BE THE MASTER OF THE UNIVERSE – Delight Your Customer

Did you know it costs more to attract new customers than it does to keep your existing customers happy?

In fact, it is said that 80% of business comes from 20% of your customers. This clearly shows the importance of winning customer loyalty.Today’s economic generation has taken a major paradigm shift from focusing on market share to putting more effort on customer share. Business models have changed. Organizations have realized that there’s a simple way to being the leaders of the businessworld: Value! Where value equals convenience, transaction experience, durability, prestige etc. A good number of us are willing to dig deeper in our pockets for value. But you have to make them do it.

Taking care of your clients and securing their repeat business is smart for your bottom line. It’s also a really good way to get referrals. Meet your customers’ needs and you get them to come back. Delight them and they won’t just come back, they will tell their friends. I’d equate customer delight to a love relationship. We all want to be that boyfriend or girlfriend that your lover keeps talking about; the one that they talk to all the time. The one that makes their heart beat all the time that even if a new girl or boy moves into the neighborhood, they will not consider breaking up with you for them.

Delighting is a step further than satisfying. Customer satisfaction is whereby you serve your customers within their expectations while customer delight is exceeding your customers’ expectations. A delightful experience is whereby an individual receives personalized services with all their tastes and prerequisites taken into account and then going the extra mile. Customer delight creates an edge to your business because whatever you offer is different from whatever every other business does. Delighting a customer by offering value means different to different people and hence to delight your customer, you have to get personal.

To some, it is known as one-to-one marketing and to others, like in banks, it’s called personalized banking. Either way, customer delight is a practice that has been adopted as an integral part of many organizations’ culture, big and small across all economic industries.A personalized approach to customer service can be broken into three steps:  Identifying the customer, learning about the customer and serving the customer. However, there needs to be a strategy on how to go around this.

Survival in the business world requires a loyal customer base. Repeat business is fundamental to company growth and sustainability, and you get repeat business by making your customers feel good every time they contact you.Turning your new customers into repeat customers doesn’t have to be complicated. What you work at is creating a relationship with your customers. One that will make them know that you know them and you appreciate them.

Here are a few tips that can help you create that positive buzz that will keep them coming back.

Communication

Communication in any relationship is key; and not just communication but effective communication. Get in touch with your customers and make it easy for them to get in touch with you in return. Include your contacts in your site and in all your advertisements even if it is slightly buried. Whether you send a note in the mail, a monthly newsletter, or make a brief phone call, let your clients know about sales, discounts, or new products and services of interest to them.

Allow your customers to talk to you if they need to;and when they do, listen. And don’t just listen, answer. Similarly, ask for feedback frequently. This shows them that you value their opinion. On top of this make sure you watch what’s going on offsite by monitoring your reputation, and by getting involved in the discussion, wherever it takes place; mostly online in social media.

If you offer online services, be timely in your feedback, be it ordering receipt, payment confirmation, shipping confirmation, warnings about any order changes etc. Don’t delay on services. The faster the response to queries and complaints, the happier and more forgiving the customer is. Remember that a slow response to emails will keep your customers calling which you want to avoid. If a customer feels that they are the ones who always have to reach out, they get bored and they move on. Always acknowledge the receipt of inbound email and set some expectations for your client. Make it personal. Reassure your customers. Also ensure that your site runs smoothly and is easy to use. It should also be attractive and allows customers to engage with you.

Focus on customer experience

This means that you have to know your customer really well. What kind of people are you targeting? What do they value? How do they behave? Improve visibility on customer behavior for customer services and sales staff. Always remember that these are the ones who drive your business and they have to understand customer behavior in order to delight them. Unfortunately, very few companies currently get this right.

Offer a seamless journey across service channels.Honestly if your customers are the old in rural areas, the last thing you want is to tell them to go online to fill certain forms. This is where innovation and wisdom comes in because one has to have systems that cater for all your clientele in an easy way. Ever visited an office where one form has to be signed by like 6 people all on different counters with long queues? Sometimes I’m left wondering, “Seriously, are there no easier systems of approval?” Don’t frustrate your customers with a process that is clunky and old fashioned. If making transactions is too complicated, it is safe to assume your clients won’t be back any time soon. Simplifying your processes would do wonders for you.

Also, avoid small print at all costs. Be open about what you’re offering. Display your positionprominently. Give information in full. Help your customers make informed decisions. The worst thing that can happen is selling something to a customer only for them to discover that they were short changed. Even if they don’t buy from you, they’ll be glad you were honest with them and will consider you for something else.

Be compatible and malleable. We are in a generation where people actually know what they want and “they want exactly what they want, if not more, and nothing less.” If you get such clients, be willing to go out of your way and offer what they want. If for instance you run a restaurant which does not serve special diets, are you willing to go the extra mile to prepare that diet for a particular customer?

Measure

Measure, measure, measure. We all know that measurement is the backbone of the success of any business. Define the moment of delight. Get as much feedback as you can from client. Find out how they liked your services when they visited by introducing user reviews and ratings. Customer reviews can be extremely influential in driving sales, and provide useful silage for your business. Build out your community. Always encourage customer engagement and participation by timely responses and rewards if need be.

Then make sure that all your employees understand what it means to delight a customer. At the end of the day, always remember that your employees are your ambassadors. They help in making or breaking your business.

Optimize the customer experience

Simply put, remember past actions. Avoid similar mistakes in the future and increase the number of smiles in your customers’ faces. Segment your customers and personalize your services. Offer free delivery for your customers even if it’s on orders of a certain value or more. Send thank you cards with a delivery.Send flowers and a card if one your customers is sick or has had a baby. If you know your customer really well, it would be easy to know a bit of information about them.Sometimes due to the number of customers you have, you could send a small branded card or a short message on phone. Whatever you do doesn’t have to be so expensive.

Sometimes all you need to do is send occasional gifts or send seasons’ greetings. Just show them that you value, appreciate and love them. Once in a while, give a surprise discount on a sale. Sweeten a good deal with an unexpected surprise. Include a note or an item on the invoice explaining that the discount is your way of saying “Thanks for doing business with me.”

Reward customer loyalty with incentives. Frequent shopper discounts are popular for a reason. They encourage loyalty. A popular coffee house in Nairobi offers discount couponsfor every tenth cup of coffee.

Whatever it is you choose to do, remember that at the end of the day, you’re working towards being the master of the universe!