People love free stuff. I once worked with a volunteer coordinator who explained the secret to human motivation: “People will do anything for a free t-shirt.”
It’s true. While the ultimate goal is to build an unconditional love for your brand, a bit of promotional merchandise (swag), and a “wow” experience go far in accomplishing this goal.
However, when it comes to wowing your customers, you don’t have to rely on extravagant promotions, outrageous freebies, or all-expense paid trips to the moon. To win over a loyal customer base, the simplest gestures can prove most effective and thereby create an outstanding experience and repeat customers.
The key to customer retention is fostering a climate of customer delight – a tribe of users who love your product. Here are some customer delight strategies to get you started.
The way you treat your customers makes or breaks their opinion of your products.
Think about your favourite shopping or dining experiences. What do they have in common? While the quality of products is, of course, vital, we base our perception of brands upon their customer service.
While we often think of quality customer service in-store, digital retailers can create outstanding customer experiences as well. Rapid responses from your customer care team, generous return policies, timely shipping and courteous staff are few of the qualities that transcend digital interactions.
“Sometimes, a purchase is as much about the experience as it is the actual item purchased.”
Think about dining out at a nice restaurant. While the food may not necessarily be better than a steak cooked at home, you pay more for the dining experience. You expect valet parking, polite, well-dressed waiters and meals served over several courses in an affable environment.
What you’re really paying for is the experience that comes with your meal. You could order a steak and potato at many inexpensive restaurants but you choose the nice restaurant because of the experience that starts even before you walk through the door.
Was the shipping delayed on a purchase? Send your customer a small gift card or offer to reverse the shipping charges on the item. The cost of shipping is minimal compared to the lifetime value of a customer.
Your customer service is your primary interface with your customers. Maximise it by crafting an experience that delights and blows your customer away.
In the early 90’s, the American hamburger chain Hardee’s offered a car antenna topper featuring their logo as a promotion. The toppers became wildly popular and even those [weird] people who weren’t particularly fond of burgers flocked to the restaurant to collect these antenna toppers.
Even a small memento can create the feeling of nostalgia for your customers, and when branded correctly, also offer additional brand recognition for your business.
Simple but useful items work best here and are kinder on your wallet too.
If you’re targeting business professionals – stylus pens, desk calendars, screen cleaning products and branded sticky notes are great options.
It’s the little details like including some tea samples or a bookmark with a book purchase that works for customer retention- who doesn’t love a good cup of tea when they sit down to read?
Spread your passion for your product or industry to your customers through interesting education materials.
If you run a winery, create eBooks on wine and food pairings. Then, offer the book with wine purchases. Your customers will enjoy learning more about the wine they purchased, and they may be tempted to buy another to pair with more dishes.
Furthermore, once the materials are created, there’s little overhead involved with supplying them to your customers. In fact, if you offer them in a digital format such as a PDF, there’s virtually no cost to you.
Again, be sure your content is branded, but not a sales punch in the face.
With subtle branding your customers will be more inclined to trust you and pass the materials on to others, they’ll organically spread the word about your business because you haven’t forced the sale.
Give a shout out to your customers on your social media channels.
Everyone loves a bit of recognition and sharing something with customers who love your product is a great way to garner enthusiasm for your brand. This also builds brand awareness and social proof for your brand.
Social engagement is essentially free, yet it provides powerful positive experiences for your customer. You can plan different activities for building social engagement; following are two examples:
- Highlight a “customer of the day”
- Ask customers to share pictures while using your product, then share the pictures.
They’ll love it, and you’ll provide a “wow” factor, giving your brand a human touch and edge over many competitors.
When people find a product or service they love, they seek to tell others about it.
From recommending a salon to sharing their favourite sushi spot, to gushing about how awesome the service is at their local car mechanic, people generally look for ways to tell others about their positive experiences.
- Express your gratitude for those referrals.
- Offer free services, discounts, or gift cards for each referral sent.
- Try including a handwritten note to create an individualised experience for your customer:
Not only does this encourage further referrals, but it expresses appreciation to your loyal customer base – the kind of customers who’ll likely offer repeat business.
… and let’s face it, it’s just plain good manners to express your gratitude!
Don’t forget- New customers that are “purchase-ready” are one of the greatest gifts your business can receive.
Everyone wants to feel valued as an individual.
No one wants to be viewed as “just another customer”, an ID in a database or segment of an audience. That’s cold! By adding personalised touches, you will let your customer know that they matter to you – they’re not just an anonymous purchase number.
As adults, we come to dread checking the mail. Most days, our mailboxes are filled with bills, promotional fliers, and the occasional delightful reminder that your dental check-up is due. Open wide, this won’t hurt a bit…
However, there’s nothing like the little thrill that comes from discovering a personalised piece of mail amidst the crap – oh look, another credit card offer!
Sending a handwritten thank you note following an interaction with a customer is a simple, yet meaningful way to wow customers. Your sales and customer facing teams should be given the time and budget to run with this.
Make sure that the note is both personal and specific. This is your chance to start a 1-on-1 customer relationship and create a life-long fan. It’s big kudos to your brand, and warm feelings ensue.
For example, a card with a simple “Thank you” is an inexpensive, but unexpected, meaningful way to really wow your customer.
Customer delight plays vital role in customer retention programs. The better you get at it, the fiercer the loyalty of your customers – staunch advocates are a wonderful breed! In a nutshell, following the five-six simplest techniques will boost customer delight and make a great difference to your brand. Let’s go over those techniques once again:
- Craft an experience through quality customer service
- Give small, branded mementos
- Educate your customers without selling
- Give your brand influencers social recognition
- Empower and embrace your referrals
- Make time for handwritten notes
Have you tried any of these customer delight strategies? Are there any others that you’ve had great success with that I’ve failed to mention – or perhaps a few things that failed miserably for you?
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