We all know the importance of giving customers an excellent experience, but finding creative and personal ways to do that is often a daunting task. If you are looking for strategic ways to delight your customers, online specifically, then you are at the right place.
The key purpose of having these unique ways of exciting your customers is not only to give them a great customer experience, but make them want to come back and make another purchase or share their experience.
So, happy customers, returning customers, word of mouth advertising, and in general people enjoying their experience with your brand. Those should be enough benefits to start thinking on how you can kick it up a notch.
Here are 8 ideas on how to get your creative juices flowing and delight your customers! Some crazy and admittedly, some not so crazy.
1. Add surprises into the shipment
I made a purchase from Beyond the Rack recently and to my surprise there were numerous other products in with my purchase! Who would have thought that I would get so excited about Tide and a Magic Eraser? The point is that I wasn’t excited about what I was getting, I was excited that the company gifted me bonus items when I received it.
Depending on your brand and products you may not want to send a magic eraser as an accompaniment, but there are lots of other approaches you could take:
Have luxury chocolates made specifically for your brand and have them wrapped in branded packaging. If all works well, people will be purchasing simply to get more of your chocolate!
A discount coupon for the next purchase
Samples of different products in your line or of a product that pairs well
Stickers, bags, or posters are other great ways for your loyal customers to spread the word about your brand
A handwritten note thanking them for the purchase and hoping they enjoy could be a nice touch for more high end brands
2. Loyalty programs
As the old adage goes, it is simpler and cheaper to retain your current customers than it is to attract new customers. Loyalty programs, if done properly, have a great way of bringing customers back. Just ask Starbucks who claims a good portion of my pay cheques!
What Starbucks does well with their loyalty program stems from their values and mission. Starbucks employees are partners and they treat their loyal customers the same. Their loyalty card levels are based on the quantity of coffee you are drinking, which encourages you to keep going back. I may have hurried back once or twice a day to get up to gold level because I wanted that specialty gold card with my name printed on it—but tell anyone and I’ll deny it!
But the desire to drink more coffee doesn’t end there. Every 12th drink is free and the home screen of the app is constantly showing how many you have left until your next reward, while also sending messages on current in store promotions.
All-in-all, I would say the best part of the Starbucks loyalty program is it is easy and convenient. Everything needed is in the app, including the capability to purchase drinks.
The major reasons that Starbuck’s loyalty program is successful are:
The reward is desirable
They have a great user experience
3. Go the extra mile
“People will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel” – Maya Angelou
Taking the time or money to go the extra mile for a customer can change any customer into a delighted lifelong one. This doesn’t mean you need to send every customer large gifts and spend lots of money on them, simple efforts to improve their experience can leave a long lasting impact too.
Zappos is a brand that constantly comes to mind when thinking of going the extra mile. A customer once ordered 6 pairs of shoes, as she had a medical mishap which made shoe shopping extremely difficult. When the woman called to return some of the shoes she explained her situation to the Zappos rep. When the phone hung up the Zappos rep didn’t just end there, they went the extra mile and sent a huge bouquet of flowers to her front door.
Not only did they just gain a customer for life, they got the opportunity to genuinely brighten someone’s day.
4. Have all team members on board
Carrying on with the Zappos example, having all team members on board is how their thoughtful gesture was accomplished in the first place. Customer experience is engrained in their culture as the most important thing. By having this customer comes first mindset you can truly offer the best experience.
Hotel chains, Ritz-Carlton and Four Seasons, have been known to empower their employees and they have strong returning customer bases because of it. They have both made cultures of going above and beyond. Regardless of the employee’s income bracket, they feel individually empowered to ensure their customers have the best experience they can.
5. Have unique and responsive customer service
Nothing is more frustrating than “You are number 89 in line, your business is important to us, please remain on the line for the next available agent.” We have all been there, you are frustrated with the experience before you even get the chance to speak with someone. And don’t get me started on the bad elevator music!
Or even worse than that, sending in a ticket or email and never hearing back. To most, it appears as the company’s way of saying that you don’t matter.
But you are a customer service pro, I’m sure you don’t do any of those things, right?
Keeping queues short and responding to all inquiries is good for having a decent customer experience, but you want to take it to the next level! While a 4-5 hour response time is good, a 30 minute response time is exceptional. Having customer service agents respond and answer questions is great, but having a personality and making sure the customer is delighted and has a great experience is fantastic.
Taking the time to speak with each customer individually is sure to leave a lasting impression.
6. Be human and personalize
As I just mentioned, “Please stay on the line, your business is important to us” is so generic it’s painful. Customers don’t want to speak to a robot or go through 9 sequences of “For this option, press 1.” People like talking to other people.
In this day and age calling in to a customer service line and immediately speaking to an individual is unheard of. Having the resources for individuals to answer the phones and taking the time to get to know your customers will surely give you a competitive advantage.
Marriott is known for offering that personal touch that sets their brand apart. Their core value is to “Take care of your employees and they’ll take care of the guests.” And with this motto, they made it to number 4 on the Customer Service Hall of Fame.
7. Respond on social media
Dependent on your customer service strategy you may not see this as an important part, but if your target audience is there a strong presence is necessary.
Social media heavy customers expect genuine engagement and using this technique is a definite way to excite your customers.
I have a vivid memory of a friend running to me when Tim Horton’s responded to his tweet. There was nothing special about this tweet, but he was over the moon ecstatic that they agreed on his love of the potato bacon soup.
All it took to have an overly delighted customer was to send a tweet showing that they are humans and are engaging with their audience.
The worst things that you can do:
Not respond to direct questions
Respond with canned messages, people see right through it.
A company who is killing it with customer service on social media is Pizza Hut.
They respond to every tweet that is sent their way in a unique fashion. From marriage proposals to hunger complaints, Pizza Hut doesn’t miss a beat when it comes to Twitter.
There are hundreds of ways to delight your customers and give them a great overall experience. The opportunity to boost their day and leave a lasting impression of your brand is one we all should be taking advantage of.
With these 7 strategies I hope I have offered some insights into things you can try to increase customer happiness.
Any other crazy strategies you have seen or done? Let me know in the comments!