Research by the Strategic Planning Institute reveals that businesses with good service records grow twice as fast as those with poor service records. Derek Williams of The WOW! Awards offers his tips to help you dazzle your customers
- Make them feel special. If you know that a customer is coming to visit, put up a sign that welcomes them to your business. Tell your team who is coming so that they know who your customer is and can greet them by name.
- When you visit a customer, take them a present. A special balloon, a box of cream cakes, a funny badge - something that will make them remember you. Over the years I have won huge amounts of business from taking cakes to meetings.
- Let customers know about things that might be of interest to them, even though they do not necessarily come directly from your business; maybe a classic car show, a rock concert or a business event. If you can engage your customers on a personal level, your business relationship will be even stronger.
- Guarantee what you do. If your customer was not happy with what you had done, you would probably move heaven and earth to put things right. So why not guarantee it? And make your guarantee truly outrageous. The greater your commitment to your customer the more likely that they are to try buying from you.
- Control your communication. It's not just what you write and what you say; cracked cups, a scruffy appearance or a dirty window all tell the customer that you don't care. Remember, too, that communication is just as important with internal customers (our employees) as it is with external customers.
- Accept complaints graciously and treat them as nuggets of pure gold. These are your opportunities to improve service and increase loyalty. Research shows that 70 per cent of people who have a problem resolved to their satisfaction are more loyal after that complaint than they were before it arose.
- Remember basic human psychology. Always smile when you greet a customer, either in person or on the phone. The customer can sense if you are not pleased to see them. Don't forget to make eye contact either.
- Have a menu of drinks. It doesn't cost any more than just tea and coffee and it will dazzle the customer. Have some interesting sweets in a jar. How about Black Jacks or Fruit Salads or whatever was your childhood favourite?
- Make your shop or office a fun place to go to. It has to be fun for you, fun for your team and fun for your customers. Find ways to catch your people doing things right. When we catch people doing things right and recognise it publicly, it's a powerful way of reinforcing that behaviour.
- Understand the power of saying thank you. Thank your customers. Thank your team. Thank your referral sources. Try sending a thank you note to customers who pay you promptly - it can have an amazing effect.
- Under promise and over deliver. If a job is going to take one week then allow some extra time in your quotation and then surprise your customer by completing it early.
- Add the wow factor. What could you do that would really dazzle your customers? For example, one winner of The WOW! Awards is a restaurant in Leeds called Gueller's. They keep a range of prescription spectacles, just in case customers forget their own and are having difficulty reading the menu.
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