You already know this in your heart, but it always bears repeating…
Good customer service is a CRITICAL part of any successful business strategy.
Most sustainable, long-term businesses rely on repeat customers, so it goes without saying that you need to know how to make your customers happy and successful. After all, why would you ever go back to a business that left you with a bad taste in your mouth? Unless, of course, they were the only option around and it was critical to your life.
But most of your competitors know this too. And, while there are exceptions, they already spend time making sure they deliver on customer expectations.
Does this mean there's no way to compete in your market based on customer service?
The key word is ‘expectations'. Most of your competitors are only focused on ‘good' customer service and delivering on promises.
The difference between good customer service and experiences that ‘wow' your customer is relatively simple – customer service is typically focused on resolving a short-term situation or delivering on a promise. Customer experiences are centered on an evolving personal relationship between you and your customer.
So what does it take to WOW your customers?
At the most basic level, creating ‘wow' experiences involves going the extra mile to give them more than they expected. This could be adding an extra surprise gift to an order they’ve made, or offering them a free extra service or advice that will help them get better results than they imagined. Investing time and money into developing a customer experience strategy promises to enhance customer relations and profits on a significant scale in the long run.
But what if you don’t have the budget to invest in free gifts, extra services, complex technology, or other fancy solutions right now?
Luckily, you don't have to spend much to deliver something unexpected for your customers. Most businesses have still set the bar too low on service, so it can be very easy and inexpensive to stand out.
Some of our favorite budget-friendly ways to create Wow experiences for customers include:
1. Personalize the Experience
Although personalization might take a little effort, it’s a great way to deal with your higher profile clients. Find out things about your customers and incorporate what you know into their experience with you.
Social media makes this easy. Do a little research into your high-value customers' profiles. What are their hobbies and interests? Do they have any important dates coming up, like a birthday or anniversary? Did they go on an interesting vacation recently?
You can also gather data either when they first buy from you or in periodic questionnaires and surveys.
Armed with this valuable information you can reach out with a quick follow-up email that includes a little more than they might expect, a birthday card, or a link to an article you think they might enjoy.
2. Say Thank You
One of the most powerful phrases in any language is ‘thank you'. And yet, how often have you received a personal thank-you from a business?
I'm not talking about the standard reply after a purchase. Sending an automated email when someone buys a product or service is generally expected. However, a personalized note with tips on how you might get the most value from what you've purchased, based on your own situation, is extremely rare. Or even any content beyond an email that simply expresses gratitude for their patronage will go a long way in reaffirming your customer's decision to purchase from you.
3. Get on the Phone
When was the last time a company gave you a call to see if they could help you with something you purchased? Ok, so maybe you don't answer the phone when you don't recognize the number. But how would you feel if you got a voicemail message just saying thanks and letting you know they can help you get started?
Going even further than a personalized note, a phone call shows that you genuinely care enough about your customer's experience to open a direct line of contact. It's usually completely unexpected. This is also an excellent opportunity to get valuable feedback from your customer, which you can then incorporate into further improvements in your products and services.
It’s also a great moment to find out a little more personal information about your client and their challenges and needs. That's all priceless information you can use in future interactions with them. They’ll be wowed by the attention to detail and heart-felt concern for their success.
4. Just Do What You Said You’ll Do
Why would I even need to put this in print? Doing what you said you'll do is the most basic principle of customer service…. yet it's still often overlooked as a top priority.
Delivering what you promised starts with making your promises clear. If your terms are a little vague or difficult to understand, customers might not get what they were hoping to from their experience with you.
That can be catastrophic.
You can not only avoid this situation, but ‘wow' your customers at the same time by testing buyer experiences. Ask friends and family to run through the purchase process with you, and pinpoint any parts that might not be quite clear or easy to grasp. Then ask your own customers to point out what's confusing.
When you immediately act on their feedback and let all your customers know what you've done to make their experience easier to understand, you create a ‘wow' moment.
5. Offer Something They Didn’t Know They Needed
Armed with the personal information you have about your customer, take a moment to think about what else you can offer that speaks directly to their needs. Or what do they need to achieve greater success… that they didn't realize was an option?
Think about products and services that complement what they've already purchased, next-level strategies that will help them grow, or ways you can save them more time and money.
Your next step is to present this offer to them without sounding too promotional. This strategy is best used once you’ve established a good, trust-based relationship with the customer and have already shown your value.
Although investing money into developing an extraordinary customer experience can have a high return on investment, it’s not the only way to make it happen. If you’re just starting out and want to wow customers to get an edge on your competition, try some of the easier, quick methods. Or, if you’re looking to take your customer experience to the next level but don’t quite have the budget, brainstorm more ways and means to go the extra mile without breaking the bank.
We’ve put together a list of ideas for creating wow experiences for customers that don’t involve any extra investment other than some time here and there. Use it to take your reputation from ‘good’ to exceptional in the eyes of your customers.
Just click on the box below to request your cheat sheet of 20 Ways to Wow Your Customers… For Free:
Finally, if you'd like to teach your own clients how to WOW their customers, business partners, and employees, check out Above and Beyond.
You'll get all the materials you need to teach your clients, step-by-step, how to impress and develop relationships with the most important people associated with their business – not just customers.
All you have to do is download the content, customize it to fit your market and your voice, and then share or sell it to prospects and clients.
And have fun with it!