20 Ways To Make Customers Feel Really Special
I shopped at a shoe store recently and the experience was amazing! It wasn’t the fact that I absolutely love shoes and they had a totally adorable collection ( maybe that was part of it…😉).
I left there smiling and happy with my purchase and wondered when next I’d need to shop for shoes so I’d have an excuse to go back there.
The shoe store had a certain quality, something I can’t quite put my finger on. What I remember vividly, is the fact that I felt like a VIP when I shopped there and that added significantly to the magical quality of my shopping experience.
I’ve encountered only a few businesses like this and looking back, I’ve come to realize that what distinguishes them is their customer service. Customers are the lifeline of any business. Without them, your business wouldn’t exist, would it? Building a successful business entails gaining and keeping customers.
There’s no better way to do this than to make them feel valued and special every time they have dealings with your business. Now, there’s more to this than just being polite to your customers and meeting their expectations – that’s just basic customer service. There are many ways to do this; some ways better than others.
So don’t shy away from the challenge ahead. When your customers see things moving in the right direction, it’ll go a long way for them. You don’t want to become another uncaring company that doesn’t prioritize its customers’ needs.
Here, I’ve listed a few of my favourite tips to upgrade your customer service. Trust me, they’re time-efficient, effortless and they work every time. Ready? Let’s go!
1. If You Make Promises, Keep Them
If you’re making promises to your customers, you better make sure that you keep them. The easiest ways to disappoint and alienate your customers is to make promises to them that you fail to keep.
It’s not the way you should deal with your customers and it’s not a way to build a loyal customer base either. You should always be honest with people and only promise things if you’re confident of being able to follow through and deliver.
2. Work to Solve Their Problems
When they have a problem, you should work to make sure that your customers’ issues are fixed. If you don’t address these problems directly, people will feel like you don’t really care and that you’re not really interested in taking their problems seriously.
That’s exactly the kind of situation you want to avoid. Good customer experience involves you working to put things right when things go wrong for a customer. It’s simple but many companies get it wrong.
3. Be Positive
Being positive and proactive is something that customers love. They’ll appreciate you reaching out and offering them new deals and things like that. Try to make sure that you have positive communications with people on social media too.
It’s a mistake to only talk to customers when they have a problem because that means that all of the communications you have with them will be negative to some extent or another, which isn’t ideal.
4. Go the Extra Mile
Going the extra mile is something your business can do relatively easily, and it makes a real difference. People like to know that your business is willing to do more for them and to ensure their customer experience is as good as it could possibly be.
It’s about doing a little more because even small steps that make things easier or better for your customers will be appreciated. A little selflessness always goes a long way because your customers recognize you’re doing things that you don’t have to.
5. Say thank you
It seems basic, right? But then, it’s not about saying the polite, mechanical thank you that usually accompanies the end of a successful transaction. It’s about seeking out inventive ways to genuinely appreciate your customers for choosing to do business with you.
Thank them by occasionally sending a handwritten thank you note addressed specifically to them after a sale.
A note of caution though; there’s no need for overkill. The key here is to be authentic. You don’t want to come across as fake. Let your gestures stem from genuine appreciation; your customers will notice and feel valued.
6. Give gifts
Give each of your customer thoughtful gifts when the occasion demands it. For instance, back to school gifts (such as water bottles) will be appreciated by a mother who has young children.
A gift coupon for a bridal shop would wow a soon-to-be-married lady. You get the point, right?
Send gift cards during holidays and times when they celebrate. You could also offer coupons or discounts for their next purchase.
7. Show respect
Situations arise when business dealings become tense and tempers start flying. Not all relations with your customers will be pleasant. In fact, expect the occasional customer abuse. The best thing way to handle situations like this during a retail experience is with tact and diplomacy.
When customers get grumpy, you should get all the more pleasant no matter how hard (or annoying)it is. If your customer seems to be in a foul mood, that’s all the more reason to stay upbeat and make sure the whole transaction is as hassle-free as possible.
