I can safely say that the foundation of inbound marketing is built on one single word: customer. Everything we do as inbound marketers is aimed at creating an excellent user experience, centered on our customers and their needs. We know that at the end of the day, we don’t need to have the best product out there as long as we’re the best at making our customers happy and adding value to their lives.
Unfortunately, many companies don’t believe in that. They think of their customers as cash cows, there only to boost the company’s sales. Even if that’s not the case, many times companies experience certain situations in which they fail to meet their customers’ standards. They don’t know what they’re doing wrong.
The solution to that is, of course, listening. To start you on your way, I’ve compiled a list of 8 tip to ensure great customer services.
1. Customers Prefer Good Service Over Hasty Service
Many times, especially in busy companies, we tend to rush our tasks in order to have a speedy service. However, as a result of this rush, our service can turn out hasty and negligent. Sometimes if we don’t look at our customers or smile or bid them a nice day as they leave, we could even come off rude.
Instead, take a little bit more time to do something perfectly. Start by looking at the customers and acknowledging their presence with a friendly “hello”. Listen to what they are asking for and help them as much as you can. Your attention needs to be turned fully to them and your service has to be competent and knowledgeable. When they leave, smile and ask them to “come again” or “have a nice day”.
Even if this routine takes 10 minutes more than the previous one, your customers will leave feeling happy and satisfied and will be more likely to come again.
2. Customers Like to Feel Important
Whoever here has had an experience will email marketing will know that your customers are more likely to open an email if they read their name. In fact, emails with the subject lines containing first name personalization get an average of 8.5% click-through rate, whereas the ones that don’t are around 7.4%.
Remembering your customers’ names will make them feel like you’re talking to them individually, which helps you create an audience of 1. You can even go as far and sending out exclusive offers to certain contacts to make them feel, well, exclusive. The more personalization you can create, the more important your customers will feel, the more likely they will remember you.
3. Customers Love Pleasant Surprises
Last year I subscribed to the Dunkin Donuts newsletter. I received emails from them regularly but slowly my excitement began to fade. Then on the day of my birthday I woke up to a very pleasant surprise. They had sent me an email (titled HAPPY BIRTHDAY LYNN) with a certificate that I could print and exchange for coffee and donuts! I was so excited that I told all of my friends about it, a lot of whom signed up for the newsletter after that. Now I’m a loyal customer (even though they might not have the best coffee or donuts around).
Nothing makes our day better than a nice surprise and there are very fewer things that we talk about more. The surprise doesn’t have to cost you much but will have a great impact on your customers.
4. A Random Act of Kindness Will Go a Long Way
This is very similar to the pleasant surprise but the difference is that it is random and it is personal. So imagine Dunkin Donuts had sent the gift certificate on any other day of the year and they only sent it to 80 of their contacts, just as a random act of kindness.
These acts will surprise your customers, make them happy, and also make them feel important. And what can make a company grow better than happy, loyal customers?
5. Customers Love Loyalty/Membership Programs
Once they get started on them, of course. These programs do three things. First, they offer cool benefits that your customers wouldn’t have had otherwise. Second, they maintain the sense of exclusivity since customers feel like they’re belonging to a program that not everyone else is. Third, they sort of guarantee loyalty (I mean, they are “LOYALTY” programs).
Once they started on a program, they’re more likely to go back to your company for seconds instead of considering another option because of the benefits of the program.
Let’s talk about something delicious now: Betty Crocker. I’m not much of a baker so I always use their cake mixes. The reason I’m bringing Betty up now is that they have a really cool membership program. As a member, you’re privy to a lot of “deliciousness” non-members aren’t!
6. Customers Know What They Want Better Than You Do
If we take the loyalty program as an example, how do you figure out what the best formula is? How do you know what kind of benefits to include, what the process should be, etc? The answer is simple: ask your customers.
Turning to your customers for ideas ensures that you’re listening to them and you’ll be able to directly address their pains. A lot of times, you might even find that a lot of your customers have amazing ideas that you can implement. Don’t fall into the trap of thinking that you know better than them.
Here’s something really cool that HubSpot does. They have an entire page just dedicated to hearing out customers and seeing what they want. Other customers can vote for an idea and the more votes an idea gets (basically the more people there are sharing a common pain) the more likely it will be implemented.
7. Customers Love Brand Stories
Cake? Betty Crocker! Rice? Uncle Ben's! Syrup? Aunt Jemima! Why do we know these names? Because they tell a brand story. A very popular technique practiced in public speaking is: to make a point, tell a story. Your audience might not remember the point, but they’ll definitely remember the story and if they remember the story, they can infer the point.
Let’s apply this to marketing. If you present your customers with a dry brand, a name without a background, they will most likely forget it. Tell them a story about your brand and back it up with some kind of brand history. Your customers might not remember your brand, but they’ll remember the story from which they can infer your brand.
Going back to Betty Crocker. Everyone knows she’s about as real as Santa, but she is the focal point of the company’s brand. You can see that just by looking at the homepage
(Betty’s Kitchen, Ask Betty, Follow Betty). People resonate with her, she’s everyone’s grandma, baking delicious desserts in the kitchen.
8. Customers Like to be Reminded of Benefits, Not Value
It’s a common misconception to focus all attention on the value for money of a certain product and think it will entice customers. It’s actually better to focus on the benefits.
If you have a lot of great benefits and your product truly makes people’s lives better, focus on that. Advertise users with happy smiling faces using your product. Talk about concrete end-benefits.
After you’ve showed your customers how awesome your product is, they will be more comfortable buying it. If you are able to really make them feel the importance of the benefits, they’ll even consider buying it at a steep price because in their heads it would be “worth it”.
At The End of the Day...
If you’re interested in reading more about this, Buffer have similar information compiled in a really cool infographic. At the end of the day, happy customers are your best salespeople. They go around promoting your brand and they do this for free. All they ask for in return is great customer services.