I enjoy spending time relaxing at the spa, getting a massage, taking a sauna....relaxing and rewarding myself. When there are several to choose from, how am I influenced? Assuming equal quality and ambience, I am drawn to the spa where I matter. The one where I am greeted personally by name. The one where they remember my preferences. The one where they are warm, friendly and welcoming without being too familiar.
Some would say this is just excellent customer service - that's certainly partly true - but for me it's more than that, it's about relationship. I have developed a personal relationship with the staff at one particular spa and those relationships keep me coming back. More than any coupons or enticements to other places, it's the relationships.
On reflection, I have developed relationships with all kinds of key people. I know my dry cleaner by name, the newsagent too, my hairdresser and her immediate staff are all very familiar (that's Laura left, she's a gem), so is the man providing my train ticket each week. Here's the key - by developing trust, by knowing these people's names (and especially remembering something about them), each one becomes more than just someone providing me with a service, they become an important individual with a name: Ben, Sue, Laura, Joe, Mark.....
Smiling is a great start! If you want to connect and establish a relationship with someone the first thing to do is smile, make eye contact, say something beyond "latte to go please" [even if it is something about the weather, we British are very good at making a conversation about the weather]. And the big advantage to all this? You feel good. They feel good. Both your days get brightened. And in the final analysis, you're more likely to get attention and leave the interaction with a warm glow. What better way to start your day? Or spend your day? Or end your day?
With whom do I interact on a regular basis that I'd like to develop this kind of relationship?