Great customer service plays a vital role in retaining customers and maintaining financial success. But there’s more to customer service than hiring cheery employees and greeting customers at the door.
The best customer service is personalized. If asked, most businesses owners would probably say they already offer personalized customer service, but are they really?
Here’s a look at the value of personalized service, along with nine tips to make sure you and your staff are offering it:
Personalized customer service contributes to your bottom line
You can’t underestimate the value of customer service. A recent report shows 66 percent of consumers believe customer service is the biggest spending motivator. That same report states that companies that prioritize the customer experience generate 60 percent higher profits than their competition.
Personalized customer service shows customers you care
When your customers walk through the door and receive personalized service, they take note. In fact, in a study, 76 percent of customers believe that customer service is a representation of how a business values them.
By offering personalized service on a consistent basis, it sets a standard of care that your customers appreciate and come to expect.
Personalized customer service sets you apart
Consumers have a lot of choices, and personalized service can set your business apart from the competition.
Your competitors might be bigger than you, or even offer slight better prices. You can’t control these factors, but you can control the kind of service that you offer. For many consumers, a superior level of customer service is enough to sway their decision to shop with you over others.
Research shows that 55 percent of customers are willing to pay more for a product if they receive better customer service during and after a purchase.
Understanding the value of personalized service is important, but so is offering it. Here are some ideas that go beyond the typical “service with a smile:”
1. Get to know your customers by name
Knowing and using your customers’ names sounds simple. But, the gesture makes a major impact when it comes to building trust and relationships – There’s a reason why companies like Starbucks put so much emphasis into knowing and calling their customers by name, especially those who are loyal.
Research shows that major brain activation occurs when participants hear their own names being called. The experience is more memorable and customers feel valued. This is especially important knowing that 68% of customers will stop shopping at a business if they feel the business is indifferent towards them.
2. Recognize and reward loyal customers
When a repeat customers stops in, consider giving him or her a spontaneous discount for their continued business. For instance, a coffee shop might give a repeat customer a free cup of coffee one day. Simply say, “Thanks for being a loyal customer. Your drink is on the house today.”
This simple gesture goes a long way. It shows customers that you not only recognize them, but also appreciate their business.
3. Send handwritten notes
Have your staff sign birthday cards for your best customers and consider mailing a handwritten note of appreciation to your VIPs a few times a year.
4. Reward customers for valuable feedback
Encourage customers to give feedback on both good and bad experiences so you can improve procedures and customer satisfaction. Ninety seven percent of consumers are more likely to be loyal to a company that implements their feedback.
Consider rewarding customers for feedback that leads to changes, and give them credit for it on social media, your website and in a thank you note with a small gift certificate.
5. Do business with your customers
If your customers own a business, consider frequenting their establishment or using their services.
A lot of local business owners belong to associations or chambers of commerce. As you meet business owners and network with them you can support each other.
6. Educate your customers with free tastings, classes and demonstrations
Personalized service includes teaching customers new skills. Consider offering classes, workshops, webinars or tastings that add value to your customers’ lives.
A bar might offer a class on wine pairing; a coffee shop can offer classes on brewing the perfect holiday beverages; and a salon could offer a demonstration on easy summer up-dos.
7. Pamper your VIPs
Take the time to learn your customers’ names and interests during an after-hours shopping night for VIPs. Serve appetizers and beverages, and offer a special discount and free gift-wrapping as extra perks.
8. Create a customer loyalty program
If you don’t already have one, implement an effective customer loyalty program. Eighty one percent of consumers are more likely to continue doing business with brands that offer loyalty programs and 73 percent of loyalty program members are more likely to recommend brands with good loyalty programs.
9. Put the spotlight on customers
Feature a customer each month on social media, your website or in store. It’s an easy way to recognize the people that make your business a success. Snap their picture and post it on Facebook, or on a bulletin board in your shop.
Personalized customer service helps your business standout. By using the eight tips above, you and your staff can offer the kind of service that customers appreciate and respond to. How do you offer personalized service? What efforts do you make to offer personalize care? Share your thoughts in the comment section below.