“People may forget what you said but they will never forget how you made them feel”
- Joyce Meyer
You never sell a product or service but provide a solution to a problem. You may not reach the summit of success, if your only focus is to grow your business, increase your sales or improve revenue. Customers breathe life into your business. You won’t be where you are or wouldn’t reach where you want to if your customers are not happy. In fact, customers have multiple alternatives available in the market if they are not happy with your solution. But as a business owner, you don’t really have a choice but to win their hearts.
A Chinese proverb says that a man without a smiling face must never open a shop. And that’s absolutely true, you need to make your customers feel great. Gartner predicts that by 2018, more than 50% of organizations will implement significant business model changes in their efforts to improve customer experience. With fierce competition in the market, it has become imperative for companies to adopt new techniques to distinguish themselves from others.
How can you make your customer happy? Let’s see examples of how these ten businesses choose different ways to keep their customers super happy. You may learn a thing or two and incorporate in your business.
Today’s customer support is more of social customer service rather than the traditional one on one system of email or phone support. Customers now move to social media platforms to get their questions answered, resolve their issues or receive reimbursement. Word of mouth can get positive experiences across 4 to 5 people, but today social media gets them to millions of people across the world. The genuine and proactive customer support not only reaches to that particular customer but also reaches to millions available on social platform.
Most of the companies, either choose not to respond or even delete the whole thread of customer experiences. Instead, let them stay and address your customers as you would in person. Agile CRM does this well on Twitter, ensuring customers are being addressed timely with their issues being resolved.
There is nothing more frustrating to customers than ignoring them. To support this, Convince and Convert comes up with a statistic that 42% of consumers complaining in social media expect an answer within an hour. Customer attrition is mainly because of dissatisfied customer support. The best possible way to retain your customers is to respond to them quickly with a solution to their problem. If you respond without a solution, it’s not responding at all and chances are customers will be misleading to think that they are interacting with a bot.
Amazon is known for providing great customer service, in fact, it’s included on the website that their goal is to be ‘Earth’s most customer-centric company’. They provide customer support from 75+ service locations around the globe. They respond quickly to their customers via phone, email and chat 24/7 through customer relationship management (CRM) solutions and innovative self-service solutions. It even maintains a social page exclusively to provide customer service - Amazon Help with 1.9million tweets.
3. Aim for an honest feedback - Microsoft
If you are running a business, it’s of utmost importance to take customer feedback because one, it’s unbiased and two, it gives an insight into improving your business, product/ service or overall customer service. Listening to customers can help you create a product they would want to buy. Customer feedback is commonly used throughout the product development process to ensure that the end product answers their issues.
Microsoft does this well with its customers. They often update their product releases on social media and ask feedback from customers on the features. This is an example of receiving and incorporating feedback in a healthy manner.
4. Have fun with your customers - Staples
Businesses sometimes can be quite boring and might zap the life out of routine tasks making them mundane. But that should not get to you. When you purposely induce fun and excitement in customer experience, it will improve brand loyalty. For this, you don’t have to bring down an amusement park to the basement but a good, well-timed, appropriate humor might be all that you need.
When Staples came up with their paper clip trombones, a Twitter user ridiculed them to be worthless. He said, “Hey @Staples these mini #trombones are worthless as instruments! But on the bright side, they hold music sheets together well!”. And Staples’ response to that was, “I would think so! Lol :) We share the same stock with our Staples Canada family where they speak French. Paper clips in French is Trombone! :) But keep on makin’ good music”.
5. Improve customer engagement - Nike
Nike CEO, Mark Parker, once stated that “Everything we do starts with the customers”. Nike definitely stands out in the crowd of competitors through their customer engagement. They treat all of their customers as valued partners. Nike regularly engages with customers and collects their feedback, this allows customers to feel that it truly values them as partners.
Nike has come up with NikePlus membership website. This is a place for runners to upload data about their recent runs along with their recorded history. They can share them with their friends, get tips from experts and post information on upcoming events. Customers can also win special rewards for their progress and achievements. Nike gives their customers a reason to want to come back to their website and engage with the brand.
