3 ways to help your customers love what you do

Mostly for service-based businesses, not really for silicon valley start-ups.

Who is this for? Mostly for service-based businesses, not really for silicon valley start-ups. 

It may seem like a strange thing to say but just because you built it and they came, it doesn't mean they loved it! We all think we've created the best product, the most exciting adventure, the tastiest dish but what can we do to make sure the customer loves it?

1. Make it easy

So, we'll start with a simple one for everyone. It's a very basic rule. Make everything as easy as possible. It's very easy for a customer to get frustrated (and unhappy) if they've not received their confirmation email, or if your location is difficult to find, or when they arrive for an activity there's an unexpected delay. I bet you're thinking: "Well, of course giving the customer nothing to complain about is a good idea!". - and you're right. BUT... are you actually doing that. Sit down and walk through the customer journey. Is it remarkable? or is it lacking? Be honest and you'll realise there are many ways by which you can make your customer's experience easier. We're not necessarily even thinking 'better' here, just make it as easy as possible

For starters, when you're going through the customer journey look at everything from the initial contact (maybe seeing a poster to your event or finding your Facebook page from an ad) all the way through to the end of their first purchase. If you're running an event take it all the way to them getting home. If you're selling a product take it all the way to the end of its life. Remember, you're not simply trying to make what you currently do better, you want to make the whole experience easier for the customer.

Think of an interaction you've had recently with a small business. Was it easy? What got in the way of making you a super-happy customer? What would you have done differently to make sure it was as easy as possible?

2. Surprise them

Just delivering your product is not really good enough now-a-days. There are many companies who will be trying to out-deliver you and some of them are smashing it! Are you?

We all hear the maxim "Undercharge and over-deliver". It's rubbish. By all means, over-deliver till your heart's content but don't undercharge. A customer who's attracted to your product or service, if you get it right, will happily pay for it. In fact, they'll be expecting to pay for it. But what they'll LOVE is getting a little bit more than they expected.

A while back I signed up to Gusto and Hello Fresh to test them out both products and to see what the customer experience was like. For the most part, it's excellent but both companies did a little thing to make me think "wow, nice touch". I then valued the product a little more and was certainly happier. 

What did they do? Well, my first Gusto delivery arrived and along with my ingredients and well-designed recipe cards, there was a chunky well-made wooden spoon. I didn't order this, I didn't expect it, I wasn't told: "Look out for your free wooden spoon!" but there it was. It probably cost a few pence to chuck in a customer's box but it worked wonders for this particular customer's happiness. As for Hello Fresh, they made a small mistake with one of my orders, it was sorted on the phone and I was happy... then... a few days later a chocolate bar arrives in the post with a simple note saying they were sorry and hoped the chocolate would help fix things. :-).

Both those companies over-delivered. They didn't change their core product to make it better, they didn't tell me I'd get 10% more if I bought it within a week, they didn't say buy this food and get a free spoon. I paid for something I wanted and got what I expected. But I also got a little bit more. That made me happy. 

3. Open their eyes

OK, this is the one that'll have the most impact if you get it right. It is, however, something you may not be used to doing. Very simply, show your customer what's amazing about your service, tell them how what you provide is the best, point out specifics about how your product is better than all the others.

Especially in small businesses, we don't always blow our own trumpet well enough. When I say show them, I mean show them. When you or your staff interact with the customers don't be afraid to show them proof of why you're the best. You are the best, aren't you? Show them why.

If the customer is standing in your restaurant, proudly point out the awards you've won. If they are on your website, show them your 5-star TripAdvisor Rating. If they are chowing down on your handmade sandwiches, mention you're so pleased they are loving it so much. 

Tell your customer why they love you, it's easier than letting them work it out for themselves.

4 (bonus). Ask them how

OK, this doesn't really help your customer but it does help you. You'll get some of your best feedback if you actually ask for it! We're all afraid of what someone will say about something we've done or created. But when it comes to getting the customers point of view, the best people to provide it are, surprisingly, the customers. Ask them how the experience could have been better? Even if they've had a great time at your event, ASK. Or, if they've just come in and bought your product without much interaction... ASK. 

If you get a chance to interact directly with a customer (which is generally whom I'm writing this for) DON'T just send out an email asking for some feedback etc. It is hard at first but ask them personally and I promise it'll throw up some little gems of information.