Varun Agarwal is a co-founder of Alma Mater, an online brand for customized merchandise and alumni memorabilia for schools, colleges and companies. The company’s online store boasts nearly 300,000 customers, and its Facebook page has more than 400,000 fans.
In 2012, Varun authored a book, How I Braved Anu Aunty & Co-founded a Million Dollar Company, which quickly went onto become a best seller. In this post, he gives us four essential tips to delight your customers and turn them into your company’s fans.
Tell your story – make it interesting
One of the things that really worked for us was the book about our company. A lot of our customers and other people read about how we started up. That not only served as an inspiration to many of them but also as a source of information about how we started our company. So indirectly we turned a lot of our customers into our fans, and we still make sure that we send a copy with every order that we send out, so that more and more customers turn into our fans.
Offer something unique – something valuable
One of the unique things we offer at Alma Mater is that people get printed what they want. Usually if you buy at a traditional store, you buy what’s available. But we have something called the Playtool where you can go and design exactly what you want and that will be printed. When we do that, it creates this sense of excitement that I designed that t-shirt and it’s right here, right in front of me!
Great service delights – every single time!
For any business to keep customers happy is obviously by offering great service. We try our best that each and every customer gets the best service possible. I think that’s the only hard and fast rule to keep any customer happy. For example, one of the things we do to make our customers happy is that we try to make sure that we deliver before time. Though that doesn’t happen much, we try. Another thing we ensure is that the customer is informed about every update of their order.
Another thing that really works for us is the fact that we are two young guys trying to start a company, and trying to be entrepreneurs. I think that really works for us. So, for example, when seniors from college or people that I know look at us, they see these two young guys trying to build this company and trying their best to take it to greater heights. I think that sort of connect really helps. Our customers are not like customers, they are more like friends, more like people who know us intimately because of the book. They know our story, they know the hardship we went through, and they know what we are trying to do. So, in that sense, our customers are not our customers, I’d call them friends.