Guest post by Lara Braithwaite of Bella Puzzles.
When you exceed a customer’s expectations you are delivering what they purchased and more. Exceptional services or products are rarely forgotten. Here are six ways to make your customer’s experience with your business both exceptional and memorable.
1. Be thoughtful. Provide a pleasant, easily navigable shopping experience. Chances are you hear the same questions over and over again from potential customers.
These questions point to issues your site is not addressing as well as it could.
>Take action: Review a month’s worth of your correspondence with customers. Make a list of their questions. Figure out how your website or shop policies can better answer the three questions that are the most frequently asked.
2. Be impeccable with your words. Provide accurate product or service descriptions, and only make promises you can keep. You are better off under promising and over delivering than vice versa.
(Consider the example of shipping. “Ships within 24 hours” sounds impressive, but if you have trouble meeting that promise 1 time out of 10, you end up with one-tenth of your customers unhappy. You don’t need to change anything except your description of your shipping policy. If it’s “ships within 48-72 hours” but you are still shipping within 24 hours 9 times out of 10, you’ve given yourself a chance to impress 9 customers. And the tenth customer still gets their package exactly when they expected it, so they’re pleased too.)
>Take action: Identify at least one promise (real or implied) that you are making to your customers that you might not be living up to every time. Rewrite it so you can exceed the promise 9 times out of 10.
3. Be polite. Your customers enjoy hearing their own names, and they like to hear “please” and “thank you” as much as you do.
It’s free to provide service with good manners, and you are grateful for their business, aren’t you? Say so with your actions and your words. Over and over and over.
Do this every day with every customer.
4. Be accountable. If you make a mistake, admit it, apologize, and make it up to the customer.
A refund is less expensive – both financially and emotionally - than bad press from an unhappy customer.
>Take action: Recall the best experience you’ve ever had returning something you bought. Make a list of things the vendor did to make that experience a good one. Can you implement any of these in your business?
5. Be accessible. Make it easy to contact you. Use your full name. Respond promptly to all emails or calls from customers. Listen to and respond to what customers are asking or saying about your business.
>Take action: Add your full name and email address to your Facebook page, Twitter profile, Etsy shop, and website.
6. Be generous. Reward your clients with unexpected benefits. This could be a small gift added to the purchase, or a coupon for their next shopping experience with you.
>Take action: Make a list of three possible rewards you could share with your customers.
I hope you’ll act on at least one of these items today. Please share the steps you took in the comments below. I wish you much success.