“As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them.”
- John F. Kennedy -
Customer relationship management and customer satisfaction are the real measurement of our company's success. I realised of its truly importance only when I faced how difficult it is to make sure everything goes fine when you sell a service or product and how difficult is to maintain a good relationship with every single customers along the sale journey, without getting stressed.
Through my personal experience, especially when I had to deal with perks and rewards related to the Kickstarter campaign I launched a couple of years ago and regarding the Pinktrotters Boxes, I can suggest you some useful methods to please your customers and to keep them loyal to your offers.
1. Wow One Customer
Spring for it, throw rational thought out the window and WOW one customer. Stories of amazing customer service overtures fill the air — it’s time to let your company be the story of the day.
Give a customer service experience so delightfully over-the-top that one lucky customer will have a great story to tell. If you’re creative enough, that customer’s family, friends, and social media acquaintances will be retelling the story for days and weeks to come. For inspiration, check out 10 Stories of Unforgettable Customer Service.
2. Start a Loyalty Program
Invite your most loyal customers into a VIP rewards program. Customers love the red carpet treatment, which is why Amazon Prime and Zappos Rewards are so popular. Your rewards program doesn’t have to be complex; it can be as simple as offering customers an annual discount on their anniversary.
Tim Donnelly wrote a great article for Inc. magazine about how to decide whether a customer rewards program is a good idea for your business.
3. Help Customers Learn Something New
Let’s say you own a coffee shop. How cool would it be to hold regular events where you bring in experts to talk about coffee and do free tastings? The more educated your customers become, the more they will appreciate coffee, thus the more valuable they are to your business.
Run an online business? You can use your blog, webinars, whitepapers and free coaching to help people make the most of your product or service.
Two huge benefits come from thanking customers this way: Customers trust you and they have a greater appreciation for your products. Win-win.
4. Reward Social Media Savvy Customers
Exclusive circles also exist in social media, like on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram! You can reward your socially savvy customers with special announcements and exclusive promotions, and just be available to help and answer questions.
You can also create a system for earning and using social media loyalty rewards points. Customers could build loyalty points for providing feedback via social channels, or “checking in” on the platform(s) that make sense for your business.
Starting a new loyalty program is a golden opportunity to solicit feedback. What are your customers preferred ways of earning loyalty points via social media? I like Ambassador (we also have Ambassadors in Pinktrotters), although there are tons of tools and options out there. If you’re new to the game, check out this helpful article on 6 Ways Web Check-ins Can Benefit Your Brand.
5. Send a Treat
Cookies are a winning idea — liked by all and easy to share. But consider your audience: If your customer is a fitness guru, maybe send a paleo jerkey gift basket instead!
Help Scout lets you pull up every previous conversation you’ve had with a customer and automatically imports their public profile. Mine this information for hints on the perfect gift to send!
6. Offer a Surprise Update
The element of surprise is a powerful thing. Thank customers with a free, spontaneous upgrade. You can play database roulette and pick five customers at random, or make a list of your most loyal customers and send the upgrade to the highest-ranking.
Airlines mastered this practice decades ago with their frequent flyer programs, and it remains a great way to delight customers. Bonus by products: building customer loyalty and creating brand advocates.
7. Throw a Party
Throw a bash for all of your customers. Nikon did this with great success by adding a photo booth that anyone could use to the night-time entertainment. Guests received their pictures instantaneously, and the pictures were branded with the company logo.
Other great party ideas include a picnic, a wine tasting or a barbeque. Sponsor activities that encourage interaction and, most importantly, fun!
Think about what your company does best, and use it! Video production company Wistia does an amazing job at this with their Wistia at the Movies nights.
8. Discount their Bill or Send Gift Cards
Send a note telling a customer you’ve taken € 50 off their March bill as a way of showing appreciation for their loyal and continued service. If you own a brick-and-mortar store, take an extra 10% off your customer’s purchase at the point of sale, just to say thanks for their business.
If your company has the resources to send gift cards, by all means do it. The card can be as small as a € 5 Starbucks card or as generous as a € 100 gift card to a restaurant that gets rave reviews. This is another great opportunity to use your database intelligence to give a gift that’s personalized to their tastes.
9. Excel at Customer Service Every Day
Nothing says thanks for your business better than a friendly, informed service representative. It’s uncanny how thrilled customers are when a real human answers the phone and doesn’t read from a script.
Same goes for email — personal and friendly replies (not purely canned ones!) let your customer service team’s personalities shine through.
Derek Sivers, founder of CD Baby and author of Anything You Want, advises, “Imagine every person you are emailing with is Mick Jagger.”
10. Make Them Laugh
If your business is fortunate enough to have a creative mind on staff, have them step right up to make a funny and personalized gift. One idea: Photoshop your client into a famous movie poster, rename it something clever and email the picture with your note of “Thanks for your business!” If you’re a B2B business, even better! Your customer’s business team would look great starring in a Goodfellas or Star Wars poster.
You don’t need to be a great artist to get a smile, though! Create photo mugs, fridge magnets or other personalized gifts from the time you sponsored that photobooth.
Have you identified the best way to start pleasing your customers?
Tell me which one it is, I'd be happy to give my personal suggestions.