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Why I Don't Leave Home Without It

So, I was just checking emails at home one day recently, and then ... I was struck by some intriguing words in the subject line of an American Express email, of all things.

Good news! You'll receive a statement credit soon.

Immediately, my cynical radar went up. What are they selling? What kind of promotion are they trying to trap me into? How are they trying to get something out of me?

Then, I opened the email.

As an appreciation for your loyalty, we’re giving you a $50 one-time statement credit. This will automatically appear on your account statement as an ‘Appreciation Credit’.

Thank you for your continued Card Membership.

Wow. Really? Free money? That is awesome!

No tricks. Just $50 because they care about me as a customer?

I kind of sat up in my chair a little prouder. I remember thinking to myself: "I love American Express."

And, I do.

I have always admired how American Express really pioneered what really great customer service is all about starting about 40 years ago. And they continue to find new ways to delight their customers.

I am impressed that whenever I call their customer service - which is always terrific - that they say very genuinely, "Mr. Moore, thank you for being an American Express customer all the way back to 1984." There is sincerity in their voice. Again, I posture myself a little taller in my chair.

Such simple, but meaningful gestures.

(I also admire how American Express was way out in front in cause marketing with their 1996 "Charge Against Hunger" initiative. They found ways to build purpose into their brand, before integrating purpose into a company's DNA was cool.)

Lessons for us all.

As smart business people, we are always pushing for new business with an attitude of "I'll do almost anything to get this new account."

But what about those accounts - those people - who got you to where you are today?

It's all about showing that you really care. Care about them as customers. Care about them as people. Especially these days, loyalty is a precious attribute that needs to be celebrated and rewarded. But, we often overlook it because we are too focused on moving ahead.

We also forget what brings most of our business these days - referrals. Who do you think provides a lot of those invaluable referrals? That's right. Your longest-tenured, most loyal customers.

It's really important to continually acknowledge them. Delight them. Surprise them. Appreciate them.

I have to think that the timing of this $50 gift from American Express is not coincidental.

There is no doubt that these are unsettling, somewhat scary times. It is certainly hard to find "good news" anywhere. So, showing that they do indeed care in a tangible way, American Express sends some "Good news!" to their customers.

A credit card company that cares. Very cool.

So, stop. Take a moment. Think. How can you delight your most loyal customers and show them that you care about their business? Find something that shows you care about them as people. Not just a "thanks for your business" but rather, with something real and tangible. Show your gratitude for having them as a customer and a friend.

A simple gesture can make a significant impact if done with sincerity and authenticity.

After all, this is the season of thanks.

Happy Thanksgiving to all my terrific Fred Moore or Less readers.

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