A remarkable customer experience doesn’t just happen. You have to intentionally create it.
Aside from a great product and superior customer service, a truly memorable experience with a brand includes a certain ‘something extra.’
An unexpected discount. A birthday freebie. A personal touch that’s all but nonexistent in our screen-centric world. It’s these small details that make the interaction with your brand special and turn regular customers into stark raving fans.
Though customer service has taken a backseat to flashy marketing and bottom lines in the past, more brands are beginning to change their thinking on the topic. According to research by Gartner, brands said they were shifting their efforts to compete mostly on the basis of customer experience by 2017.
And it’s no wonder; a delighted customer can do more for your brand than any advertising campaign. Here are our favorite examples of small things your company can do to delight your buyers and turn them into lifelong fans.
Around Christmastime last year, I got an unexpected package in the mail from email provider Mailchimp. I opened it to find an adorable, tie-dyed chimp figurine with a fun little note from the company.
I’d been a Mailchimp user for about a year, but I’m on their lowest tier and certainly not a high-value customer. Who knows, maybe it’s something they send to everyone. But it was a complete surprise, totally adorable and made my day. Here we are months later and I’m still talking about it.
Surprise gifts, even silly small ones like a plastic chimpanzee figurine, can go a long way to creating delight for your customers.
Remember Important Dates
This can be huge, especially if you deal with high-value clients. Things like sending holiday cards, bottles of wine for wedding anniversaries and gift baskets to celebrate milestones are the kinds of things that contribute to lasting business partnerships.
Even a quick email to say ‘happy birthday’ doesn’t go unnoticed and contributes heavily to your likeability factor.
Ask Their Opinion
Everyone wants to feel like their opinion is important. Bring your customers into the fold when making decisions, asking for their feedback on your next move.
You might send an email to all your existing customers saying something like,
‘We’re working on an exciting addition to our services, and we wanted you to be the first to know! We also want to get your opinion: which of these services would you find most beneficial?’
It reminds your customers that their feedback is valuable, and also makes them feel like an ‘insider’ on what’s happening with the brand.
Companies often feel like “untouchable” entities, separate from the rest of us ordinary individuals. Give your brand some personality by Tweeting at your followers and engaging with what they post.
Have you seen the number of likes and retweets brands get when they engage with people?
Spend just five minutes a day interacting with 5 or 10 different followers. It’s a small investment with a big impact.
When you see an article a friend or colleague might like, you probably email it to them or tag them on Facebook. Why not do the same thing for your clients? Keep an eye out for news, insider information, or industry trends that might be beneficial to them, then send it their way.
You’re doing them a favor without asking anything in return, because that’s what friends do. You also let them know that you’re thinking of them. It’s called building value, and it stacks the deck in your favor the next time the person is in need of what you sell or is ready to renew their service contract.
Call Them Personally
I once had to bring my injured cat to the vet, and they had to keep him overnight for treatment. I was distraught and trying not to act like a basket case in the office, but the doctor must have sensed my distress.
Imagine how I felt at 8 o’clock that night when the vet—not one of his techs, but the doctor himself—called me personally to let me know my little buddy was doing just fine. It took a weight off my shoulders and made me feel like he genuinely cared about my pet, even though he sees dozens of animals a day.
They got a five-star review from me on Yelp and Google, tons of word-of-mouth praise, and of course my continued business for years to come. All from a five-minute phone call. You can reach out personally to your customers in the same way.
Go Above and Beyond
What typically happens when a company screws something up? Maybe it’s shipping you the wrong item or losing your order. Whatever the error, most of us feel lucky if we simply get our money back or get the company to do what they were supposed to do in the first place, right?
But why should that be the standard? If you screw up, go above and beyond the bare minimum to turn the situation around. Don’t just “make it right”—turn it into an incredible experience with your brand!
Sadly, customers generally don’t have high expectations in the way of customer service. A small bit of extra effort really stands out and can turn a ticked-off customer into a loyal fan.
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