Go retro!  The dizzying pace of messages, emails, Instagram, zoom and all social media -all on multiple devices and emails – presents a huge opportunity for marketers to incorporate the total opposite and go with a more personal touch.  This is especially true in our non-touch environment right now.

Extensive customer data collected at multiple touch points along with abundant digital marketing tools allows us to send personalized messaging and tailored experiences to our guests but, these can have even higher impact by also including even more personal, high touch and yes – maybe a little old fashioned components to your plans.

There is power in including human communication:  Hand written – Hand crafted – a Hand Shake (well maybe an elbow bump!)

Earning loyalty requires being credible and trustworthy.  In the clutter of electronic messages, the time taken to provide a simple, hand written communication or a hand crafted experience demonstrates real interest and conveys honesty. Human touch at all customer touch points is a powerful partner to our current technologies and may make the difference in not just building a loyal following but keeping them that way.

  1. Hand Written has great impact. Hand written notes, hand addressed envelopes and a real stamp says you cared enough to take time to acknowledge the customer in a personal way.   

So much of the mail we receive today is transactional vs. personal.  I get excited to find a hand written note in the mail box.

During the Covid-19 shut down, I took the time to send hand written notes to several friends that I had not connected with in a long time.  The reaction to getting this surprise in the mail was so positive that I am committed to keep it going.

A Raffles Hotel General Manager I know, sends beautiful hand written notes to guests.  They include a quote of his own or others, artistically written in fountain pen.   I look forward to getting them and certain he chose the quote just for me!Raffles is a luxury lifestyle hotel company and this seemingly small thing says so much about the nature of the brand.

  1. Hand crafted experiences and customer involvement increases engagement and builds emotional connections

In the hospitality and wellness business we have many opportunities to create personalized, one of a kind experiences at many touch points.

We recently bought living room furniture from a North Carolina company called CR LAINE. This was an investment for us and it took a lot of time to select the styles and fabrics and have it made.   So when it arrived at our house, I was excited to get the crates opened.    I noticed that each piece of furniture had a card attached that was hand signed by the individual craftsmen who made our beautiful sofa and chairs.We could imagine that Sharon, Roger and Linda really cared to make our purchase special and that they loved doing it.  I know CR Laine makes thousands of pieces but having each craftsman sign his or her name made it personal and special for me.    I am in the process of buying additional pieces from them.

  1. Adding a personal connection enhances all marketing programs – especially digital

Emails and electronic messaging are efficient and help manage our time but they can a sometimes be an excuse to avoid coming face to face with customers.   This is particularly so with difficult or important situations when tone and body language can add a dimension often missing in the electronic world alone.

In one spa I managed, we noticed a guest was tweeting from the spa she was not happy with her experience.    There was a clue in it that she was sitting by the pool.   The spa director went out to the pool and spotted her and went over, introduced himself and said, “I understand that we are not living up to your expectations today”.   The issue was fixed and immediately this guest then started tweeting that she was at the best spa in the world.

While a Fairmont Hotel General Manager, I called a guest whom a colleague told me was very upset.   The guest described the issue and it was bad.    I think I said something like:  “That’s really awful and I am totally embarrassed.   I am not sure how I can make this up to you.   Can you give me any idea how we might make this better in any way?”    There was no required business language protocol of a letter.   It was just the real sincere OMG tone in my voice (not in a text).    No letter alone could have conveyed how sorry I was. He became a regular guest.  He also worked for a candy company and for many years he sent us a big box of treats to share with the colleagues every month.

Out most successful digital spa marketing campaigns have occurred when digital and social media components were complimented by at least one component that required a personal interaction with something hand written or hand delivered.   In one campaign it might be something that was handed to the guest by a therapist as a personal invitation to come back or providing campaign themed stationary for the Spa Director to send a hand written note to top guests inviting them to try something new.

CRM success is enhanced when our digital programs and tools work hand in hand with personal connections with customers.  Examining guest touch points and the digital marketing programs for opportunities to hand write, hand craft or extend a hand shake will definitely give you a hand up in earning long term customer loyalty.