Create Unforgettable Customer Service Stories
Customer service is one area of focus where small businesses have a tremendous competitive advantage over big brick-and-mortar retailers and massive corporations. Great customer service differentiates you from local competitors and brands, helps you retain top clientele and prompts word-of-mouth referrals.
Here are some ways to elevate the customer experience with your business:
Consider each touchpoint
- As the owner of a butcher shop wraps up the customer’s purchase of two pounds of ground beef, he tells the customer about his favorite way of preparing stuffed green peppers and discloses his secret tip to parboil the peppers first.
- A pet boarding facility sends pet owners daily report cards with custom notes about the pet’s behavior and activity levels, plus a photo of their pet at play with a staff member.
- At the close of fine-dining experience, the waiter delivers the check with hand-crafted chocolate truffles packaged in individual to-go boxes for each guest.
What these three examples have in common is that each describes a single touchpoint that is treated as an opportunity to create an elevated customer experience, a moment in time that will stand out in the customer’s memory and leave a lasting positive impression of the business.
Be a problem solver
- A gift shop provides customers with a choice of gift wrap and bows, expertly wraps the package, and offers to arrange delivery or shipping services.
One thing that makes Amazon so appealing for gift-giving is that buying and shipping are included in one transaction. A busy shopper at a local shop might not have time to make a second stop to drop off the gift at a post office or a delivery service like FedEx or UPS.
What stands in the way of a sale might be a problem that is challenging to the customer. but might be easy for you to solve. Your business may be able to offer adjacent services as a convenience to customers or share what’s worked for other customers with a similar issue or make a referral to a trusted partner or vendor.
Underpromise and overdeliver
- An interior designer and her client agree to have the designer oversee the delivery of new furnishings for a family room while the client is away on a vacation. The delighted client returns to find everything in place, plus a flowering plant on the new coffee table.
- After performing spring yard cleanup services for regular customers, a lawn and garden landscaper asks if the customer would like a complimentary flat of begonias – and then plants the flowers for the customer.
Set realistic expectations, but look for opportunities to wow your customers by exceeding their expectations.
Woo your existing customers
- The owner of a dry cleaners greets his repeat customers by name
- A coffee shop loyalty program rewards their repeat customers with free beverages
- A women’s apparel store offers to contact customers when new items from their favorite brands arrive
These examples demonstrate how businesses cultivate a sense of relationship with customers that goes beyond an individual sales transaction.
Train your employees
Make sure your employees understand how to treat customers with respect and provide excellent service by having ongoing conversations about what’s working and what’s not. Encourage employees to contribute their own ideas of how to improve customer service.
If you would like to learn more about how this might apply to your business, let’s talk: