We are certainly going through some challenging times. Customers have less money to spend, budgets are tight, and many businesses are cutting back on their marketing. I see small businesses around me making some really hard decisions. However, not always the best ones for their business and customers. Especially when it comes to delivering a magical customer experience.
I do understand cutting back, but I also believe that now, more than ever, is the time to invest in your customer experience. It’s important to realize that maintaining your customer experience is not about costly products or service investments.
That’s why I want to inspire you with 10 different ways in which you can add a little magic to your customer experience without needing to make gigantic investments.
1. Make it easy to find and contact you
I think we can all agree that few things that are more frustrating than very well hidden contact details on a website. We all know that sometimes people have questions that are not frequent or standard and just require a 5 minute conversation with a human, be it via phone, chat or even e-mail. These are hard times for customers. Be there when they need you. And make it easy for them to find you.
2. Trust and empower your employees
Speed is of the essence in customer experience. If a company is highly micro managed and controlling, employees will often be blocked from delivering a great customer experience. Trust your employees to make simple decisions. Trust is free but highly valuable to deliver the best customer experience.
3. Make exceptions for those who need it
I tell my coaching clients that any customer experience should never be “one-size-fits-all”. Be creative and think how you would feel or react in any situation. Put yourself in your customer’s shoes.
4. Create a little “unexpected magic”
Random discoveries and act of kindness can play a huge role in customer satisfaction. The ‘magic’ that comes with finding something unexpected has almost completely disappeared for customers. But I also believe that small businesses really can create ‘unexpected magic’ to delight their customers. Why not offer a “Surprise me!” meal if you’re a restaurant owner or have fun in how you present the meal. I believe that businesses that understand how to stimulate the unexpected will set themselves apart.
5. Expand an existing service
Offering discounts is not always easy in difficult financial times, but why not offer something extra on top of an existing product or service? I love the examples like providing free shuttles for customers. You could argue that adding services costs money, of course, but I think it’s probably pretty rare that people will even use them and yet, just the fact that you make the service available, is fantastic for your brand image and customer trust.
6. Make it fun
This is perhaps one of my favorite methods. It is so easy to add a little fun to a service or product if you think about it. Something that will not change the world but just puts a smile on the faces of your customers. I always love giving the example of creating mascots like the Hogs Breath Grill and Saloon in Australia with their wonderful and loveable pink hog mascot.
7. Make it easy for customers to leave reviews & feedback
Sometimes customers want to leave feedback. Maybe it’s because they are super enthusiastic or maybe it’s just to suggest something that could be done slightly better. Give them that opportunity.
8. Make it personal
Taking pictures of your customers and posting them on social media sites is one of my favorite things to do. Despite some of the fears about privacy invasion tell the customers up front or ask them to post these pictures on their own personal pages. The response from the customers will be really positive. It is the personal touch that does it. Think about your response when you see your friend’s pictures and posts from Disney World. You wish you were there too!
9. Say “yes” instead of “no”
We all know that it is very easy and acceptable to say “no” to reasonable questions from customers that aren’t standard practice. But you will have failed at making them happy, while you could have easily done so with just a little effort and almost no extra costs. Maybe they want their 11-year old daughter to drink fruit juice from a wine glass because it’s her birthday? Maybe they want to come get their car that you fixed for them 5 minutes after closing time? Maybe they want to switch rooms in a hotel to be closer to their friends? It’s almost as easy to say “yes” here than to say “no”, so why not just do the first and make them feel warm with gratefulness?
10. Ask your customers what they want
I recently read that Tesla is expanding its Supercharger network and they are letting the public vote on where the next Superchargers will be. Tesla, of course, is one of the Kings in the customer experience arena and this shows again how focused they are on what their customers really need. Instead of analyzing and deciding where they should best put the superchargers, they actively involve their customers with a poll.