Nothing drives success like a happy client. Customers who enjoy communicating with your company are likely to keep doing business with you and buy your products and services, while those who don’t may not return. The good news is that providing exceptional customer service can be easy if you hire the right people, listen to your clients, and make a consistent effort to make them happy.
Improve the journey
If your clients have a bad experience at any point, your relationship could be damaged permanently. The key to pleasing your clients instead is mapping their customer service journey and investigating where you can improve their experience before, during, and after the sale. Finesse every touchpoint with your customers for a smooth and pleasant experience, and go the extra mile. For instance, at Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida, every staff member, even a high-level one, is expected to pick up litter to keep the park clean, says John Formica, a former Disney executive and author of the book Making the Customer Experience Magical Now!. And if you stop to take a family photo in front of Cinderella Castle, a “Disney cast member will come out of nowhere and take the photo for you,” he notes.
Think of ways to improve the experience for your customers. For instance, if you are a real estate agent, buy pizza for your clients on move-in day or offer referrals for service professionals in the area. After the sale, use your CRM platform to nurture your relationships by sending emails or postcards with useful tips and information. Formica emails his customers a Magic Minute newsletter, in which he includes helpful strategies for his customers. “You just give, give, give, and then out of nowhere, you’ll get a phone call,” he says. “Many businesses put a lot of time, money, and effort into trying to get the sale, but it becomes a waste if they don’t provide an exceptional and memorable customer experience.”
Boost your company culture
Believe it or not, your business’s culture can have a big impact on your customers’ happiness. If you have unhappy employees, that unhappiness can spill over into your customers’ experience. You can tap into how your employees are feeling by encouraging them to use an anonymous suggestion box or asking them to participate in engagement surveys to gauge their thoughts and feelings. Also, when taking on new staff, try to hire personnel that already fit in with your company culture. “Most businesses hire people and then try to mold them to fit the culture during the onboarding process,” Formica explains. “It’s like taking a square peg and putting it in a round hole, and it doesn’t fit. You have to hire for culture.” To identify employees who are likely to embrace its company culture, Disney screens potential hires by showing them a training video that features their highly customer-centric focus, and some people leave before even filling out an application. “If you want your company to be customer-experience oriented, you have to hire people who believe in that,” Formica says. Once you get the right employees, you also must provide the best training to achieve the results you want. You’ll get better results if you model the behavior you want from your employees and consistently hammer home your culture, vision, and goals.
Many companies that have extremely loyal fans, such as Disney, Starbucks, and Sephora, have customer-loyalty programs that reward them with discounts and perks for repeat business. That’s because such programs can make your customers feel recognized, add value to their experiences with your company, and distinguish you from your competition. Mull over how you can reward customers for their loyalty—perhaps you can give them extra discounts, provide them with exclusive access to new events or products, and celebrate their birthdays with special perks. Just about anyone would appreciate being an “insider” with a brand or company they love and respect.
Provide excellent customer support
Even if you do everything you can to provide your customers with the best possible experiences, there will be times when they will want to get in touch for assistance or to voice a complaint. So it’s a good idea to build the most effective customer-support infrastructure possible and offer several ways for your customers to reach out, whether it’s via email, social media, or phone. You should also willingly listen to your customers’ feedback, respond to their inquiries promptly, and take quick and active steps to remedy mistakes or dissatisfaction.
Map your customers’ journey, and take steps to make it the best experience possible for them.