7 Ways to Love Your Customer

When is the last time you were truly delighted as a customer? We asked ourselves this question during a recent customer experience brainstorming session. One BatchBluer had been given a free cookie after she bought her daily lunch from our L’Artisan, our favorite local deli. Another had received a card from a store on his birthday. And the experience that stuck out for me was when I mentioned to the manager of clothing boutique Clad In that I had lost a necklace I recently purchased and she immediately gave me another one, free of charge.

In each of these examples, they were all little things, but they were all unexpected. The merchants at these various small businesses did something extra that resulted in a positive experience for their respective customers. So we started thinking – what are some other ways we could really wow our customers and show them how much they mean to us? We came up with a pretty good list, so as we would with a box of chocolate or other delicious snack, we thought we’d share.

1. Provide an experience, not just service. We call the folks who help our customers the Customer Experience team, not customer support or customer service. That’s because our team does more than answer questions: they play an active part in educating and empowering our customers on how to best use our product via webinars, providing 1-on-1 onboarding sesssions, writing blog posts and much more. You want your customers to have a good experience with your company so you should actively work to give them one.

2. Shout your customer love from the rooftops. We know our customers are awesome and we want others to know as well. When we see someone doing something exceptionally  cool, we’ll reach out to them and ask if they’d like to be featured in a case study or a blog post. We have a whole website section called BatchMakers that’s devoted to people who are using our API. Think of ways you can shine the spotlight on your customers. Whether it’s on your website or a picture on a bulletin board in your shop, people love to be recognized for what they do.

3. It’s the little things. After every On-boarding session, we send a hand-written note thanking folks for their time. This can make for a very positive impression – one that communicates that we value our new customers and that we do things in a more personal way than most companies. What do you want to communicate about your company? Is there a simple but thoughtful way you can share that with your customers?

4. Be a good listener. Don’t be afraid to get social with your customer service. As we’ve written before, customers are now communicating in a variety of places. Find out where your customers spend their time, then use tools like Batchbook, Hootsuite or Radian6 to monitor what people are saying about your company in social media spaces like Twitter, on blogs, on Facebook, Yelp or LinkedIn. Is someone unhappy with service they received but telling their 5,000 Twitter followers rather than you? That’s important for you to know. And if you’re there to hear the complaint, you have an opportunity to reach out and see if you can smooth the situation.

5. Know thy customer. Again, social media tools have allowed us a much richer picture of who our customers and business contacts are. I never make a phone call without first checking someone’s Twitter stream to see if they are in town, what their mood is and what’s on their mind that day. I love that I can view a Flickr stream and know that, for example, my lunch meetings’ oldest kid just lost her first tooth. There’s real, actual humans behind each and every login, RSS feed and blog comment. Get to know more about them – they’re nice!

6. Give presents. Who doesn’t love a present? Nobody, that’s who. In the past few months, we’ve received chocolates from Electionbuddy, popcorn from Formstack, t-shirts from MailChimp and a big box of cool promotional stuff from SilkWorm, who we met at a recent customer meet-up in Austin. Not to say that our love can be bought (though for really good chocolate — maybe.) Each of these stood out not because they were big and fancy but because how excited we were to receive them. Our friends at Printfection have an awesome service that lets you send small quantities of items like t-shirts or a totebags to someone. What a great (and easy!) way to reward an exceptional customer.

6. Learn what others are doing. Providing excellent customer service is not a new concept. Customers have always determined whether your business succeeds or not. What has changed recently are the tools people are using to talk about your company and to each other. With social media, people now have the ability to tell hundreds (or thousands!) of people exactly how they feel about the service they received from your company, it’s more important than ever to get it right. Books like Zappos CEO Tony Hseih’s Delivering Happiness and Joseph Jaffe’s books Flip the Funnel provide some great insights and advice on how to best serve these higly-connected customers.

7. Build an amazing product or provide an awesome service. Of course, the very best thing you can do for your customers is be awesome at your job (so they can be awesome at theirs).

These are just a few examples of how you can surprise and delight your customers. Try giving folks a little more than they expect and see how it changes things. And feel free to share some of your tips or other thoughts in the comments below.

Photo by @mriggen, eater of fine chocolates

  • http://www.swaglove.com Casey Schorr

    Great article Michelle, and thanks for the shout-out! I agree with all of your points – it’s imperative for small businesses to master customer love if they want to grow via word-of-mouth.

    We’ve tried to align our company around a lot of the same principles. For example, we re-named our customer service team the “customer love team” and put funny signatures at the end of our support emails like “If you’re bored please tell three friends, four strangers, and two enemies good things about us”. It makes people smile and helps them realize we really are more personal and interactive with our customers than the average company.

    The little extra things don’t cost much, are fun, and really differentiate yourself from the crowd. Rock on!

  • http://www.neteffects.com.au/helpdesk help desk

    You need to make your customer feel that they are special by means of giving them the kind of service that they deserve and going beyond what is expected from you as an agent.