In our first of three posts centered on Loving Your Customers, we shared nine ideas to show customers that you genuinely value, appreciate, and care about them. These foundational practices will help you begin to establish trusting relationships with your customers.
In the second post, we added eight suggestions on how to show a deeper love for your customers, where you would take your service beyond the basics and, in the process, stand out from your competition.
In this third and final post, I want to share ten ways you can go beyond the status quo, exceed your customers’ expectations, and help develop a mutually-beneficial relationship that will sustain for the long-term.
1. Communicate regularly and consistently.
Don’t just be available when a customer has a need or a problem; be proactive by supplying progress reports and updates on projects, meet quarterly to discuss changes in their business, engage via social media, etc.
2. If you make a mistake, own it and apologize.
If you screw up, which will happen occasionally, take immediate responsibility, apologize, fix the error, and put a process or procedure in place to make sure the oversight does not occur again. Statistics show that customers are more influenced by how you respond to a mistake than they are in the mistake itself.
3. Make sure your services and deliverables are clearly explained.
Customers do not like surprises and they are upset by miscommunication even more, so make sure customers know exactly what they are paying for when they do business with you. Doing so will help to preserve trust and avoid the potential loss of a customer. Keep in mind that, no matter the dollar amount, customers will stop buying from you based on principal alone.
4. Add extra value whenever possible.
Provide value that is not contained in any contract or agreement; customers will be delighted and grateful for anything extra you offer; this can be something with a real dollar value attached or something as simple as your time.
5. Offer a loyalty and/or referral program.
It is a good practice to reward your customers; this can be in the form of a free product or free month of service for every year they do business with you or a gift or free product/service for any qualified lead they send your way.
6. Embrace your client’s brand.
Doing what you are paid to do is not enough; you need to embrace your customers’ service, product, people, and culture. If you love who they are, what they do, and what they are about; I assure you that they will love you back exponentially.
7. Do not be afraid to say ‘no’ to your customer.
The customer is always top priority, but they are not always right; and when it is in their best interest, it is important to discuss that with them. Remember, your customers are paying for your expertise, skills, and knowledge, so be brave enough to speak up when you have an opportunity to help a customer make a better decision or investment.
Don’t always wait for the customer to come to you; anticipate future needs and then provide the right solutions. This can be accomplished by staying up on their industry, have ongoing and consistent dialogue (see #1 above), and having the foresight to see what opportunities lie ahead. Do these and your customers will never have a reason to go anywhere else.
9. Make each customer feel as if they are your most important customer.
When a customer feels like they are your most important customer, you have taken a major step in creating a customer for life. It is one thing to provide a great product or service, which is expected; it is a whole other ballgame when you make someone feel uniquely special.
10. Apply the Golden Rule
I can’t stress how important and beneficial it is to treat your customer’s business as if it were your own, caring about their interests in the same manner you would want others to care about yours. It may seem a cliché, but this is the most powerful way to show love for your customers. Don’t just sell your service or product to your customers. Be concerned about their success and bottom line. Do everything you can to positively impact your customers’ businesses. If you do, you won’t have to tell them you love them – they’ll know it because they can see and experience it.