The Customer as Valentine: Indirect Gifts

rosemary“Amy’s Plant” has a special meaning to a good friend of mine.  And, it always makes him smile whenever you ask him about it.  But, I am getting way ahead of myself!

My good friend tore down an old shed in his side yard.  The ugly shed was in stark contrast to the rest of his gorgeous, highly coiffured lawn.  He decided to make the available area a flower garden complete with birdhouses and a lattice covered sitting area.  When it came time to purchase plants and ornamental trees targeted for the new area, he took along his six-year-old granddaughter, Amy.  The sales person at the nursery treated Amy as a part of the decision-making process…to the delight of my friend.  Amy got to be the sales person’s “helper” and he even asked her opinion on some of the plants.

Amy was over at my friend’s house the afternoon the plants and trees were delivered.  After all were uncrated and placed in the spots where they would be planted, the driver had one more plant in the cab of his truck.  It was a small, aromatic rosemary plant with a tag that read, “Amy’s plant.”  She was thrilled and got to personally choose the spot where it would be planted.  And, every time she visited “Paw Paw,” she raced to the side yard to check on the growth of her plant.

But, here is the most important part.  Whenever someone visits my friend’s garden, or seeks his input on a good place to buy plants, or asks about any topic even remotely related to horticulture, that person will get to hear the “Amy’s Plant” story.

Valentine’s Day is not just about giving gifts to your customers as a reminder of your ardor; it might also be a chance to provide indirect attention on something or someone emotionally important to her or him.  Don’t wait for your customers to wear an “Ask Me About My Granddaughter” button.  Find ways to learn the target of their affinity and add it to your list as well!   Happy Valentine’s Day!

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Dr. Chip R. Bell is a world-renowned authority on customer loyalty and innovative service. Global Gurus ranked him in 2018 the #2 keynote speaker in the world on customer service; #1 in North America. He also is the author of numerous national and international best-selling books including Take Their Breath Away, Managing Knock Your Socks off Service, Magnetic Service, The 9½ Principles of Innovative Service and Customers as Partners. His books have been translated into over a dozen languages.

His newest customer service book is the award-winning, best-selling book Kaleidoscope: Delivering Innovative Service That Sparkles.

Dr. Bell has appeared live on CNBC, Bloomberg TV, CNN, Fox Business, ABC, CBS, NPR Marketplace and his work has been featured in Fortune, Wall Street Journal, Financial Times, Forbes, Businessweek, Entrepreneur, Inc. Magazine, and Fast Company.


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