Are you doing a good job to wow your customers? When you wow your customers, something beyond simply satisfying them, you can maintain long-term relationships and generate positive word-of-mouth that helps build profits and sustain your growth. A golden rule is to never over-promise and make sure they feel how much you care about them. Here are some simple and effective tips to wow your customers.
As you can see in the graphic above, a few key changes and you can create a positive customer experience that translates into higher sales.
5 ways to wow your customer
First, let’s discuss customer satisfaction/ dissatisfaction. This is an old paradigm in marketing, one I personally think is overly simplified. According to this marketing concept, satisfaction results from meeting expectations and dissatisfaction represents a gap between expectations and delivery. There are lots of problems with this concept, not the least of which is that analyzing data using the concept violates the concept of data normality that underpins statistical analysis techniques. I recognize this is an overly technical argument for many of you but you can check out the links if you want a better understanding of this problem with evaluation of satisfaction using this paradigm.
A newer paradigm emerged, one that includes customer delight as the result of a situation where customers are beyond satisfied as the delivery exceeded their expectations. If you look at the combined concepts from a graphical perspective, you get something that looks like this:
The outcome of delight is posited as loyalty and likely recommendations, while satisfied customers are vulnerable to poaching by the competition and dissatisfied customers not only defect to the competition but tell others about their dissatisfaction, resulting in poisoning the well when trying to convert their who already heard negative things about your brand.
When we talk about ways to wow your customers, we need to start with creating satisfaction and then move beyond satisfaction to create delight. With that understanding, let’s move on to our discussion about wowing your customer.
How to create customer satisfaction
Returning to our definition of customer satisfaction as meeting expectations, you create customer satisfaction by understanding customer expectations and then setting up a process to meet those expectations consistently. So, let’s turn our attention to what customers expect from your brand.
- Specific performance. For instance, they expect a meal to be tasty and provide value, they expect a garment to look good. Hence, the measures of performance are idiosyncratic depending on the type of product.
- Solve a problem. Customers don’t buy products, they buy solutions. Does your product solve the problem facing customers? Do you provide tools to help customers use the product to effectively solve their problem, such as recipes to help them use your ingredient to create great food or videos showing how to use your product
- Value. That doesn’t mean your product is the cheapest but that it provides value; defined as an excess of benefit over costs, including not only price paid but convenience and other costs.
- Durability. Most products have an expectation of how long the product lasts and its useful life in solving the problem at hand. For instance, we expect the garment to look good over a number of washings.
- Consistency. Customers want products that are the same over time. Hence, McDonald’s might not provide the best meal out there, but it’s consistent regardless of where or when you buy the meal.
- Responsiveness. Customers expect companies to respond quickly to their questions and complaints.
- Truthfulness. We want companies to share accurate and complete information and for the product to match that information.
Again, these are minimum standards for meeting customer expectations and won’t necessarily wow your customers. However, if you don’t meet these minimums, you can’t hope to wow them. We call these necessary but not sufficient performance.
How to wow your customers
Make the experience fun and fulfilling
Delivering a satisfying experience with a little extra fun can set the stage to wow your customer. Here are some things to consider:
- Make a semi-formal appointment and provide food such as lunch catering, snacks, or drinks.
- In a retail environment, use music, lighting, or other elements to create a fun place to hang out. For instance, when bookstores like Barnes and Noble first introduced cafes that allowed patrons to read while they sipped a drink, experts predicted the concept would fail miserably as patrons would clog up the store reading rather than buying. Of course, we know that providing something more fulfilling meant success at least until digital buying overtook the concept.
- Focus social media posts on entertainment rather than promotion.
- Hire and train your staff to not only help customers but to build relationships with them.
Always deliver on your promises
This is the golden rule of meeting expectations, but unfortunately, far too many still do it. Never overstate what you can do. If you cannot meet a client’s demands, be honest about it. This doesn’t mean you can’t get the job done. You can work with the client to achieve success eventually. But this means you can deliver what you said you would. It would spell reputational and professional disaster to have a client believe you could do a job that you ultimately cannot.
If you promise delivery within three days, make sure you can meet that schedule every time. If you promise an appliance costs $X to operate, ensure you explicitly state your assumption as to the energy costs used in this calculation as energy costs vary.
Wow your customers by going above and beyond
Don’t just focus on delivering results, you’ll wow your customers if you go beyond their expectations. This can be as small as a newcomer discount or a free gift included in their first shipment, although this might generate dissatisfaction when the gift or discount isn’t repeated. Better to provide something a little extra on a sporadic basis.
Treat customers like people
Customers want to be treated as people not simply numbers on your spreadsheet. The entire business model of Salesforce is to allow businesses to build and maintain relationships with their customers and prospects. Recognize their birthdays and anniversaries with a quick email, for instance. Or, segment your mailing list so the messages you send are personalized not only with their name but show you know more about them, such as when they last purchased from you or what types of products you find interesting.
Amazon attempts to do this but their database fails in many respects by sending emails about deals on durable products I already purchased from them or showing me options for purchases I already made.
Always show gratitude after every interaction
Thanking customers and clients costs nothing and has a major impact. For instance, I once ordered from my favorite clothing store because they didn’t have my size in stock. The product arrived along with a handwritten note thanking me and sharing their hope that I enjoyed the item. All correspondence should begin and end with thanks. This is polite and demonstrates good business.
But you can also show gratitude towards clients that contribute significantly to your success with gestures such as dinner invitations, tickets to industry events, and exclusive access to upcoming services and products. Yet you can also simply go out of your way to thank someone just for leaving a positive review of your products or saying something about you on their social media platforms.
Respond quickly to questions and complaints
It’s really hard to avoid making a mistake and failing to make customers happy, especially in service businesses where uncontrollable can interfere with your service delivery. The key is how quickly you respond when a customer has a problem or question. The faster you act, the less damage results. In fact, you can actually wow your customer when you recover quickly from a failure.
An often-cited example involves Club Med. The company contracted with an airline to offer a package of hotel and transportation. The transportation part of this promise was a disaster with late take-off, too few meals onboard, and weather delays en route. Passengers were in revolt and lawyers onboard were planning a class action lawsuit. Word reached the manager who was empowered to solve the problem. He arranged for a band and buffet to meet passengers as they disembarked turning the airport into a party. He then arranged for limos rather than taxis to deliver the passengers to the property, where another party awaited them. Many guests reported that this was their best vacation ever. Hence, customers were wowed rather than filing costly lawsuits.
You can and must wow clients to reap the benefits of your business. Make customers feel appreciated, go beyond what you promised, and always show appreciation for their custom.
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