“Dear valued customers…” That is how most notices and announcements begin for many businesses — usually when they are about to deliver bad news.
Making your customers feel valued is so much more than words on a piece of paper and should be done without impending bad news. When customers feel valued, they become loyal — the type of customers that become the bread and butter for any business. Let’s take a look at some fast facts about loyal customers provided by the Data & Marketing Association.
- Repeat Customers spend 33 percent more than new customers.
- It costs SIX times more to gain a new customer than to sell to an existing one.
- Referrals among repeat customers are 107 percent higher than non-customers.
- Companies that prioritize the customer experience have 60 percent higher profits.
- If you lose a customer, 63 percent of the time it is due to feeling undervalued or neglected.
So how can you show your customers that you appreciate them on a daily basis?
1. Attention to detail
This extends past the details involved in providing the product or service you’ve been paid for, this is more personal.
For example, if you are running a restaurant, and a customer says they are allergic to shellfish, it is your duty to ensure that everyone on staff pays attention to the details that will keep that customer from having a potentially deadly reaction. These are the details embedded in the service you are providing. This is expected.
What we are talking about here is the little details that your customer may provide to you that will give you and your staff to go beyond expectations.
If a family walks in with a baby and, once seated, grabs a bottle from the diaper bag, offer some hot water to heat the bottle. If you overhear two friends planning to split a large entree, ask if they’d like you to bring an extra plate (or better yet, have the kitchen split it for them).
This attention to detail shows the customer that you are listening, and in turn, makes them feel heard.
2. Use their name
Dale Carnegie once said “A person’s name is to him or her the sweetest and most important sound in any language.” and in the world of customer service, it couldn’t hold more truth.
Even if you don’t have a great memory, you can’t just let this one slide. Set a reminder to check your bookings before each appointment and say the customer's name immediately upon meeting them, begin each email by addressing the customer by name, and at the end of the transaction use their name while thanking them.
A few notes on using customers names:
- If you are unsure about how to pronounce a customer’s name, there is no shame in asking them how to pronounce it, it is better to ask than to avoid using it.
- When communicating by email, spend the extra minute to ensure that you are spelling the customer’s name correctly, it is usually in their email address or signature. They will notice if you spell it incorrectly.
- Fitting the client’s name in conversation may seem awkward at first, but you will adjust.
3. Think of the bigger picture
What may your customers need before or after receiving your product or service? This one can manifest in a variety of ways depending on what type of business you are running.
- If a single dad comes to your restaurant with their baby, is there a place he can change the baby’s diaper?
- If your business has small children as clients (dentist? doctor?) is there a step-stool in the bathroom for them to wash their hands?
- If you run a bakery do you have birthday candles on hand?
- Does your staff walk clients to the door after appointments?
These things add to the overall customer experience and may be the difference in whether or not your customer tells their friends about the transaction.
4. Personal service
This is where attention to detail and the bigger picture collide. Develop a way to communicate the things that you learn about your customers to the rest of the team to ensure that the feeling of importance you gave the customer carries forward to future visits. This also gives you a chance to learn from any missteps in the previous transaction.
If when scheduling an appointment, the client says they work late on Thursdays, put a note on the account. Your client will be delighted if you take that information into account the next time they book.
If a restaurant patron always orders the same drink, offer it to them when they arrive at their table.
If a client’s favorite color is blue, put their documents in a blue folder - anything to show them that you remember them and that the service is tailored to them.
Take a look at the things you could do within your business to show the clients you are listening and that you want them to keep coming back. This will most definitely separate you from your competitors and turn your customers into fans!
Photo credit: Monkey Business Images/Shutterstock