This post originally appeared on Entrepreneur.com - #Growing Your Business
Learn to deliver more than your customers expect and you’ll win them over and create a loyal fan base.
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Customers expect good service, but what if you wow them with exceptional service, going above and beyond what they expect? This white-glove service will keep customers coming back and make them shameless fans for life who’ll recommend you to more clients.
To create “Wow” moments, you need to make customers feel like the most important people in your world. Let them know you’ll bend over backward to make their day better. It’s all about the overall customer experience — and the details in between.
Think about the last time you experienced a “Wow” moment at a business, one where you were really impressed. You probably did a lot more business there and told your friends and business associates about it, too.
The following are five ways you can “Wow” every customer by going beyond expectations and providing the additional value they don’t expect, at no additional cost.
1. Do what you say you’ll do, without exception
Doing what you say you’ll do becomes easy when you’re dedicated enough to build systems around “Wow” moments. When your goal is to impress customers, you look for ways to go the extra mile every time. The key is to get your entire team onboard to ensure that they all follow up and meet their deadlines so details don’t fall between the cracks.
Giving customers more than they expect can also come in the form of a free gift or more help and support. Everyone loves to get exceptional value. Even little things can create special WOW moments. Everyone loves to feel appreciated!
2. Admit mistakes and fix problems when things go wrong
Face it, mistakes and problems happen. However, if you don’t know how to handle them, they’ll hit your customer satisfaction, retention and business success hard.
Nightmare customer service is rampant in the marketplace. We’ve all experienced it. In fact, we’ve encountered so much poor service, we tend to take it for granted at times. That’s crazy! Why give money to a company that doesn’t care?
Some of the biggest customer-service mistakes include over-promising and under-delivering, hiring the wrong people, not empowering and training your team, giving customer policy more importance than customers, and not asking customers for feedback. Don’t make these mistakes at your business!
3. Gain respect from customers with feedback
To gain respect from your customers, you need to earn it. Everyone within your organization must be on top of their game at all times to improve the customer experience. That includes accepting responsibility for your mistakes. Customers prefer businesses that own up to their mistakes and take the necessary steps to correct them.
In fact, customer relationships often get even stronger when a problem is handled well. To continually improve, look for feedback. Survey your customers on a regular basis, and reward them for taking the survey. After all, the feedback supports you and the decisions you make. Customers want to help you improve if you respect their time and value their opinions.
Getting customer feedback helps you gain a better understanding of your market and the competition. Customers are a great source of information, and they can help you, even more, when you ask the right questions. For example, ask “What can we do to serve you better?” Or ask the same question in more detail: “Tell us about the favorite experience you’ve had with us.” Instead of “How is our team doing?” ask “Who on our team made your customer experience special?” or “How did our team create an exceptional experience for you?”
4. If customers aren’t a good fit, let them go
You can get customers who are a nightmare to deal with because they lack respect for your value. When this happens, you need to know when to let them walk away. You may even have to fire a client, which is a difficult decision since your business depends on the income from that client.
Most business owners find it difficult to let bad customers or clients go. They fear the loss of income or suffer from feelings of failure. A business owner might try to stick it out with a bad client, hoping things will get better. But they rarely do. You need to know when to walk away from these types of people. Don’t let your business be held hostage by bad customers or clients.
Many self-employed people have trouble saying “no” to opportunities that don’t serve them well. But turning down opportunities allows you to walk away from people who don’t treat you and your work with the respect and dignity you deserve. It’s hard to say “no” when you need the money, but it will cost you much more in the long run when you agree to work with a customer who’s the wrong fit or who takes advantage of your goodwill. You don’t have to be everything to everyone. Focus on the top 20 percent of your ideal market to gain the best and most valued customers.
5. Always follow up and follow through
Many businesses spend a lot of time, money and effort chasing down new customers, only to lose them after the first or second transaction because they don’t follow up or follow through after the sale. If customers don’t feel appreciated, they’re likely to go to your competitors instead of making you their choice for repeat business.
Following up with existing customers is where the money is! When customers have had a good experience doing business with you, it’s a heck of a lot easier to get repeat business from them than to chase after new leads.
Always give customers more than they expect, especially after the purchase, to show your appreciation for their business. Following up makes customers feel special and gives them a chance to be heard and engage effectively. Existing customers who receive a follow-up are more likely to purchase more products or services. So make follow-up and follow-through a consistent mission for everyone on your team.