As the web continues to drastically change how we purchase the products and services, entrepreneurs are finding a renewed faith in the power of a great customer experience.
Why might that be?
Busiess Owners need to be keen as to what their unique selling proposition is. In other words, why should a customer buy from you if they could pick up by going to their local market?
In addition to the uniqueness of your products and the prices you’re able to offer, there is one other point of difference that can tip the scales in your favor—delivering an outstanding customer experience.
It’s been proven in a number of consumer studies that a vast majority of consumers will pay for better service, and since a great experience is a known cause for increased brand loyalty and word of mouth referrals.
If you can’t go toe-to-toe with the big guys on price, amazing service should be your winning proposition.
But how can you deliver that vaunted “amazing” service? You’re likely not surprised to hear that great customer service really boils down to taking care of customers, and providing them with a ‘WOW’ experience that leaves a lasting impression.
Below, I’ll highlight 6 exceptional ways to ‘WOW’ the socks off of your customers, without breaking the bank.
1. The Classic Freebie
If you’ve ever read that fascinating study about the power of mints—where waiters received a 21% better tip when they left two free mints—you know that reciprocity is a powerful psychological trigger, and that it doesn’t take much for a gift to leave an impact.
Small gifts to customers (a free comb after a haircut, etc.) are nothing new, so today I thought I’d highlight a great example of a company that took things to a whole new level.
2. A Thank You Note
With the endless amount of options out there, is it really so much to ask that a business say “Thanks!” to a new customer? You might think that thank you notes have lost their impact, being that they are such a tried and true tactic, but you would be dead wrong.
In fact, it’s been argued that technology has actually made the handwritten note somewhat of a lost art, allowing it to leave an even larger impact today than it would have in years past, especially from a business.
There are so many instances of customers being truly appreciative of thank you notes.
Here are some quick tips on writing a killer thank you note:
- If it’s financially feasible, try to use quality stationary. Some of the stationary sets on sites like Pinhold are quite nice for the price.
- Be sure to mention the customer’s name, and not for some gimicky persuasion reason, but because it’s common courtesy!
- Express your gratitude, clearly stating the reason for sending the note.
- Mention details about what you enjoyed about your experience with this customer (a fantastic opportunity to be specific and thoughtful).
- Allude to your future interactions with the customer (when will you make contact next?)
- Close with professional but warm sign-off and a signature (examples: Best, Kindest Regards, Sincerely, Cheers, etc.)
- Can’t you find the time to show customers you care with a little handwritten gratitude?
3. Check in With Customers
Even if your business doesn’t lend itself to something that personalized, remember through the power of email marketing, you could always set up a follow-up email to check in with customer and see how they are doing.
This can be especially powerful for large purchases or “habit forming” purchases. If you sell products for a hobby, for instance, it might be nice to check in with those who have purchased a beginner’s set or beginner equipment to see how they are doing.
Imagine the impression a business would leave if after buying your first set of golf clubs, you got an automated email from “Jim” asking you how they were treating you, and if you’ve been able to hit the driving range yet? Pretty powerful stuff, and all hinging on the very frugal cost of a personal follow-up email.
This is also useful for birthdays, holidays, or even better, some other personal event that you learned about from a customer.
4. Get Proactive About Service
Too often, businesses see customer service as a reactionary task rather than an opportunistic one.
For example: a potential customer had added a few clothes to their shopping cart, but upon seeing the shipping costs (it was international), they had to leave without a purchase.
Seeing that the cart had been left full, the Shop employee reached out to the customer via email with some creative solutions on how they could ship the products to the customer for less. The customer ended up completing his purchase and buying more from shop, and I think his comment in that second email say it all:
"Wow. My mind is blown. This is potentially the best customer service I have ever experienced."
For instance, if a customer is having problem getting “started” (whatever that may mean for your product) and is stuck on step 3, after solving their problem, ask if you can be assistance on step 4.
This form of “social sensitivity”—or understanding of how others feel—can be a great asset in predicting where customers may run into trouble next, so you can swoop in and help them before it happens.
5. Sweat the Small Stuff
In many ways, great customer service really is just about sweating the details. It’s been proven that “even a dime can make a difference” in reciprocity. People respond with goodwill for even the smallest acts of kindness.
Consider this tale:
When a woman in the store lost the diamond from her wedding ring, she became distraught and began crawling around on the ground looking for the ring. A Nordstrom employee saw her crawling under the clothing racks. Once he found out what was wrong, he immediately got on his hands and knees and joined the search!
When the duo came up empty-handed in the search for the ring, the employee asked for assistance from two building service workers. Together, they sifted through vacuum bags until they found the diamond mixed in with dust and dirt.
Try to “default to yes” for small, reasonable requests that customers make, most of which are sincere and simply looking for a helping hand.
6. Go Beyond “Help” Content
I’ve always thought the term content marketing was a bit odd, given that the “marketing” part of the equation really just comes from helping customers. In that sense, relationship marketing, through the act of building relationships with customers by being genuinely useful, seems far more relevant.
The problem is that many companies stop at help content and FAQs alone, forgetting that all content is marketing. What this means is that helping people solve their problems decreases the likelihood that they’ll “date around.”
You’re actually seeing an example of this in action right now! The CodeCarrot Blog regularly delivers great ecommerce related content to their current and prospective customers, all of which goes hand in hand with the web and mobile application development service we provide.
Let’s say you own a local shop that sells eatable items. How cool would it be to hold regular events where you bring in experts to talk about ingredients and health related issues? The more educated your customers become, the more they will appreciate what you sell, thus the more valuable they are to your business.
Great information not only educates, it motivates.
This is often even more apparent for online businesses. You can use your blog, webinars, whitepapers and free coaching to help people make the most of your product or service.
Help customers get better at doing what they do, and help them understand how your service can become a key component of improving. In the age of the web, education can be used to take the place of promotion in winning over customers.
7. Stop Customer Complaints before they Happen
No one wants to hear bad news. Especially if it’s a customer complaint
But what if you could stop customer complaints before they happen? No, we’re not suggesting you break out the Ouija board just yet.
All it actually takes is a little empathy and foresight.
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