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An important goal of a good customer experience is to make the customer feel special. That special feeling can come in many different forms. I was reading an article about customer retention, and it prompted me to start a list of ways to make customers feel special, want to come back, and even want to share their experience with friends, family, and colleagues. I'll bet there's an entire book that can be devoted to this topic, but for today we'll keep it to the first few that came to mind. With that, here are five ways to make your customers feel special:

1. Stop selling and start nurturing relationships. Selling is obvious. Building a relationship that fosters confidence, trust and connection is a less obvious sales technique. If every time you contact the customer, be it in person, over the phone, by email, texting, or any other form of communication, and all you do is sell, sell, sell, the customer will tune you out. If you are showing interest in customers outside of their wallets, you're nurturing relationships. The customer experience shouldn't just be a non-stop sales pitch.

2. Provide education. Make your customers smarter. More than just tips on how to be more successful with your products, how can you help them be more successful in their business or life? Provide education that's tied to what you're known for. And don't do it with a sales pitch. This is purely a value-add—one that adds to the customer experience.

3. Offer sneak peeks of your newest products or what's next. Insider access is always a powerful way of making a customer feel special. If you're not a customer, you don't get the "inside information." And this information should be compelling enough to make them want to remain your customer.

4. Make it personal. At least make it appear to be personal. It's easy to send text messages and emails that include a customer's name and other information that make them feel as if the message is personalized, just for them. But that's just the packaging. The true personal approach is to make sure the message is 100% on target for the customer. In other words, if you sell shoes and you know your customer buys running shoes, don't send them messages about golf shoes. The wrong content destroys the personalization effort.

5. And finally, always thank the customer. There are plenty of opportunities to thank the customer. It could be when they place an order, on the invoice, in a follow-up email or thank you note, and more. You can never say thank you enough. Your customers trusted you enough to part with their money. Don't ever let them walk away unappreciated.

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Shep Hyken is a customer service expert, keynote speaker, and New York Times, bestselling business author. For information on The Customer Focus™ customer service training programs, go to www.thecustomerfocus.com. Follow on Twitter: @Hyken

This article was republished with permission and originally appeared at Shep Hyken.

 Photo courtesy of Shep Hyken.

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