Exceeding customer expectations is what sets your business apart from the competition. Most businesses strive to meet customer expectations, and will work to make things right if there’s a problem. However, not all businesses are willing to take on the task of exceeding the expectations their customers have set for their business. Consumers today have more options than ever. They can access information for thousands of businesses right at their fingertips. Because of this, businesses have to try harder to stand out in the crowd.
I’ve been around the block several times when it comes to running businesses, and I’ve put together a list of 3 ways to exceed customer expectations everyday:
Focus on Feedback
Customer feedback can sometimes be unpleasant to hear. Not all customers are happy, no matter how hard you try. The good news is, their feedback is a great opportunity for a business to learn and re-evaluate any issues customers are experiencing. There will always be customers who just like to complain, but if you notice feedback coming in that has a common theme, it might be time to use that as a way to grow.
The Dalai Lama once said, “When you talk you are only repeating what you already know. But if you listen, you may learn something new.” He may not have been referring to business when he said that, but I think he was on to something.
Customer feedback is your free trial-and-error process. It’s a learning curve that comes from the “experts”, you know, the people you work hard to impress-your customers. Focus on the feedback customers are providing you. Read your online reviews, positive, negative and in-between, then use the information to benefit your business.
Personalize Customer Relationships
Your customers are the ones keeping your business afloat. They’re the reason you can run your own business and pay your bills. Personalizing your relationships with those customers should come as naturally as conversing with a friend. Everyone wants to feel understood and appreciated, and your customers are no exception to these feelings. Creating strong and personal relationships with your customers is ongoing and takes time, just like with any other relationship you want to strengthen. It’s worth all the effort in the world to make your customers happy and loyal to your business, but the good news is, it won’t require that much. Some simple ways to personalize customer relationships are:
- Don’t treat all customer issues the same. People are all different and they have different needs. Respond to their concerns in a way that is pleasing to them.
- Create a customer loyalty program to provide incentive for customers to come back to your business, and give yourself time to build trust with them.
- Know your frequent customers by name.
- Track your customers’ previous service needs so you can better help them in the future.
Provide Top-Notch Customer Service
People expect a lot from businesses nowadays. Thanks to companies like Amazon.com, people have grown to expect prompt responses and businesses putting the customer first every time. There’s a reason Amazon does so well, with millions of customers spending billions of dollars a year with them. They’re onto something when it comes to how far they’ll go to make a customer happy, and other businesses should take notes. Customer service looks like many different things. Customer service is being friendly, being the expert in your industry, responding to customer feedback in a timely manner, being available to your customers when and where they want to reach you, etc. Your customers look to you in their time of need and your job is to fix the problem(s) they are experiencing. In doing so, there are many ways to provide top-notch customer service, without even having to think about it:
- Be friendly and personable when you or your employees arrive at a customer’s house.
- If your customer stays close by while you’re working, enjoy conversation with them and get to know them a little better.
- Offer helpful tips and reminders that will make your work last longer after completing a job for a customer.
- Thank your customer for choosing your business.
Top-notch customer service means going above and beyond for your customers every time you interact with them. Remind your employees to put themselves in the customer’s shoes and treat them in a way that any consumer would appreciate.
Today’s world is fast-paced and driven by technology. Consumers have plenty of options to choose from when it comes to their plumbing, HVAC, house cleaning or pest control needs. Potential customers have access to more information now than ever, simply by looking at a business’ reviews and ratings online. Typically, people can do all the research they need to choose a business just by looking at business websites, online listings and reviews. The point is, people can easily contact your business or your competitors with the push of a button. Customers expect your business to make itself stand out. Once a customer chooses your business, it’s your job to prove to them that they made the right choice, and should continue to do business with you.
For more insights on marketing strategy that actually works for small business, connect with Jay Bean, Founder of FreshLime and Small Business Marketing Expert on LinkedIn and Twitter. If any of these tips have helped you or if you have anything to add, please comment below. We’d love to hear from you!