In this age of information, it’s rare that we get the chance to meet with people face-to-face and interact in person. We investigate customer reviews online before visiting a restaurant or getting rideshare service, watch our favorite TV show episodes on demand through any device at any time – even during work meetings.

A recent Harvard Business Review article argues that since our lives have never been more predictable, “surprise and delight” remain the most powerful marketing tools. Strategies that focus on investing in relationships make companies attractive to prospective customers, but also foster deep authentic relationships with current customers.

So how can you surprise and delight your customers?

Handwritten notes are more thoughtful than text or email

A handwritten card goes a long way because it shows the sender put time and thought into their message. How many times have you seen a handwritten, thoughtful note from one of your vendors?

Do you remember who sent that card?

As much as we all rely on technology to get through the day, sometimes a handwritten note goes far. Send handwritten thank you notes to your customers. Congratulate them for anniversaries or promotions and throw in some flowers or cookies for good measure too!

Customers experience a range of challenges when partaking in a difficult transaction such as implementation or coping with personal setbacks. A card expressing thoughtful words is just as important as one that simply says, “Thank you for your purchase.”

It can be difficult to determine which customers are your best, but five examples of great customer service are those who have a personal relationship with you, act as an active and engaged member of the company, provides referrals for other prospects, or does speaking engagements.

A hand-written card this week can go a long way in thanking employees for their work. Next, identify 5 customers who’ve had difficulties with your business and send them an email or letter to be more sincere and see if you can help them out.

Encourage all employees to use social media

B2B software companies can learn from their B2C counterparts’ ability to engage with customers.

Business to business companies, while usually more private in their approach, can still have the very same impact B2C companies often do. No executive is too high up. No person is excluded–whatever their title. Everyone across the company should be on high alert for on how they can personally affect a customer in a positive way.

Create a position for an executive sponsor at your company which will be responsible for overseeing and guiding the dealings specifically with a key account.

You should also have your clients come visit your offices at least once a quarter to meet the people that use their product, attend quarterly business reviews, and experience tense moments like implementations or escalations calls.

Trade shows offer a prime opportunity for executives to engage with both customers and other business partners face to face.

Do you host private dinners or exclusive events? Have your senior executives attend, and also have them toast to the customers in attendance. Give executives seat assignments by our custom- ers—not just prospects.

Treating your customers with respect will show them how much you value their business.

Talk to them on social media

Social media channels like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram give you a unique glimpse into the personal lives of your customers in a way that other professional accounts cannot.

Sometimes, people forget the importance of individuals in business-to-business transactions.

Even though a customer is an organization and not an individual, there are still real people who represent that company and use your product on a regular basis.

Twitter users in your area may have tweeted that they plan to read a certain book or visit a particular restaurant. When you see this happen, use the opportunity to spend time with them and treat it like an implicit referral.

Posts about general topics of interest

It includes soliciting feedback and input from customers, prospects, employees, and other important stakeholders.

Establish customer service pages for your business that are specifically designed to more quickly answer any questions candidates have.

Even if your company controls the social media for your brand, usages of personal accounts can be beneficial.

Twitter provides a great starting point for research. It’s less personal, so it won’t feel intrusive to follow the people you found in your customer accounts.

Send the list of Twitter followers to both your marketing department and social media team before following anyone yourself.

When you see what your colleague enjoys outside of work, find out some interesting fact and use this to surprise them with something.

Give the gift of a thank you card in addition to company schwag with your logo.

Invest in your customer’s networks

There are few aspects that say you care more about relationships with customers than opening up your own networks. When a customer asks for your help in connecting, offering to make connections on their behalf goes the extra mile.

We don’t necessarily mean your social butterfly of a co-worker that will strike up a conversation with any person at the company holiday cocktail party or the guy who “always has a guy.”

We mean an individual who has a great reputation in their community because of their involvement, friends, and professional network. These individuals are rare because they care about providing value to those around them instead of only caring about themselves.

Select your favorite customers who have a strong relationship with you and consistently handle business in a way that you respect.

When creating your Linked-in profile, go through your personal contacts and make a list of 5 individuals you think are the best match for your customer.

Please create a short bio about yourself and the reasons why your intro would be useful to both the customer, as well as the contact.

Interested customers will be thrilled at the opportunity to meet other people. They’ll often want to return the favor in the future too.

Sweat even the small stuff

Freebies aside, an unexpected discount on a recent purchase is certainly welcome and appreciated.

Demonstrating your investment in customer success can seem daunting. As customer challenges may vary greatly and have some unique extenuating circumstances, the key to showing that you care for them is being vigilant about focusing on “small stuff.”

One of the most important traits in a customer service professional is a passionate drive to make their customers successful. Sometimes you get so busy that you forget about the little things, but often what your customers want most are for you to care about even seemingly small issues.

Sometimes even the smallest problems can get forgotten in a business. Next time one of your customers has an issue, address it or find someone else who can handle it fairly quickly.

Express your desire to work on these “small wins” to your manager and ask for assistance in taking care of some of these details or by requesting for a few hours that week to work remotely. This will show you care about the customer—because you’re willing to do a little extra.


We’ve included five quick ways to delight customers, but we all know there are more opportunities you could pursue.

Share with us! What are some ways that you have surprised and delighted your clients? What have you learned along the way?