The customer isn’t always right, but they remain the customer. Ensure that your employees are capable of managing any clumsy customer situation. Great customer service is all about treating people well, even when they don’t deserve it. Seek first to empathize with your customer before addressing a complaint. Remember; tact, politeness, a bit of patience and a lot of smiling do the trick!
8. Address them by their names
Don’t you just love it when someone you met once remembers your name the next time you meet? How much more your customers, they’re people too. Make an effort to learn and remember their names and if they’re comfortable with it, address them by their first names.
Beyond this, be genuinely interested in them. Ask about their wellbeing, their family, their jobs and the likes. The next time they come, include what they told you the last time in your conversation. Trust me; they’ll feel really special.
9. Be professional
As good as it is to add personal touches to your dealings with customers, overdoing it can be counterproductive. There are boundaries – both on the customer’s and your side – and it’s a good thing not to cross or push them. Avoid the mistake of being over-familiar.
For instance, don’t ask personal questions or probe into their personal life. Don’t address them by their first names if they’re not comfortable with it. Also, don’t be overly aggressive in your approach to advertising.
Don’t pounce on them and overwhelm them with offers or deals the moment they set foot in your store. If your business is an online one, don’t bombard prospective customers with emails or calls. That can actually turn them off. If they feel pressured to buy from you, they’ll turn the other way. Keep it brisk, professional and personal without being pushy.
10. Pay attention to inquiries
Your customers will use different channels to communicate with your business. Leaving their inquiries unanswered or giving late responses are a no-no. Respond to their inquiries as soon as possible.
In fact, make your response policy; ‘right away!’. To do this effectively, choose a primary channel for non-physical customer service (such as email or various social media platforms).
Decide on times when you’ll be available and post it on your profile. Assign staff to monitor and deal with inquiries promptly. Remember that your customers will also communicate with you through anyway so don’t ignore other channels. Regularly monitor conversations about your business on other platforms.
11. Be presentable
It’s a fact that your customers base their judgment of your business on the front you present to them. Needless to say, you always have to be presentable; to old and new customers alike.
Keep your store or workspace attractive, clean and tidy. Keep clutter to the minimum and ensure that your products are arranged in a logical order. A little indoor decoration wouldn’t hurt. Choose suitable colors for your walls.
Invest in the right lighting, music, furniture, adornments; anything that’ll make your store cozy and entice your customers to stay longer and shop more. If you have a storefront, ensure it looks clean and inviting. If your business is online, ensure your website is easy to use and regularly updated. Don’t make the mistakes many websites do.
Is something new happening to your business? Do you have a new range of products or services to offer? Inform your customers! Keep them in the loop of everything that happens in your business as it relates to them. If there’s a sale or promotional offer coming up, send them emails or newsletters that include all the necessary information.
If there’s a change in your business policy that affects them, let them know too! Keeping customers updated about your business not only makes them feel special, but it’ll also help your business stay strong in their memory.
13. Treat your employees well
As much as you want to impress your customers, your employees also have to be catered to. Your team can make or break your business. A great and happy team makes a successful business. So, treat your employees well. They’re as important to your business as your customers.
Provide unique incentives (such as free meals, free health services, gift packs during holidays, discounts on products for them and other exceptional benefits) that’ll encourage them to put their best into working for you. Be genuinely interested in their well being and productivity as individuals.
Acknowledge and appreciate them for a job well done. The end here is that they’ll feel happy working with you and that will translate into them having positive relations with your customers even when you’re not around. Plus, happy employees signal to your customers that your business is one worth patronizing. If you treat your employees well, they’ll, in turn, see to your business’s success and profitability.
14. Be accountable
Mistakes are inevitable and things don’t always go as you planned them. No matter how good you are in your business or chosen field, everything can’t go perfectly. So, when you make a bad call (as you will…we’re all human), own up immediately.
Be honest and forthright and don’t attempt to shift the blame. Apologize professionally, leave no room for excuses and identify ways you can improve in subsequent situations.
People will then know that you’re looking to move things in a positive direction and take into account the experiences of the customers. It’s definitely a positive move to make. Every business needs to keep hold of its customers; otherwise, the business won’t be around for very long.