6. Incorporate omnichannel strategy - Macy’s
You need to build a strategy to capture attention in the crowded digital competition, just like Macy’s. Macy’s is one of the early adopters of omnichannel marketing and shopping and it strongly believes to let customers create their own experience. Earlier, the online store and physical store operated as two separate departments but Macy’s realized they need to sync both of them to enhance customer engagement.
Macy’s then CMO, Martine Reardon, stated that “There's a customer who does all their research on a mobile device, but then they come in to touch it, try it on, and be entertained. Then, you've got a customer who just wants to be in that physical space, but now what she's doing is coming in and looking at everything, and then while going home she will go online on the subway and buy that handbag she was looking at. We blend these two worlds to make it easy for the channels you want to initiate and complete your transaction.”
Macy’s provides all the relevant information to the customers and allows them to make the final decision. They create content uniquely for every customer so that they engage in a fun and relevant way. The idea is to add entertainment to shopping process rather than being overtly burdensome.
7. Involve your customers - Sephora
Sephora is a beauty-retail concept founded in France by Dominique Mandonnaud in 1969. It includes brands with product categories including skincare, color, fragrance, body, and hair care, in addition to its own private label, Sephora collection. Sephora believes in customer engagement so well that they recently created a community, Beauty Insider Community, for customers to post beauty talks and participate in the conversations, ask questions, post answers, and involve in relevant conversations.
This community consists of five responsive features for customers to open the communication channel to its experts and fellow shoppers. It allows customers to make better-informed decisions and choose right products for themselves.
It also includes ‘Get Inspired’ gallery where consumers can directly upload their photos showcasing the ‘use’ of various products and tag those products - so that it’s easy for fellow shoppers to purchase.
8. Build trust and customer loyalty - IKEA
Customers expect you to treat them well, especially when they are loyal to you. IKEA has launched a kiosk-based loyalty program to its customers, which has attracted more than 1.6 million members in just a few months. IKEA offers special coupons and benefits to customers along with program branded merchandise and promotional events through their kiosks. This has improved customer engagement and increased their spending when they visit the store.
IKEA allowed new customers to enroll and receive a membership card on the spot so that they can avail the members-only prices which are lower than MRP. These cards also gave customers a chance to win monthly $100 FAMILY Sweepstakes, and use exclusive IKEA FAMILY discounts and offers.
IKEA counts on the continuous customer communication channel and has provided a number of resources for customers to reach them.
9. Apologize for your mistakes - Hobby Lobby
It must be natural to empathize with your customers and communicate in a friendly tone. And when you make a mistake, it is essential to say ‘sorry’ and mean it. It’s easy to go by but apologizing builds respect and trust.
Hobby Lobby president Steve Green apologized to the whole Jewish community when one of the employees responded rudely to a Jewish customer asking why the store did not carry bar mitzvah cards. The employee reportedly said, “We don’t cater to you people.” Had the president not apologized, Hobby Lobby should have lost not just Jewish customers but others too. Green said, “We sincerely apologize for any employee comments that may have offended anyone, especially our Jewish customers and friends. Comments like these do not reflect the feelings of our family or Hobby Lobby”.
10. Treat your employees well and your customers will notice - REI
Usually, when we talk about customer service, we tend to ignore customers. Employees are just as important as customers and the way you treat them throws the positive word of mouth out to customers. This develops a sense of respect for your brand in customers.
REI is a natural outdoor retail co-op dedicated to inspiring, educating and outfitting its members and the adventure community. It offers products from top brands for camping, climbing, cycling, fitness, hiking, paddling, snow sports and travel, including its own line of gear and apparel. REI respects its employees and in a gesture, it closed its stores on Black Friday since three years - something very unique move in the retail world. It closes all 143 stores and encourages its employees to use their paid day off to spend some time outside. It went really well with employees as well as customers. REI is cementing who they really are as a company with their customers.
Hope these stories encourage you to build strong relations with your customers and not just focus on your revenue. Let us know your stories in the comments below.