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Muchos businesses to invest lots of time and money trying to attract new customers, but do not pay much attention to those who already have. Delighting your customers can become your competitive advantage. The competition can copy their products, lower the price or offer similar benefits; but something they can not copy, is the experience they live when they work or they buy from you. Delight and surprise customers is the responsibility of everyone, not just the business area or those in charge.

Every interaction that a client, current or potential, has with your brand, you, your colleagues and even your website, builds the positioning . Providing a surprising experience in a consistent manner requires planning and processes. From handwritten notes to loyalty benefits, a simple detail can make all the difference in your competitive and aggressive market.

Maintaining the tradition that began five years ago with Article 40 entrepreneurial learning , to make a publication every five years on my birthday with the corresponding number, today (December 25, 2015), I want to share 45 ideas to surprise your customers, on the occasion of my 45th birthday.

1. Hand out a welcome kit - Especially for service companies, give each new customer a folder with relevant welcome information. Surprise delivering a printed or digital document where you thank the client for selecting the company. Include the contact information of the key people and instructions on what to do next. (See in detail what the Welcome Kit is and a couple of examples from the American Marketing Association and the Chamber of Commerce of Bogotá ).

2. Send a handwritten note - As in the old days, send a handwritten note to a client in thanks. It is surprising what little is used today as a way to show appreciation. In a world where the main means of communication is email, receiving a handwritten note thanking a meeting, inviting an event or simply as a token of recognition, is something that stands out. Select the most special clients, for example those who have a year of working with you, and send them a note thanking them for working together.

3. Highlight clients - Mention clients publicly and let them know how much you appreciate them and how important they are to you. Make allusions to positive aspects, taking care not to overdo praise that may end up looking unoriginal. For example, you can include a section in your electronic bulletin that highlights "the customer of the month", or if you sell for example to health professionals, you can periodically make and post an interview with different professionals.

4. Send them a sample of a new product - If you are launching a new product, it may be a good idea to have your best customers rehearse it before the other customers. It not only shows that you appreciate them, but that it helps you get your valuable opinion. Let them try their new menu, pilates class or tax advice, as a courtesy.

5. Invite them to a birthday cafe - Take careful note of their clients' birthdays and surprise them with an invitation to coffee; or if not possible, send them a gift card so they can enjoy it on their behalf.

6. Extend benefits of your strategic allies - If you have other allied companies, offer additional benefits such as courtesy services or interesting information just for being your client. They can be complementary things that also serve to give visibility to other businesses that can serve their customers.

7. Include a gift with each order - Add a small gift to each order a customer makes. It can be a product sample or a symbolic detail like a small stuffed toy that represents your business, a sheet to make origami or a fortune cookie.

8. Help clients learn something new - If you have a boutique, you can make periodic events about trends, ways to use accessories or costume ideas for special occasions. The more inspiration you offer your clients, the more alternatives to stay loyal. For B2B service companies, offering online training so that customers get more out of their services is a good way to strengthen relationships.

9. Create an exclusive newsletter for VIP clients - Identify sources of information that give you ideas on issues that affect your clients' business and compile them to send them periodically. Electronic newsletters are common to share with the broad base of subscribers, but are rarely designed with exclusive content for clients. Surprise sharing privileged information.

10. Offer free shipping - Although in some countries it is a popular practice, it is still a great opportunity to surprise a customer with small details.

11. Learn the names of your children - Eventually during an informal conversation with a client and as confidence grows, more relevant information is shared for each person. At certain times there is an opportunity to make specific mentions, showing that you are really interested in the details of the client.

12. Respond quickly - Do not delay the answers, even if you do not have them yet. Contact the client and tell him that he still has no answer, but that he is working on it. Especially if it is about any claim or concern of the client, the faster you respond, the better.

13. Encourage a networking event - Encourage work groups and share best practices among your clients. The greatest learnings arise from sharing ideas and experiences from your own community. Sponsor one or two meetings a year.

14. Facilitate returns - Give them a simple life. When an inconvenience arises and the client must make an evolution or a claim, make the process incredibly simple. Avoid headaches and pleasantly will continue to buy. Surprise the customer by paying the transportation costs of the return, Zappos style .

15. Celebrate the anniversary of your company - Every company has a year of foundation. Surprise your client by congratulating him on the respective month for his fifth anniversary, send them a commemorative plaque or a greeting card signed by employees who interact with the client.

16. ReTweet Your Customers - If you follow some of your customers on Twitter, share your messages when they post things that apply to their own community. The client will receive notification and shows that he is paying attention.

17. Invite them to a tour of your company - If applicable, invite them to a tour of the production plant, so they know the "behind the scenes" of how things are done or the processes where the magic of products or services is born who receive. Also invite your families for the experience to be even more memorable.

18. Give them priority - If necessary, establish priorities with the most important customers, in terms of response times, order of attention and dispatch speed, among other things. This is based on the principle that not all customers are the same.

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19. Send them a detail - Take a special date and send a small but symbolic detail to your client. It can be something as simple as some cookies in a special package, accompanied by a congratulatory note. If your client recently had a child, it is a good opportunity to show your appreciation with a detail for the baby.

20. Be on the lookout for client mentions in media - Schedule the name of the client's company in the Google Alerts and be the first to congratulate him for his mention in the media. Include your client's brands in the alerts. It also helps to know when they have launched a new advertising campaign that has coverage in online media.

21. Leave a client speechless - Select a client, do something out of the ordinary and totally unexpected. Do not underestimate the power of creating incredible experiences for a few clients. Soon what happened will be known by other clients and a viral effect will be created. See how the WestJet airline that fulfilled the dreams of its travelers at Christmas . Before leaving, they were asked what they wanted for Christmas, and what would not be the surprise when receiving the gifts in their destination.

