There are so many ways we can focus on our customer. I wanted to share a very cool post from one of my favorite bloggers, Doug Meacham of NextUp. Doug is one of the first bloggers I started a conversation with back when I began this blog at the end of 2006 (he has also been one of those trying to get me to start Twittering – I am getting closer, Doug!).
Doug’s post is a great list from another Doug, Doug Fleener at Retail Contrarian, sharing 50 ways to improve the customer experience (note – there are actually 51 – added value). This is near and dear to my heart! Most of these apply directly to retail and consumer-based businesses, but they should also be considered for other customer-friendly folks. Here are a few of the items that I especially liked:
“8. Send handwritten thank-you notes. Come on, do you really do it?”
Come on, really. Do it!
“15. If you can’t fulfill a customer’s need, suggest another company that may be able to do so.”
Zappos.com does this if they can’t find the shoes you are looking for. Awesome customer service.
“46. Partner with restaurants and other stores to present exclusive discounts and offers to your customers. (A win-win-win. The other company gets incremental revenue, your customer saves money, and you’re the nice person doing it for both of them.)”
I like this one because, through partnering, your company is able to offer added value (there’s that phrase again!) to customers. This can be a key factor in increasing customer loyalty. I heard a recent example of this in some interviews I was conducting for a retail client. The retailer’s store is on a street in a shopping district with several other retailers. In order to give a reward to loyal customers, the street is holding a drawing for Mother’s Day. The lucky winner will get one prize from each store or restaurant on the block, including free meals, spa treatments, and clothes. How fun is that?
Of course, as I mentioned to the Doug(s) in my comments, the best way to take care of your customers is to do the above within the framework of a proactive strategy. Planning for a great customer experience will make all the difference between “random acts of customer service” and a consistent experience.
What works for you? Please share some of your best customer experience ideas with us either by email or in the comments on any of the above blogs. I will be sure to link to you here at Customers Rock!
(Photo credit: jchambers) (Note – WordPress.com’s photo uploader isn’t working; this photo is coming soon!) Finally working!