Article written by Mike Anderson (NSBC Founder & CEO)
What differentiates the world’s high-flying companies? Quite simple – the quality of not settling for mediocre.
Successful companies consistently deliver more than what is expected of them, and find every way possible to smash expectations time and again. Merely satisfying customer expectations is more like playing the safe game. It won’t get you anywhere.
If building your customer base quickly and having a high retention rate is something you desire, then your company needs to constantly smash your customers’ expectations and deliver memorable, ever-lasting experiences. In other words, give your best and make sure this best is something they can’t find anywhere else.
Here are a few ways which any business can look at to smash their customers’ expectations.
Understand what the expectations are in the first place before you try and smash them
How could you possibly smash a customer’s expectations without knowing what those expectations are in the first place? All you have do is ask. Get to know what their needs are and how they feel about your service, offering, experience etc.
Only then can you figure out their expectations and devise a way to smash them. Customer feedback, if leveraged correctly, presents a clear picture of what your brand should be doing in order to smash expectations. There is nothing worse than overpromising and underdelivering to your customers.
Motivate and train your employees all the time
If your team isn’t on the same page as you, your customers are going to feel it, and they’re not going to like it. Find new ways to motivate your staff and boost morale. If done right, employees will take it upon themselves to ensure that every single customer is kept happy, loyal and delighted.
Empower them enough and they will gladly represent your brand, fight for it, empathise with end consumers whenever needed, and more than anything, go above and beyond the status quo to create a truly amazing experience.
Know what you are selling
In order to smash your customer’s expectations, you should know every aspect of the product or service you are selling. Ideally, you will be able to discuss its features and uses, show your customers the advantages they get from using your product or service, and troubleshoot anything that is not working correctly.
Act quickly and deliver on your promises every time
If you’re going to give great service, do it every time. Consistency is what matters most. Customers create expectations from their previous experiences – they want consistency and quality; this is the only way to make them feel valuable. Deliver on your promises every time, not only when it’s convenient for you to do so.
Another factor in good customer service involves the time lines of your responses. Customers appreciate a speedy response to their inquiries, especially when they have a request that is time-sensitive. For good customer service, try to return all phone calls and emails within 24 hours. Let customers know how long it will take you to assist them.
Listen and you may learn something new
The Dalai Lama said: “when you talk, you are only repeating what you already know. But if you listen, you may learn something new.”
Don’t underestimate the opinion and feedback of your customers; they’re actually teaching you how to make your business better. Problems that may go unnoticed by your team may be creating a huge negative impact on customer experience, but you’ll never know if you don’t listen.
Listening is one of the simplest ways to provide excellent customer service. Sometimes customers just need to be heard, so be sure to actively listen to what they have to say. They might have a valid point that you can use to make your product or service even better. By listening attentively, you can understand exactly what your customer needs from you.
Follow up with your customers and ask for feedback
If there is one thing a lot of brands are guilty of today, it is that they don’t follow up with their customers after a sale. How many of you persistently stay in touch with a customer even after they have made a purchase?
In addition, asking your customers for feedback shows them you care about their opinion and want to be helpful. Giving them the opportunity to provide feedback can make them feel appreciated. You can use feedback forms, customer surveys, questionnaires or first-hand feedback when customers are completing their orders to find out what they need and what they think of your business, products or service.
Be super nice and friendly
The number one reason why customers will do business with you is because they like you. The most important rule in smashing a customer’s expectations is to be friendly and super nice. Try to greet customers with a smile and always be courteous and respectful. Be proactive by paying attention to the customer’s needs, and offering help or recommendations before they ask. It is important to always remain kind and empathetic to your customer, even through stressful or contentious situations when customers appear disappointed or angry.
Say thank you after every transaction
A simple “thank you” can go a long way when providing customer service. Customers often remember sincere gratitude, and it reminds them why they hired your company or shopped at your store. Saying thank you after every transaction is an easy way to provide excellent customer service.
Don’t make a sale. Build a relationship
The foundation to any successful business model remains looking beyond a sale or transaction – simply build a solid relationship with the customer.
A positive relationship with your customers will help you to ensure their return business. Showing that you care about them may inspire their loyalty and appreciation. You could offer personalised service, greet them by name, and make notes of previous conversations so you can reference that information the next time you meet.
Take the approach of always thinking like a doctor so that you can take their pain away and solve their problems by providing them with what they need and not what you want to sell them.
Don’t be revenue driven. The money will start flowing once you start understanding and caring for your customers. Customers will eventually start identifying with your brand as a whole, not just with your offering, and that is when true loyalty sets in.