The modern business thrives on customization and delight. The days where huge, generic customer interaction were successful are gone – if they ever really existed. Customers now expect to have their experience customized, personalized, and treated as the most important thing you’re doing today. So how do you build delight into your customer’s experience?
1. Give your customers priority
When you’re with your customers, be with them. Mute your phone, use good body language to show communication, and give them a chance to speak. Show them that you’re engaged in their experience and that there’s nothing more important than them right now.
If for some reason you do need to step away, provide a reason why, tell them when you’ll return, and then thank them for their patience when you come back. Thank you will get a better response than “I’m sorry.”
2. Show them your hand(writing)
Emails are great, but if you have your customer’s mailing address, you should reach out to them occasionally. Send them a postcard. Have your team include a handwritten note on the bottom of their invoice, even if it just says “Thanks for shopping with us!” Customers get so little snail mail that is for them these days that these little touches can feel huge.
3. Get to the heart of their problem
Take the time to really listen to what your customers are asking for. Listening and understanding your customers is not as easy as it sounds, some might call this a woman’s approach to customers. Customers want to feel heard and understood and successful women proactively listen to their customers' pains and seek to meet their needs.
Even if you can’t solve a customer’s problem, being able to truly and authentically sympathize with what the customer is going through can help keep the professional relationship intact. And by listening closely, you may find that what the customer thought was an unsolvable problem is actually easily resolved.
4. Understand boundaries
It is the age of big data, and every company is looking for a way to capitalize on the huge amount of data they collect from their customers. This can include location, shopping patterns, websites visited before and after yours, and more. While all of this information is collected, businesses need to be careful with how they use this data. Customers like having their experience personalized…to a degree.
After that point, having a business aware of your activities can feel invasive. Everyone expects to see products they recently viewed on a shopping site in their Facebook ads, and that’s fine; suddenly seeing ads featuring their kids’ names is less acceptable.
5. Invite them to be ambassadors
Although customers aren’t particularly likely to share good daily business interactions on their own, they often love the cache of being named a business or brand ambassador. Getting free samples or products just for talking up the company and its services can feel like an incredible deal.
Many companies have increased their reach by partnering with bloggers, vloggers, and more. Make sure you’re reaching out to appropriate size partners; a brand-new company is probably not going to get a successful partnership from an Instagram celeb with millions of followers.
6. Send gifts at unexpected times
At this point, customers are used to coupons and freebies on their birthdays; this part of rewards and loyalty programs is almost expected. But reaching out to customers with truly great gifts at unanticipated times can feel special. If the gift is a coupon, it had better be a good one; our inboxes are full of surprise discounts. But including free samples in orders, for example, can help customers feel valued.
7. Be local
Too often, companies try to be universal. Customers these days want companies to be grounded in their local community. Vermont based companies, for example, might send out maple sugar candies with orders as a gift, while a company located in Florida might include orange scented products.
Companies should also volunteer in their local communities and give to local charities. This helps to cultivate a sense of community, which can improve customer relations both in the area and in the digital community.
8. Share them on social media
You want your customers to retweet you, but how often do you retweet them? If one of your followers makes a great point, RT it – or QT (quote tweet) it, adding something about how John is right on with this comment, for example. This can work on all social media platforms.
9. Celebrate dates
Businesses often collect important dates about their customers in the process of creating accounts. They might know the anniversary of a business opening, a child’s birthday, or the date of a customer’s graduation. Celebrate those big days with them! Send them a sample or full size version of their favorite product, or send a handwritten note to congratulate them on their event.
Delighting customers is a huge part of being a successful modern business. Make sure you’re finding ways to reach out to and connect with your customers on a regular basis.
Margarita Hakobyan is a businesswoman and an entrepreneur that is addicted to creating. As an owner of several businesses she brings a wide range of education and experience including business strategy, business ethics and leadership. Founder and publisher of Solopreneurs, online publication for solopreneurs and small business owners