The ‘What is Working in Business’ guest interview blog series hi-lights some actual resources, programs, and strategies from the business front-lines being used with actual people, getting actual results. Enjoy.

Action Edge: OK, so we’re joined today by Noreen Ward – Noreen is the founder of Calgary based – The Gift Designers. Thanks for speaking with us today Noreen.

Noreen Ward: You’re very welcome, happy to be here.  

AE: So before we dive into the main topic here Noreen, give everyone an overview of your company and what you guys are about.

NW: Yep sure, The Gift Designers was started in 2002 for the purpose of making it easier for anyone to give, at any time, for any reason. We wanted to enter the marketplace as a company who listened first, and conveyed our customers’ sentiments with timely and professional delivery of unique and classy arrangements. Over the years we began serving more and more business clients and quickly developed a niche for being a trusted partner for our clients as they strive for ever-increasing customer loyalty within their businesses.

AE: Right, and that last bit is exactly the reason we wanted to have you in for the interview today. Surely most businesses come to realize quickly that a business without repeat business is soon to be out of business,and although it seems everyone gives great lip service to caring about their customers the actions don’t always deliver that same message of caring. How has The Gift Designers been able to help in bridging this gap exactly?

NW: Well, it actually started when we pivoted several years ago and realized we were in the business of making it easy for our business clients to ACT, to actually show their gratitude, their sympathy, their congratulations, their….you know, whatever it may be they wanted to get across. We were actually at one of your workshops in 2013 and saw the statistics around most customers stopping doing business with their provider because of ‘Perceived Indifference’. This hit me hard on a couple fronts – first of which being, how tragic; but then a blow of greater magnitude hit me – we have the perfect company and resources to help businesses with this! And since then we’ve really been on a crusade to help our customers absolutely eliminate any chance of this ‘perceived indifference’ amongst their clients. We bridge the gap, as you say, by reflecting our clients’ care about their customers into scheduled, custom, completely handled, and systemized customer touch-points loyalty programs of varying scopes and sizes.

AE: OK, so this interview series is called ‘What’s Working in Business’, and on the topic of repeat business, customer loyalty, and creating a WOW factor – it’s no question your team at The Gift Designers have certainly been a shining example of ‘what’s working!’ Now – one program in particular sounds like it is sort of the ultimate option in this regard – tell us about the ‘Client for Life’ platform you have and the results it is getting.

NW: Well thanks, we’re very proud of being able to help all of our great customers with their loyalty programs. The Client for Life Program is our first venture in gift automation & database driven systems for our guests, and it is really turning heads. This program offers the systemization of gifting based on our clients’ industry cycles. Those on the program enjoy the ability to ‘automize’ their gift giving, and they boast of the results that they are seeing. Prior to signing up, one guest came in with a mindset that gifts were not appreciated, however with the implementation of the Client for Life Program they saw instantaneous results, that changed their mind.  They shared with us that their clients were now contacting them to say thank you and were even giving them referrals. That kind of relationship is what keeps customers coming back and that result is what this program is offering.

AE:  This is so powerful. Big congrats on how you have offered something so unique for your niche market. However, with systemization and automation customers could lose that sense of personalization and branding, perhaps? What does the program offer to allow your clients to keep up their share of voice, identity, and stand out?

NW: We are striving to give our clients the ability to build relationships with their clients the way they need to. This is not a cookie-cutter system, but a conversation about how best to meet their needs. We have several options and the purpose of our program is to become a part of their strategy based on their unique business and clients. The branding and look is chosen by them. Of course, there are some details that are preset, however we do offer many customization options that allow our program members the ability to express their sentiments in ways that reflect their brand, personality & corporate culture.

AE: So, peaking online – it appears that the program is geared only for Realtors and Mortgage brokers who need a strategy for their industry. Is the program available for other industries?

NW:  We are very open to other industries who could use this kind of automation to increase customer loyalty.  We want all our customers to have the ability to build their business relationships, and conversations are happening regularly with other professionals with inquiries from Eastern Canada, as well as the USA.  Our little system is proving to meet the expressed need of real estate agents & mortgage brokers, and long term we would like to create a more robust digital solution that is easily tailored to industry needs.

AE: And what does the system actually do?

NW:  The system collects their client information once, and on their behalf schedules their follow up gifting.  It is database driven, and it simply automates the reminders which trigger the gifting program in house for us so that we can manage the design & delivery of their gifts for them.  Once they make their initial selections (pick the cycle, the gifts, the messaging, etc) they have set the program and we do all the work. It’s a very seamless process for the program member.  The biggest part for them is selecting which gift they give at each cycle point. We have received incredible feedback from real estate professionals that they wished they’d had a solution like this earlier, and we hear them sharing their success stories with other realtors.  For Agents who are keen to have repeat & referral business the system is not only a relational solution but a business generator.

AE: Well Noreen, you guys have surely hit upon something that is truly ‘working in business’ so on behalf of all of us striving to get better at customer retention, loyalty, and showing our customers that we care, first – congrats! And second, thank-you!

NW:  Well thanks so much, we trying hard every day to lead by serving, and we are proud of the assistance we provide to all our customers.

AE:  Before we shut it down here Noreen, what about these businesses and professionals reading this who are saying ‘I need that!’ What’s the best thing for them to do?

NW:  All our contact information is on our site  We encourage interested parties to call or message us to set up a consult so we can be certain our services are an actual fit for their plans and goals regarding customer loyalty.

AE:  There you have it everyone. Thanks again to The Gift Designers for inspiring this post, check back for more examples of ‘What is Working in Business’ soon.