An ocean of prospective customers awaits. It’s also full of competitors.
How is your company faring in these waters?
Some businesses drop anchor with the right “bait” needed to fill a widened net with conversions. But what happens when other competitors offer something similar? What you’re selling might not stand out anymore or, worse, could become the least attractive option.
Some teams don’t adequately respond to the needs or interests of their audience.
That’s like fishing with an empty hook — or sticking a boot on there and calling it a day. And then there are the companies that sail half-heartedly into a trend without adequate preparedness, which doesn’t promote healthy, long-lasting client relationships. It’s a tenuous approach given that 67% of customers admit their standards for good experiences are higher than ever before.
How can you avoid these scenarios? Try these three methods to surprise and delight your customers:
1. Surpass expectations with higher quality and service standards
I’ve seen it time and again. A company slashes jobs, spikes its prices, skimps on quality assurance, and then has the audacity to blame employees when they don’t hit unrealistic goals. Cue tanking stocks and customers running across the street to a competitor. Sound familiar?
I’ll be frank: The “norm” across many industries for quality and service standards has declined. As entrepreneurs, we can and should do better. Customers are surprised and delighted when you don’t price them out, when you avoid cutting corners, when you earn their continued attention and loyalty, and when you demonstrate a culture that is respectful and healthy (a company they would want to support).
Sadly, many folks anticipate subpar experiences when purchasing products or services nowadays. Let’s create a new standard — one that others will aspire to — by implementing the following:
- Personalized customer interactions and experiences for deeper, more meaningful connections
- Optimized core values that enable team members to elevate quality assurance and customer service
- A healthy, happy and well-supported team, fostering good moods and positive energy (we notice!)
- Streamlined, hassle-free communications thoughtfully tailored to a variety of customer needs
- Professional, considerate service that corrects errors and ensures positive outcomes
- Prioritize finish quality, reliability, and experiences worth the current price to customers
- A commitment to making each day a great one for team members and customers alike
Combined, the above strategies enable your product or service to sell itself more effectively. If what’s being offered is irresistible and surpasses expectations, you’ll likely gain leads even with a shoestring marketing budget because existing customers can become fans and ambassadors.
2. Maximize innovation, minimize oscillation
Of course, you can’t always please everyone all the time. We’re human, and humans make mistakes. This isn’t a problem until your customer satisfaction charts look like an oscilloscope display, jittering up and down. What this indicates is a lack of consistency, and while many people enjoy a good roller coaster ride, few want our dining or shopping experiences to rise and fall based on any set of variables.
That’s why, whether providing support to other business owners or focusing on my own operations, innovating to produce consistent performance takes precedence, especially when it produces a consistent wow for customers. This can be achieved through future-facing core values that enable happy, productive, and self-sufficient teams that deliver exceptional products and services.
Companies that oscillate tend to listen less or not respond to feedback effectively. This stifles engagement, retention, word-of-mouth marketing, and growth potential.
Companies that actively maintain a consistent, higher level of customer satisfaction listen, learn, and apply their findings. They elevate the experience and tackle issues head-on.
3. Approach each customer relationship as a unique opportunity
Have you ever shopped somewhere and felt herded in and out or noticed a lack of compassion from the experience? Every customer relationship is a unique opportunity, even when it initially starts with a negative experience. There’s almost always a chance to turn things around. How you respond to customer frustrations matters and can be the opportunity to build a lifelong relationship.
When someone enters one of your stores or service locations for the first time, try this: Greet them warmly, ask how their day is going, and provide tailored assistance based on what they’re interested in — which can be the start of a long-time customer relationship. Getting to know them a little helps to determine which offerings will best align with their needs.
Does a loyal customer have a complaint about a defective product? Make their day by swapping it out with a brand-new replacement or offer store credit to demonstrate integrity, and express how much they are valued. Both acts encourage retention and brand confidence. Demanding the purchase of a warranty add-on does not. I am more likely to be loyal to the brand that provided a positive resolution to a bad experience than I am to the one that worked perfectly, because in the first scenario, I know the brand stands behind the product. In the second, I had little to no interaction to inform an opinion.
Healthy relationships are built on kindness and trust. It’s no wonder that 60% of consumers are willing to buy more if they feel cared for by a brand. With the right approach, you can make a positive impression, even in challenging scenarios, and grow the long-term value of a customer.
The most common barrier to a delighted and surprised customer is the business itself. These three methods can avoid displeasing your customers. Use them to build a business you are genuinely proud of when it comes to core values, quality assurance, and customer satisfaction.
Like a lighthouse amidst that ocean of prospective customers, you can tower and shine above the rest.
Contributed to EO by Erick Slabaugh, a long-standing member leader of EO Seattle and former director on the EO Global Board, who is a serial entrepreneur, board member and advisor. He serves as the CEO of Absco Solutions, a 40+ year market veteran in the facility security and fire-life safety industry, as well as CEO of FCP Insight, a cloud-based enterprise software solution for electrical contracting businesses. Erick recently shared 5 Timeless Principles of Entrepreneurial Success on EO’s Inc.com channel, Reflections on the Origin Story of EO Global Leadership Academy, and 5 Entrepreneurial Trends That Never Go Out of Fashion.
This post first appeared on erickslabaugh.com and is reposted here with permission.