“Provide an experience that is useful, usable, desirable, and differentiated, and you will create demand for your brand, and delight your customers.” – David Armano
For a business to survive it requires a customer base that stays. We know that most businesses get at least 80% of their revenue from only 20% of their customers, which means that this small portion of customers must provide repeat business. Recurring business from customers is what enables a company to grow and remain sustainable. However, for customers to keep coming back they must feel good about associating with a company, and every interaction must be pleasant and delightful. Does your company know what it takes to delight your customers? Do customers seem enthusiastic about being with your company? If not, then your business could be in trouble soon. It does not suffice to put in place a CRM system and collect data – your company must understand how to use that information to put in place strategies to provide the kind of service and products that your customers want and expect.
Being able to delight your customers, and turn them to repeat loyal ones is not that complicated. It does however, take time and relentless effort to delight and surprise customers that would create positive feelings for your company. It is great that customers would want a company’s products and services, because they get it at a competitive price and delivered in a timely fashion. However, this alone does not ensure that customers have meaningful experiences with a company. Consistently delightful experiences, as mentioned, require time, planning, structured approach, and effort, which most often seem out of the reach of most companies – either because they do not want to, or have no idea how. We know now that customer service is the responsibility of everyone in the company, and each person should know what it means and how to delight your customers with every interaction. Customers are not easily pleased or delighted, so you would know when they are.
One of most obvious ways to delight your customers (or anyone actually) is to give them what they do not expect, simply because you may never have done something so nice for them before. Personalized experiences, customized gifts, anything that reflects thoughtfulness and pure effort on the part of a company to make customers go ‘wow’ is what is required – consistently. The key word here is consistency – one offs or erratic service does not count, and neither would they serve to delight your customers.
We have repeatedly mentioned that customer love to talk and express their views. A company must afford them the opportunity to share information about themselves, knowing that you would not only take positive action but also keep their data safe and secure. In order to delight your customers, ensure that your company follows up the information provided with action. Pick up one particular aspect of the information, and show customers that your company has actually taken time to learn about them. For example – if the customer seems to love dogs, send them information such as new products for dogs, links to events or shops near them, and other such related material. You could maybe send them actual samples or gifts for their beloved pet.
In order to delight your customers, make what is important for them, focal for you as well. This could be important dates, events, occasions – remember them, and surprise your customer with a gift, a greeting, or even splash it across your social media pages. Customers will know that you have been listening to them intently, that you are working hard at the association, and you are making genuine efforts to keep them as customers. Adding to this point is the fact that customers love being given importance and priority. Customers expect that their repeat business would be valuable to a company, and it should be. It would help to keep customers informed about upcoming launches, sales, products or services that would be suited to their needs, and refer your customer’s company and their offerings to others.
Being able to delight your customers is also about keeping a look out for their best interests even if it means incurring some short-term expenses or losses. Ensure that every suggestion and or complaint the customer makes is given priority, and your company does whatever possible to resolve any problems or disagreements. This would be true even if the issue occurs because of the customer’s error – gestures such as these may not seem beneficial, but in the long term, they build appreciation and a loyal fan base of customers.
Delight your customers by being open to suggestions, complaints, and feedback. There would be times when customers may be frustrated with some issue or another, enough to bring it the notice of your company. It would be essential to listen attentively, show personal attention, never treat the complaint or issue as ordinary or not important, and ask a number of questions to ascertain the root cause of the problem. In addition, your company could ask the customer what they believe would be the ideal solution – and implement it if feasible. Ensure that you let customers know the steps you plan to take in order to fix the problem, and let them know when you have been able to resolve it. Again, none of this is easy to do – it requires dedication, customer focus, and passion to delight your customers.
As mentioned above, customers share information and data about themselves in the belief that a company would keep it safe and respect their privacy. The control of how to use this data however, should remain with customers – they should be able to decide how much information they wish to divulge, and opt out if they do not wish to share anymore. When a company places control in the hands of customers, they are more likely to trust the company over time, and be less apprehensive of sharing personal information.
The mistake that most companies make is keeping customers away from their employees, and their work places. In order for customers to know your company better, afford them with opportunities to meet the employees, see how the company functions, what a typical day in the office is, let them have lunch or a hot beverage in the company’s meal room, and other such activities. The better customers get to know your company, the greater would their appreciation be of the efforts, you make for them, and they would be more inclined to understand your company’s challenges. The fact is that customers want to understand the culture and work environment of a company – these factors have a direct bearing on their association with the company. By affording them with the opportunity, the association becomes a strong relationship, which in turn translates to repeat business and customer loyalty.
It would be great if your company were to get ideas to delight your customers, directly from customers. Ask them what more they would want, and what great things your company may be currently doing in order to keep them coming back. Check with them if your company makes them feel valued and important, and whether their concerns are worked upon promptly and efficiently. The fact is that it does cost a lot more and takes a significantly additional amount of effort to gain more customers, than it does to retain existing ones. When you delight your customers who are already with your company, not only does your company secure repeat business from them, but these customers are sure to spread positive word of mouth, thereby encouraging others to provide business as well. Bottom line – delight your customers, and gain a world of advantages for your business, which would otherwise not be possible.