22. Give them an extra benefit - Send them a note offering them an additional benefit, simply as a thank you for their loyalty and for continuing with their service. If you have a point of sale, give a small unexpected gift at the time of payment.

23. Host a party - Although it can literally be a party, think of other celebration alternatives for clients such as a wine tasting, a picnic, a barbecue or a mini amusement park, with target shooting and things for the style.

24. Send postcards - In the style of handwritten notes, the value of a postcard lies in its personalization and in being a simple but special way to surprise. Design your own postcards and include a phrase with some humor that makes the customer smile.

25. Celebrate your achievements - Make your client feel like part of the family. Celebrate special events in their lives by sending a small gift. An event can be a special birthday (30, 40, 50 or 60 years), a promotion, your child's professional degree or the completion of an extensive training program.

26. Assign a unique phone number - While this is not for all customers, think about assigning a direct and unique number to your two or three most important customers. Not only will it make them feel important but it will improve communication. Imagine that instead of answering "Banco del Oeste good afternoon, what can I help you?", They replied, "Mr. Gonzalez, good afternoon, how can I help you?"

27. Reward loyalty - Customers appreciate the red carpet treatment. Reward the loyalty of your customers before it is too late. Do not wait until you find out about other means that gave better conditions to another company or that was not included in the benefits "only for new clients".

28. Congratulate on unconventional dates - It is common for companies to send their customers Christmas or birthday cards. However, sending a commemorative card or postcard for independence day, language day, woman's day or profession day (lawyer's day, accountant's day, doctor's day, etc.), leaves the routine and generates greater recall. A special and memorable detail.

29. Provide additional hours for special clients - Offer VIP treatment to your clients. Invite them to enjoy your store in additional hours. Add things like coffee, cookies or tea, to make the experience more enjoyable.

30. Provide educational gifts - Things like books, seminars, live events, training and the like, are a way not only to stay present, but to show your interest because you know new options.

31. Send gift cards - Gift cards for different businesses are becoming more popular. Take advantage of special opportunities to thank customers, including some that represent their own philosophy.

32. Offer surprise upgrades - The element of surprise is very powerful. Thank a customer with an unexpected and spontaneous improvement of the service he has contracted with his company. Think of the business class upgrades that airlines make to their frequent travelers.

33. Make them smile - If you have a creative person on your team, ask them to help you with a personalized gift. It can be the image of your client superimposed on the cover of a well-known publication, movie poster or even an illustration.

34. Give them a good reading - If you work in the B2B segment, think of a business book that has had a significant impact on your company and obéquieelo to their customers. If you sell to the end consumer, think about books or booklets around what you sell. If you have a fitness center, you can give a healthy eating book; or if you sell products for children, you can give away children's stories. Be sure to write a personalized note explaining the meaning of the book. This works not only as a thank you, but even as a way to share your company's philosophy and alignment with shared values ​​and principles.

35. Maintain regular contact - Even if your product or service is not frequently sold (they buy it once a year), it is useful to appear periodically and stay on the customer's radar. Not only for commercial reasons (the client may need an extra purchase), but to build trust and show interest.

36. Refer to other clients - A good demonstration that your clients are really allies and that you care about their business, is to send them referrals. Whenever you have the opportunity, recommend your business to other people.

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37. Celebrate special events - According to your business, there may be different things to celebrate customers. Honda offered a surprise parade to one of its customers when it arrived at a town, after having fulfilled a million miles traveling in his Honda Accord model 90, who also gave him a new car. This not only appeared in the media and became popular, but also sent a message of quality to the rest of the market.

38. Welcome them by phone - Personally call each new customer and give him a warm welcome. Take the opportunity to answer any concerns you may have about your company, the product or the service you offer. This can be a complement to the Welcome Kit .

39. Share your content - Add your client's blog to your subscriptions, follow them on their social networks and monitor their online mentions. From time to time share your content on your own social channels, which can be networks, blog or electronic newsletter.

40. Keep them informed - Nobody likes not knowing what happens. Do not wait for the client to contact you to find out what happens. Go ahead and keep customers abreast of everything that happens with your order and with each part of the process. Especially if there is a problem, customers appreciate being kept up to date as often as they can. As soon as you know that an office is delayed, call him to inform him and give him the estimated date of arrival.

41. Distribute small details - If you have a point of sale or office with public attention, offer coffee, tea, water or a small gift. It is a good sign and an act of kindness with those who visit your company.

42. Immerse yourself in your culture - Learn as much as you can from your clients, from your business culture, from the philosophy that guides your business, from your values ​​and principles. Learn from the city where your client is located, their customs, their cuisine, their history, their music and their people. The less commercial the relationship becomes, the more people will connect and remain as customers.

43. Demonstrate that you value feedback - Communicate with your clients and tell them what you have implemented, changed or adjusted as a result of their recommendations. There is no better way to communicate with a client than to show him that he is listening and that he cares about his well-being.

44. Create a private group on Facebook - Use the platform of private Facebook groups to develop a community of clients that can feed each other. In certain industries where customers are not competitive with each other, knowing the experience of others with the same challenges is very useful.

45. Meet the whole team - If possible, schedule a lunch in your client's office (paid for by you), and invite all members of your team to share a pleasant time. This will allow you to get to know your client from another perspective, while at the same time learning will help you improve the performance of joint projects.

Surprising customers is not necessarily a matter of money, but of creativity. Take advantage of any opportunity to create a memorable experience. See you in five years, when, on the occasion of my 50th birthday, we will explore 50 ideas for something.

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