Most companies work hard to satisfy their customers. To that end, they treat the customer like royalty throughout the buying process. Some even actively ask for feedback or do customer satisfaction surveys to measure satisfaction after the sale. But is mere satisfaction enough? While customer satisfaction is certainly a worthy goal, it falls short of what's possible, and profitable, in today's world. To that end, companies must go beyond just satisfying the customer through the sales process, to making the overall relationship meaningful and memorable. That's how you delight your customers and keep them coming back. Here are 10 ideas on how to create meaningful memories that will keep your customers loyal to your brand:
1. Include a Little Gift
Nothing delights customers like receiving an unexpected gift with their purchase. It doesn't need to be expensive, but should be of value - like a dollars off coupon or free e-book. Whatever it is, just make sure it's desirable, valuable and tasteful. The important thing is that it be completely unexpected, which means you don't advertise it. This should be a token of gratitude for their purchase, not an enticement to buy.
2. Send Hand-written Thank You Notes
Before you poo-poo this idea as an outdated twentieth century practice, consider this: If something is new to your customer, it's new! The fact that no one sends thank you notes via snail-mail anymore is precisely the reason you should start doing it. But don't stop there with this 'new' idea. Get creative by designing your own thank you cards in MS Word or whatever program you use.
3. Follow, Share, and Retweet
Everyone knows the value of social media as a marketing tool. To that end, companies work hard to get customers to follow them on social media and share their content. But how about asking your customers for their Twitter handle or Facebook page link so you can follow them? And how about sharing and retweeting some of their content? How much more likely are they to follow you and share your content if you take the first step?
4. Remember Important Dates
Every customer has at least one date that's important to them. For individual consumers, it might be a birthday or wedding anniversary. For a business, it might be the date they started in business or expanded to a larger location. Virtually every customer has at least one day in the year that's important to them. Find out what that date is, and remember it with a gift or card.
5. Check In From Time To Time
Make it a practice to periodically follow-up with customers just to see how they're doing with the item they bought, and whether they have any questions or concerns. Do not use this call to upsell them or ask for referrals. If you're truly delighting customers, they'll initiate upsells and provide referrals on their own.
6. Apologize, and Mean It
No one is perfect, and few customers actually expect you to be. But customers do get annoyed - sometimes justly, sometimes not. But that doesn't matter. That old adage that 'the customer is always right' is true. After all, perception is reality. The good news is a sincere apology and commitment to resolve an issue can turn even the most irate customer into a happy one.
7. Empower Your Employees
There will always be times when a customer has problems with something they bought from you. When this happens, enable your employees to quickly resolve the problem without having to run it up the chain of command. Whether that means repairing the product, replacing it, or issuing a full refund, empowering your staff will work wonders in turning a potentially dissatisfied customer into a raving fan.
8. Solicit Customer Ideas
Smart companies are always looking for ways to improve their products. Your base of current users is a great source of ideas on how to do that. After a customer has used your product for a period of time, contact them and ask how you might improve upon it. Also ask them if they have any tips on how to use the product or if they've discovered any additional uses for it.
9. Provide Continuing Customer Education
Using the information you gathered when you contacted current users (see idea 8), create a forum, blog, or Facebook group page where you post tips on how to use the product and ideas for additional uses for it. This is also a good way to get even more ideas for improving your product.
10. Be Human
Most people's default approach when dealing with a business is serious and matter-of-fact. Yet the interaction is almost always more pleasant and effective when it becomes human-to-human. And that begins with you - the business. So always be enthusiastic, fun, and welcoming when dealing with customers, regardless of their demeanor. Provide a real, warm, human interaction that respects the customer and leaves them happy, satisfied, and educated.
Walt Disney said, “Just do your best work – then try to trump it.” No matter how good you are at delighting your customers, there will always be room for improvement. Hopefully, the ideas outlined here will not only get you started, but spark your own creativity for ideas on how to further delight your customers.
To learn more about how to improve your marketing strategies, give us a call at 661-702-1310!