Article provided by Sureswipe
You don’t have to jump through hoops to go above and beyond customer expectations. But you do need to get everyone in your store involved and excited about serving others. Get this right, and your customers will have the best experience when shopping with you.
Today, exceptional customer service is no longer a ‘wow’ factor. In fact, for many customers, it’s the bare minimum they expect when they walk through your store’s doors. So, if this is the starting block, what can you do to stand out from your competitors and keep customers coming back to you for more?
“Customers don’t want their expectations met anymore; they want them exceeded,” says author and chief experience officer for Work Wear Safety Shoes, Matthew Hudson. “We service customers in ways that they don’t expect, we create a wow factor that sets us apart from the competition.”
86% of shoppers will pay more for a better customer experience. Only 1% of customers feel their expectations are consistently met. This is a large gap between expectation and experience – but it’s also an excellent opportunity for you to stand out. Isn’t it time you focused on your customers to grow sales?
Did you know?
“Making more sales from existing and loyal customers is five times cheaper than gaining a new customer and making a new sale,” says South African entrepreneur, Nicholas Haralambous, founder of Nicharry.com. “Relish the opportunity to sell to new customers, but make sure that you’re doing everything you can to engage with your existing customers in a meaningful way.”
Four ways that you can wow your customers today
Good customer service keeps your business going. Your first-time customers come back and – if you’re lucky – their friends come to your shop to see what all the fuss is about.
The problem is that in such a competitive environment with so many choices available to them, customers aren’t just focusing on quality service and customer experience. They want something more. Here are four strategies to help you go the extra mile:
Get your employees involved
Happy staff really do equal happy customers. How you treat your employees will affect the kind of experience they give your customers.
“I don’t want to be sad and depressed looking at the person selling me something,” says Haralambous. “If I’m parting with my hard-earned cash, don’t make me regret it.”
So, how do you create genuine smiles that staff can pass onto your customers? Nic Harry’s focus on employees having fun at work over being super serious about selling inspired owner, Nic Haralambous, to sign up for the music subscription service, Google Play Music. In-store staff can pick any song they want to play from the (approved) playlist.
Listening to music they enjoy through long shifts and engaging with different customers puts staff in a better mood, increasing positive engagement.
Make returns easier
Giving money back to a customer doesn’t feel great for business at the time, but one return is all it takes to create a positive experience that will ensure future sales. Take a page out of Sorbet’s ‘money back guarantee’ clause.
‘If you are not totally satisfied with your treatment then you don’t have to pay’ is the statement proudly displayed openly in every Sorbet beauty salon. Sorbet’s money-back guarantee and ‘no-policy’ return policy are the backbone of Sorbet’s service ethos, according to founder, Ian Fuhr, in his book, Get That Feeling.
Sorbet’s product returns policy is equally bold, refunding guests no matter what the circumstances.
‘You’ve changed your mind, that’s ok, we still love you. Bring it back, no fuss, no slip, no ID, no passport, no unabridged birth certificate or mother’s marriage documents, even if it’s empty, damaged, half used, not your vibe anymore, need the money for movies, the packaging clashes with your bathroom, or you just made a terrible mistake. Bring back anything… especially your business!
“We always ask new franchisees and hires what they would do if someone came to return an empty product to them? If the person says I want a slip and your mothers ID and a blood sample, and everything else that people ask for, then you know there is no culture fit,” says Jade Kirkel, Sorbet’s previous brand manager. This philosophy is how Sorbet picks the right people for the brand. “If they say they would return the product no problem, there is a culture fit.”
Personalise the shopping experience
Local online retailer, Faithful to Nature, packages samples based on customer preferences with every order placed. This small free gift introduces their suppliers to customers, and wows shoppers because no one expects it; aim for surprise and delight, because who doesn’t like getting free stuff?
“Always look for ways to go the extra mile when you service customers. They’ll notice, even if the act is simple,” says Hudson. “Most often it’s the little things that make the biggest difference.”
Make an effort to associate your store with a feeling akin to being welcomed home. If you run a shop that delivers, consider sending your packages with handwritten notes like online retailers SwiitchBeauty and Yuppiechef. How about also throwing in free delivery within a certain radius? The more personal, the better.
Reward repeat shoppers
This may seem like a common strategy, but by offering loyalty rewards, you’re able to collect customer data that helps you create personalised discounts and gauge who is buying more of what.
“Since joining Sureswipe’s loyalty programme, our customer database has increased by 25%, and the customer insights we get from this data help create clearer customer profiles and tailor-make quarterly specials according to these stats,” says ACDC Express GM Morné Coetzee.
Meanwhile, HP’s Matthew Sledge ensures each store lives up to the brand’s “customers for life” motto by not just giving the shop floor a concept look and feel, but offering customers home visits to set up their newly-bought HP items. “Not only do our new stores have customer stores, but our visits are an effort to help, support and educate our customers so they know we’re not just abandoning them after we make the sale, but creating a life-long relationship with them.”
Do you want to boost customer satisfaction and drive loyalty?
Talk to Sureswipe about a cost-effective loyalty programme. We can assist in customer retention through a platform that helps you communicate directly with customers through email and SMS. Call 0860 200 111 or fill in your details here and we’ll call you.