When we see our extended family members, we usually give them a hug.   Sometimes, even thinking about our families conjures up warm and happy feelings, kind of like a hug.

What kind of feeling does your business provide your customers?   What do you do in your business that could give people that special feeling that a hug provides (without actually hugging all of your customers)?   For a minute think about what makes you happy, really happy to frequent a particular business?

Extended family feeling in business

Letting the guests ring the bell for Costa Sur Happy Hour

Does your business “hug” your customers?

I recently vacationed in Mexico.  It was the second time we stayed at a particular resort and I was so excited to get back to that property because our first experience was fantastic.  This time it was even better and the primary reason why is the resort treats all their guests like extended family.  From the minute we walked through the doors and they put a face to our names, I felt them envelop us with their happiness, their pride in their work, and their pride in their resort.  It felt like a great big hug, although no hugging really occurred.  When was the last time you felt that way about a business?  Shouldn’t we all strive to have our customers and clients feel like they’re part of our extended family when they do business with us?

In business the family feeling starts virtually

We check businesses out online first.  If your website is working in your favor, it will draw customers in.  It will begin to give them a feeling about what you offer.  Something to check –  what type of feeling does your website provide about your business?  Are you letting potential customers know that when working with you they’ll become part of your extended family?  Do they get the feeling from your site that they will be a priority for you?

When your business door opens, what happens next?

I’m not suggesting that you have to jump out and hug everyone who comes through your door, but do make sure they really feel welcome.  Not just a cursory “Hello” and nothing more.  Not a “Can I help you” comment either.  What would you say to an extended family member?  Maybe comment on the weather, comment on something cool the person is wearing…say something that makes them feel at ease and happy to have chosen to walk through your door.

Extended families don’t share everything and neither should you

One of the most fun aspects of the resort stay in Puerto Vallarta was that we all knew the employees by name, they knew us by name, and we all shared bits and pieces about our lives.  Not a lot, but just enough to keep that feeling of “family” alive.  Businesses need to be engaged with their customers.  Being engaged helps people feel good not only about your business but also about themselves.  They care that you care. It doesn’t matter what type of business you are – big or small.  People care about how they are made to feel.  If you’re not treating your customers like extended family members, they probably aren’t going to hang around long.  Take a look at your business and have a few others look at your business too,  then see where you can make a few changes to help your customers feel that “hug” from you.

The resort in Puerto Vallarta is called Costa Sur (yes, big shoutout to them!) and they have the “business hug” down perfectly. The entire staff makes you feel like part of their extended family and we’re already talking about our trip there next year.  Are you giving your customers a business hug?   What do you do in your business to help foster that family feeling?  What do you do that keeps your customers coming back?