Has a bank manager ever given readers a hug? Or have the waiters at the neighbourhood coffee shop ever recited poetry to them? 
If the answers are “no” and “never”, then readers are among millions of consumers who feel unloved by the retailers and service providers who proclaim how much they value their customers, but never get round to sharing the love – not even on Valentine’s Day.
The dearth of signs of affection for customers is not a frivolous issue, says consumer service consultant Aki Kalliatakis. Customers appreciate a warm welcome and a personal touch and come back for more, creating high levels of customer retention at businesses that encourage closer engagement.
The opposite is also true. Customer retention can plummet if consumers hankering for a soft, loving approach feel that retailers have their hearts set on profit alone, says Kalliatakis, founder of The Leadership LaunchPad, a consultancy that helps businesses build sales and service volumes through service improvements.
“The day is a great opportunity to reach out to customers on an emotional level, yet many businesses spurn the chance and as a result risk kissing their customers goodbye.”
Kalliatakis quotes several examples of personal initiatives with the potential to touch the hearts of customers, including:
* The man who on Valentine’s Day bought pills for a tension headache and received a brief but tender neck massage as well;
* The Valentine’s Day waiter who recited lines of love poetry to lady guests who were smitten by the gesture; and
* The laundry worker who pinned a note to a laundered suit and tie, praising the customer’s impeccable taste ahead of a Valentine’s night date.