15. Seek to understand
The basic elements of empathy and understanding are the key tools you need to employ in dealing with customers (whether you or the customer is ‘right’ or ‘wrong’.) Move beyond who or what is right or wrong and genuinely seek to understand your customers.
Put yourself in their shoes (literally) when handling complaints and try to understand their point of view. Don’t dwell on if there’s a basis for complaints or if they’re ‘hard to please’. Simply listen, understand, empathize and handle professionally.
16. Reflect great company values
Ask yourself what you’d want your current customers to say about your business to potential customers. There’s no better way to set the tone of your reputation than choosing a set of core values for your business and sticking to them daily – in decisions, activities, etc.
Honesty, Integrity, social responsibility, and excellence are values that every customer will want to be associated with. Even better, these values set the standard of conduct and production for your company will ultimately help your company stand the test of time.
17. Never sacrifice quality for quantity
Don’t give up quality products or services in your desire for growth, expansion or a bigger profit margin. It’s better to offer quality at affordable prices than the other way round. And if your goal is expansion, aim towards a steady, sustainable growth that will eventually lead to a healthy business.
Remember that your business’s product and services go a long way in determining your reputation, brand image and in the long run, customer service. So do your best to keep the quality of your products top-notch. This will, at the end of the day, translate into happy customers.
18. Be Available to Talk
If your customers have a problem, they’re going to want to be able to talk to you. That’s why you need to be available to talk at all times. If you’re not, people are going to feel ignored and abandoned by your company.
This is obviously not a good thing. It might be a good idea to hire professional receptionists so that you can be sure that your customer’s attempts at contacting you never fail. It can make life easier for you and better for your customers.
Your customers want to know that you genuinely care about the experience they receive and that’s why you need to do more to prove that you’re taking steps to improve the customer experience.
19. Keep Working to Improve
Simply wanting to improve might not sound all that significant, but it’s surprising just how many people allow their business to stand still and stagnate. And when a business stagnates, the customer experience does too.
Instead, push to improve and ensure your business is always trying to make your customers happy in a variety of different ways, using a lot of techniques. The harder you work to improve things, the more your customers will notice this.
When your customers can see that you really care about their experience, they’ll be happier to stay loyal to your brand. People want to feel like they’re being listened to and their problems are being dealt with. If your business can make the changes discussed above, your customers will know you care about their experience.
20. Ask for Their Feedback and Act on It
A great way to show your customers that you care about their thoughts and feelings is to ask for their feedback. Ask them how you’re doing and what they think your business could do better in order to improve the customer experience.
Your business caters to your customers, right? So, who would be better to give you feedback if not them? Updating your products and services in accordance with your customers’ tastes is another way to make them feel valued.
It sends a strong message to them that their opinions matter to your business. Ask for feedback or ratings on new and old products. Collect bits and pieces of information about your customers that’ll help you create better products or services for them. When you do get feedback, don’t let it go to waste. Employ it in improving your products.
In conclusion, recognizing that your customers or clientele base are a super important factor in your business is key. It’s an attitude that says ‘Customer is King’ and should be treated as one. It’s a mindset that will have a positive impact on the success of your business. Putting in the effort to go above and beyond in your customer service will bring amazing rewards to your business.
Creating a great customer service system doesn’t necessarily have to be time and effort consuming neither does it have to involve complicated social media manoeuvring. This is about adding a bit of zing and zest to the way you treat your customers.
Making a conscious effort to provide top-notch customer service has amazing benefits. You gain loyal customers when you make your customers feel valued and engage them on a personal level. You also gain referrals through positive word of mouth, not to mention the fact that your business will have a sterling reputation.
What to do next: Review these customer service tips carefully.
- Which ones do you already employ in your business?
- How effective are they?
- How can you improve on them?
Pick one tip that caught your attention and find ways to implement it in your business today.
Fantastic customer service all boils down to this; your customers are people and you’ve got to treat them in the finest way possible. Nothing beats that.