In today’s global marketplace, customers can shop anywhere to get what they want. They can do business next door or around the world. That’s why it’s important to get an edge on your competition. One way to do that is to create an experience that leaves customers super-satisfied and coming back for more. What can you do to stand out from other companies? It’s not as hard as you might think. Use these tactics and you’ll see a huge payoff with your customers.
I know what you’re thinking. “Thanks, Chris. Now tell me something I don’t know.” This seems like a no-brainer, right? But listening is a whole lot different than hearing. My boys hear me all the time, but they listen only when they want to! When you listen, you give your undivided attention. You’re not thinking about five other people you need to help, the phone calls you need to make, or the text that just buzzed on your cell phone in your pocket. Your customers can tell when you’re engaged—and when you’re not. Don’t let them think they’re just another problem to deal with. And for heaven’s sake, never ever check your cell phone while you’re with clients!
Do what you can to make your customers feel like you know them and not just their account numbers. Personalize emails and snail mail. Send thoughtful gifts to big clients based on their likes (cigars, golf balls, flowers, etc.). Mail birthday cards or sympathy cards. One veterinarian texts their furry friends (their human owners) on their birthday. A chiropractor in my area gives vouchers for free adjustment as a way to celebrate important events. How could you make your business more personal? If you listen to customers and learn what they value, you’ll find your answer.
3. Go above and beyond
This step involves listening and personalizing, but it also means exceeding your customers’ expectations. Give free extras with purchase—stuff they’d like, not cheesy crap. Make a follow-up phone call after you help a client. If you can’t give customers what they need, suggest trusted businesses you’d use. Stay after hours. Offer an emergency contact number. You get the idea.
4. Follow the Golden Rule
You probably heard that rule growing up—treat others the way you’d like to be treated. This idea doesn’t just apply to the playground or the middle school cafeteria. It can make the difference between a one-time customer and a loyal one. Seriously, how would you want to be treated? What ticks you off as a consumer? Do you want to be treated as an annoyance? Or do you like working with someone who enjoys helping you?
Rising above the level of your competition doesn’t have to cost you thousands of dollars on a marketing campaign. You don’t need to spend money you don’t have on space and decor that make you look trendy and cool. Instead, sacrifice the time to give your customers what they want—and a little more. The higher their satisfaction level, the more they’ll love you!