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How well do you know your customers and overall market?

If the answer is anything less than, “I know their wants, needs, and aspirations inside and out,” then you are missing a vital tool in creating a customer experience that will keep the cash register ringing.

Understanding your clients and building relationships with them is critical in an age when we are bombarded with traditional advertising, spam, web, social media, and online sales messaging. Most of that gets tuned out as background noise. But delivering superior service—before, during, and after the sale—is your most powerful marketing strategy.

Not only will that help maintain your current client base, but word-of-mouth and online reviews will help generate new customers, thus growing your business.

Knowing who your customers are and what they want from you is the only way to create a memorable experience for them. If you have a retail location, engage your customers, connect with them, ask questions … make them feel valued! If all or part of your business is online, pay attention to demographics, utilize surveys, and monitor customer service issues.

Either online or in-store, fix whatever your customers are telling you is broken. The customer may not always be right, but the customer is always the customer, and you need them more than they need you. So don’t rely on 10 things you do write to cover up for the two things you need to improve. Critically review every point of engagement. From the moment a client walks in the door or lands on your home page, they are evaluating your commitment to delighting them. Put yourself in your customers’ shoes and walk the walk. Evaluate each step and the experience a whole.

Make sure your employees are as committed to providing a memorable customer experience. A question to ask yourself: Are you empowering them to act accordingly? Employees are invaluable to the customer service experience, so only hire staff who share your philosophy on pleasing the customer. That takes people skills and a willingness to learn, so quiz them closely using scenario questions (e.g, How would you handle a customer who can’t find what they want?) during interviews. Provide training and enable them to do what needs to be done to enhance the customer experience. In general, the way you treat your employees translates directly into how they treat customers.

Don’t let good stand in the way of better. Good is breaking even. It’s expected. Go beyond, maybe offering an unexpected discount on big-dollar buys or a special price for a bundle of accessories and extended service with the sale.

And do not forget to send an email thanking that big-ticket customer for their business.

Need other ideas? Ask your empowered employees for ideas!

Creating a customer service experience that wows isn’t about putting on some kind of dog and pony show. By consistently serving customers well, fixing issues and doing those little extras that make a big impression, you’ll create the “wow” factor that will keep your current customers happy and open the door to new ones!