We all have daily rituals. Often they are so routine we no longer think about them. We just do them. Brushing our teeth. Making our first cup of tea in the morning. Tying our shoes. The route we take to work or when walking the dog can be rituals.
Then there are rituals associated with life’s major events. Graduation ceremonies. Weddings. Funerals. Getting the keys to your first home.
In between are the many rituals that enrich our lives. Sending holiday cards. Buying a new car. Buying a prom dress. Our annual closet spring cleaning.
Business need rituals too. Often these just happen. A natural way you greet your customers becomes a ritual through its consistent repetition.
What rituals do you have?
What rituals do you already have in place? Walk through the entire new customer process and see where you have already created rituals. Then do it again with an eye to opportunities for rituals. Walk through the process for repeat customers. And again for unhappy customers. Be especially attuned to the little opportunities for ritual.
Every touch point with a customer is an opportunity. Even opening your newsletter or adding a product to your shopping cart can be rituals. Most of us spend hours on the creation of our newsletters, spell-checking and editing. But do you include yourself on the distribution list and read the newsletter as if you were a customer? Do you intentionally look for places to institute rituals.
Events are rituals
Your yearly employee barbecue? Your customer appreciation event? Your employee of the year announcement? Birthday cards to your customers? A special gift to customers who have been with you for 20 years? Lapel pins awarded to people who have taken 10 tours with your company? To be a ritual these need to be done routinely. They must be dependable or they are not rituals. But they are wonderful for creating that sense of belonging.
Think of several outrageous ideas for rituals. Let your mind wander to the quirky, the unusual, the goofy, the exotic. It must be authentic. It must be appropriate for your Meaningful Few. But most of us play it safe when it comes to new ideas. What can you come up with that is outside the safe zone?
A local restaurant uses drink glasses as a container for the bill rather than the usual padded faux leather check presenter. Then the owner decided to make it a bit different by adding stickers with unusual (to the non-restaurant worker) restaurant sayings to the glasses. Each glass had a different saying. It was his way of getting the customer into the chef experience. It became a ritual to read the expression and guess what it meant.
Rituals happen when you are not present with the customer in other ways as well. What happens when they are home with your product? Can unwrapping it be a ritual? Can using it be a ritual? Can connecting with others about it on social media be a ritual? Can recycling the excess packaging be a ritual? Do you include free samples?
These invisible (to you) rituals are very powerful and create the nurture factor you need.
Make a list of all the rituals you have in place today. Don’t worry if you have none. You can start now with a clean slate! If you have some, reflect on if they are truly the best rituals for your Meaningful Few or can they be improved. Possibly even abandoned. The next step is to think through all the touch points with your clients and brainstorm ideas for rituals. Start with small impactful rituals. Be open to new ones. Let them evolve.