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10 moves that will make your customers feel appreciated By Roy Osing

"Customer Appreciation Days" don't cut it. In fact they add very little to thank loyal customers for their business. 

You can't make people feel appreciated by doing an occasional tribute to their importance. And you can't do it by holding an event; an often crowded and cheesy affair with free coffee and muffins.

Customer appreciation is about making them ALWAYS feel special. Every time they "touch" your business for whatever reason.

These 10 acts will warm your customers to you and create a customer service culture unmatched by others.

 1. Recruit employees that REALLY like to serve others; who are "born" with the natural desire and ability to put the needs of others before their own. If you don't have employees born to serve, you will never be able to express your appreciation to your customers.

 2. Appreciate each of your customers differently. Applying a boiler plate approach to all assumes that everyone likes to be thanked in the same way. Not true. Everyone is different and the challenge is to find the way they, specifically, like to be recognized for their loyalty. By the way, avoid "trash and trinkets" and other gimmicks to say "thank you"; they're cheap and impersonal.

 3. Take every opportunity to thank them for their business. A simple but powerful tool to reinforce how much they are appreciated.

 4. Empower your frontline people to serve your customers the way THEY want to be served. Escalations to supervisors on complaints or other issues robs your employees of the ability to have personal credibility and "flex" to the customer's unique needs.

 5. Take the problem solving role. People feel listened to and respected when someone takes an earnest concern in helping solve a problem they are encountering. 

 6. Institute a loose system of rules and policies. In fact refer to them as "guides" to indicate an openness and flexibility to engage customers in a friendly manner. Allow employees to act in favour of the customer; do whatever it takes to "say yes".

 7. Reserve special offers and deal promotions for your existing customers to thank them for their loyalty rather than as an incentive to attract new customers. Offering "3 months free service" to someone to get them to switch from their current supplier does little to make your existing customer base feel special.

 8. If you can't meet your customer's specific needs, for whatever reason, help them find where they can go to get satisfaction EVEN A COMPETITOR. This shows you care about them and not about pushing your own agenda.

 9. Have a conversation with a customer to discover what's going on with them; don't flog your message and products at them.

 10. Surprise them  with something they don't expect. This isn't about sending a birthday wish to them every year; it's about discovering something more intimate about them and giving them a "gift" accordingly. Surprise gifting speaks volumes about how you really feel about them. 

Treat your customers like human beings with feelings and individual desires if you want to make them feel special.

About Author

Roy Osing (@royosing) is a former President and CMO with over 33 years of leadership experience covering all the major business functions including business strategy, marketing, sales, customer service and people development. He is a blogger, content marketer, educator, coach, adviser and the author of the book series Be Different or Be Dead

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