Have you ever walked out of a store feeling like the staff just couldn’t give a stuff about how your shopping experience was? Odds are you probably didn’t feel like shopping there again and made a point to let everyone about the rotten experience you had.
Appreciated customers are loyal customers, yet appreciation is a tool that is often underutilised when it comes to customer experience. Customers already expect excellent service, which is why taking a step further to exceed their expectations is vital to making them stay.
We’ve put together a list of 10 ways you can go that extra mile to make your customers feel like they truly matter to you.
1. Get to Know Your Customer
A customer can’t feel valued if they feel like you don’t understand them. Getting to know your customer means listening and acting on their feedback. What do they like? What do they dislike? Understanding their preferences means you can appeal to them, whether that’s by alerting them to offers they will like or letting them know when a product they’ve regularly been viewing is now on sale. It could also mean sending them out a personal message for their birthday, perhaps even a hand-written card instead of an email if this is possible for your business. The more you know about your customer, the more opportunities you have to develop a personal connection with them.
2. Say Thank You
Gratitude goes hand in hand with appreciation, but this doesn’t mean that thank you should just be thrown around without purpose. Customers can sense fake, which is why it’s critical to choose when and how you say thank you. Anniversaries are particularly important here, so if a customer has shopped with you for a certain period, let them know by sending out a message and even a special offer to show your gratitude for their loyalty. Saying thank you reaffirms that you appreciate what your customer brings to your business.
3. Create a Loyalty Rewards Program
This doesn’t have to complex by any means. Having a loyalty rewards program in place makes your long-term customers feel important. Rather than letting your customers question why they have been shopping with you for a long time, you can show them why. This could mean creating a VIP rewards program/event, or giving specific discounts to loyal members only. Rewarding customers for their service to your company will only help to convince them why they should continue to choose you.
4. Treat Your Employees Right
If your employees don’t feel valued, neither will your customers. Taking a step back to acknowledge the work that your team members are executing is essential to making them feel like they are proud to work for your brand. If an employee feels overlooked and underacknowledged, there is a much higher chance that this is how your customer will end up feeling too. However if your employee feels positive and appreciated at work, they will be much more likely to bring that positivity to the shopping experience of your customer- now that’s a much better outcome!
5. Watch Your Language
You want your customer to feel like the most important person in the room. This means working your body language to make this happen- attentive eye contact, smiling, and engaging in conversation by asking specific questions to show that you’re listening and interested. Alternatively, if it’s shopping online, this means making sure that the tone of your website mirrors how you want to make the customer feel. Catering your body language and tone to suit your customer will assist with making them feel like you care about them as people rather than just as ‘customers’.
6. Pay Attention to the Details
Paying attention to the details shows that you are actively listening. If you can take the time to remember even just one detail about a customer, such as the trip or event that they were shopping for last time you served them, this creates an opportunity for you to bring this up with the customer next time they shop instore. More often than not the customer will be surprised that you actually remembered. This goes for customer names, too. If you can remember a customer’s name and even just one thing about them, they will appreciate the time you’ve taken to recall this information.
7. Keep It Clean
One of the easiest ways you can show your customer that you care about them is by showing them that you care about the space you’re providing them. If your store or site is untidy, difficult to navigate and out-of-date, your customer is likely to feel disappointed in your attitude to service. Paying attention to the ambience of your store is imperative to creating an environment that makes customers feel like you have catered it specifically for them and their needs.
8. Handle Complaints Swiftly and Respectfully
Let’s face it, no matter how hard you try, things can and will go wrong. What you can control is how you respond to the situation when this happens. This means listening to all complaints, taking constructive criticism onboard, directly addressing the complaint and any questions asked, and updating the customer with the progress of their complaint. Customers want to see that your company can not only listen to, but act on their feedback. If they’ve taken the time out of their day to make a complaint, or even to give positive feedback, the customer wants to know that you’ve given them that same time and consideration to respond to their message as quickly and sincerely as you can.
9. Keep it Personal
When it comes to contacting your customers, it’s all too easy to send numerous automated emails. Unfortunately, there are more negative than positive effects that come from this kind of move. If a customer feels bombarded by mass emails, these emails will most likely end up in their spam or deleted folders. Understand how frequently you should be contacting your customer and make the email personal where possible so a customer can feel like they are being spoken to as an individual. They will then be more likely to read the email and follow through by shopping with your brand.
10. Give Back
This tip may not be the first thing that comes to mind, but it is extremely powerful. If a customer knows that you are donating profits to a charity or local community initiative, this gives them a reason to keep returning to you because they can feel like their purchase is having a positive impact. If a customer feels like they are making a difference and that they are a positive asset to your company, this will add meaning to their shopping journey and encourage them to continue shopping with you because of value they know they bring.
It doesn’t take much to go that extra mile for your customer, but the difference here is that not everyone will. If you can find a way to bring even just one of these tips to life, your customers will experience the benefits first hand and your business will stand out for it.
Appreciation is a lot more than just saying thank you to your customers- it’s about showing that you really mean it.