Delighting customers has 2 key elements – first, make sure you consistently live up to their expectations (most businesses don’t!) and second, provide the occasional “WOW” moment by exceeding their expectations.
Keep your promises:
Do what you say you are going to do. If you leave a message to call back or make a commitment for follow-up, then call when you said you would call. Even if you do not have all the answers, call when you commit to call back.
Be accurate rather than fast:
Make sure you always get the best and fullest answer you can to any query. Sometimes you may not know the best response to a situation or request. Ask for time to research and come back with the most accurate answer or information that you can get. Taking time to be accurate is better for your customer than a quick but incorrect or incomplete reply.
Customers become loyal when you always meet their expectations. That means your service, product and communications need to be consistent. Contact your most important customers on a regular basis, just to check they are happy.
Understand what your customers experience
Walk in their shoes and experience your organisation’s customer touch points as they do. Stand in a customer queue, phone your call centre, try finding an answer to a question on your website. Send an email inquiry or tweet and see what response you get.
Roll up your sleeves
Make sure you help unhappy customers. Generally, you cannot solve a problem if you don’t own it. Answer queries and complaints yourself sometimes. You can get someone else to look into the problem but you need to own it and communicate with the customer.
Talk about customer service all the time
Make customer service a company-wide mission and LIVE IT. Make sure everyone in your organisation understands they are in customer service. Any employee can impact the customer experience, from sales to back office personnel. Provide on-going customer service training and employee development. Don’t have the “one and done” training mentality. Encourage everyone to continue to develop their customer service skills. There is so much more to Customer Service than “just being nice.” Invest in training programmes, coach your team and inspire them to become customer focused.
Provide “Wow” moments
A “Wow” moment is when you exceed a customer’s expectations. It doesn’t need to be a thank you gift (although that is a good practice to do occasionally). It can be something as simple as remembering their name, something personal about them (name of children or pets for example), what they bought last time or their favourite hobby or pastime. My favourite place to stay is a small country pub. I book online but am always welcomed by name when I walk in the door (even if it has been months since I stayed there), they remember what room I like, what my favourite wine is. How do they do it? A simple index card system where they make notes about my likes and dislikes. When they see I have booked they read the card to refresh their memory.
Every time I stay there I post about it on social media and tell people what a great place it is!