After we returned home we left a glowing review on Trip Advisor and other sites to share with fellow travelers.

Here are 5 loyalty basics to drive repeat business:

  • Understand your customer; what do they care about? How can you solve their problems? How can you make them happy?
  • Create experiences that connect them emotionally; make them laugh or give them a good cry. Inspire them to dream more, give more or to appreciate the simple things in life.
  • Make sure to walk in your customer’s shoes; look at each connection they have with your brand and train employees to make it better. How do you offer service above and beyond the status quo?
  • Create one of a kind customer service; if an issue arises, solve the problem with a happy attitude. Create the unexpected resolution to make them take notice.
  • Empower your employees to do everything possible; give them right of ownership in each decision. Deliver your brand promise through each customer contact.

Give your customers something to write about on social media; and make sure that something is positive. Every customer has a voice that can be heard around the globe today, so why not make it a stellar recommendation.  Not only will they return but, they just might bring others with them.