With all the talk of Jolly Old St. Nicholas this time of year I can’t help but feel for the elves. After all, they are the ones putting in all the long hours to make sure the kids have working toys for Christmas. There isn’t a return policy to the North Pole. And with the recent advancements in Google Maps Santa doesn’t even need to worry about routing his trip anymore.
Ah, who am I kidding? The elves are probably buying everything off Amazon this time of year like the rest of us. I heard Jeff Bezos funded a drone project to send packages directly to Santa’s Workshop.
But seriously, in my opinion the elves don’t get enough credit for the childrens’ stuffed stockings (or shoes) come Christmas morning. So staying true to the holiday spirit I thought I would do a little research into exactly where these little green leotard wearing guys came from. Maybe then we can give them a little more credit for their hard work.
The history of Christmas elves, like many traditions, was passed on like Chinese whispers between generations. These pointed eared trouble makers started out as one thing and after nearly 200 years of storytelling became something totally different.
The link between Christmas and elves began with the story “A Visit from St. Nicholas” aka “Twas the Night Before Christmas” written in 1823. In the story there was a reference to St. Nick as “a plump jolly old elf”. My guess is that the author, Clement C. Moore, just needed a word to rhyme with “myself” on the next line.
Like the game ‘telephone’ a simple elf reference morphed into what we have today: rosey-cheeked, sharp-eared, green-wearing little guys with bells on their hats acting as Santa’s minions.
But the more I think about it, the core of the message remained the same over all these years. Santa Claus has always been known to deliver gifts to children on Christmas eve. Only now he has the help of little elves to carry out his mission of spreading joy to all the good little boys and girls.
Similarly, when dealing with clients, it seems that it’s the “good feeling” that resonates most and creates loyalty to your business. Let’s face it, as individuals we sort out what is important, lock it in our memory, and forget the rest. We just don’t have enough room in our brains for everything!
That is why the businesses that find ways to influence our emotions are so successful for creating loyalty (referrals, retention, repeat business). After all, we always remember how people made us feel, but not necessarily what they said or did to make us feel that way.
By the time a referral makes it way back to your business it could end up like the Christmas elves. But who cares how it got there, just remember the good feelings are what caused it to happen to begin with.
That is why we encourage businesses to consistently reach out to their best customers with high quality touch points. Personal, handwritten cards and surprises make them feel all warm and fuzzy inside. Over time these good feelings will translate into client loyalty.
So, let’s hand it to those elves. Those diminutive little gift-goblins have taught us an important lesson in client loyalty after all.