It is no big secret that it is important to take care of your customers and keep them coming back to your business, But as a small business, it is too easy to get into the mindset that we cannot quite keep up with the giants, so we can become complacent.
Nothing could be further from the truth. It is time for small businesses to reframe that idea and realize that as a small business we should have better than usual customer service. Unlike the corporate giants, we have the advantage of being more nimble, passionate and connected to our customers.
The idea is simple. Instead of creating merely satisfying experience, create ones that are extraordinary. Deliver experiences that blow your customers minds and you will quickly win their hearts.
Creating a remarkable experience will get people talking about you creating referrals and social proof. In a world that is driven by social media, creating a positive experience that makes people talk about you beats any marketing campaign you could pay for.
Average is Boring. You Did Not Go Into Business to be Mediocre.
Here are some examples of small businesses doing customer service right:
This small boutique soap maker is wowing her clients with amazing scents and packaging. You can smell the goodness before you even get the package open. Top it off she is giving a bar for every bar purchased to your local women’s shelter.
Tim Quinn CPA
My CPA takes the pain of doing taxes and talking money. He is timely, non-judgemental and he randomly checks in throughout the year to follow up on things he believes are a priority for you and your business. That approach and follow-up alone creates a personal connection that you do not see with many CPAs.
My Local Carwash/Oil Change Facility
Would you like coffee, tea, or water while you wait for us to change your oil? Yes, please! Oh, and wait, I can stay in my car while you change my oil? And your manager and manager’s manager come and check in with me, and then you top it off with a discount. That is what breeds loyalty and keeps people coming back.
As these examples show, little things can make a huge difference and make your customer service out of the ordinary.
Here are five ways you can start setting your business apart with customer service:
- Do Not Overthink It: Sometimes you do not have to do something big and extraordinary to seem like you are offering an extraordinary experience. Take it back to basics and make sure you nail it every single time.
- Under Promise and Over Deliver: When you exceed expectations people notice. It is too easy for a small business to promise something they simply cannot deliver and then up looking bad. Set your business apart by creating opportunities for to wow your customers with a surprise. (And whatever you do, do not over deliver to everyone all the time, or you risk setting expectations you simply cannot meet.)
- Consider your Customer’s Life: Where can you meet your customer in an unexpected way and brighten up their life? For example, my husband’s last Dollar Shave Club package came with a mini magazine called The Bathroom Minutes. It is not a regular thing but the whole family was coming together as we tried to solve the puzzles included in the magazine. Guess what razors I now use?
- Look to Opposites for Inspiration: Step outside your industry or back in time to find new ways to approach your business. I personally draw inspiration from main street, small town type approaches to business, even though I run a very modern online business. Think about how to bring opposites together or how to combine odd pairings to create something unique.
- Make Everyone a VIP. Customer loyalty and other programs go a long way to boosting customer satisfaction, but what if we started treating everyone as our most important customer when they came through the door? Instead of trying to prioritize customers based on arbitrary things, we need to understand that today’s first timer is tomorrow’s VIP. The goal should be to wow every customer and roll out the red carpet day in, day out.
As the old adage goes, it is easier to sell an existing customer than to find a new one. Cherish the customers you have, treat them right and keep them coming back to your business again and again. Making creating an extraordinary experience for your customer will help create loyal fans who cannot help but rave about your business and boost your bottom line.
Amber McCue is the CEO of Nice Ops, a business consultancy that works with entrepreneurs to help them go from startup to CEO with leadership development and business coaching. She has over 10 years of experience working in business and change management with Fortune 500 companies. You can sign up for the Get Efficient Prioritization Workshop here.