As a savvy business owner, you likely have some understanding of what a customer is worth over the life of their relationship with you. Showing a little extra love now can pay off big time down the road — happy customers breed more happy customers. Here are three of the most effective (and ROI-positive) strategies to making your customers smile.
Make it right.
Understand that things will go wrong from time to time, but bending over backward to make it right inspires loyalty. Know what would resolve the customer’s issue, and then do a little more to wow them. If complaints aren’t common then the money you spend will preserve, and possibly boost, the lifetime value of that customer. Even in cases where you spend more than the customer is worth, you maintain a happy customer that doesn’t slam you on social networks or declare loudly to everyone in earshot that they shouldn’t bring business to you. Going above and beyond for customers can turn them into advocates for your business — leading to glowing recommendations and more customers. I once had a negative experience with REI, and they went above and beyond to make it up to me. Since then, I’ve recommended them to everyone I know who’s looking for outdoor equipment. Spending money to make customers very happy will yield more customers in the long run, even if you spend more than the unhappy customer is worth in revenue to you.
Help them with EVERYTHING.
When speaking with customers, ask them if there’s anything you can do for them — and then help them with whatever it is they need. A customer service representative from the online shoe retailer Zappos once helped a customer track down pizza restaurants that were open late at night. They once also found a pair of shoes from a competitor for a gentleman that needed shoes urgently and had them delivered to his hotel. I’m not suggesting you turn your business into a full service concierge, but strange requests are the exception. But they’re exceptions that offer you the opportunity to create a stellar reputation that stands out from the pack. Going above and beyond will turn your customers into megaphones for your amazing service.
Don’t make the kinds of calls you get from annoying survey organizations, but call and thank them for their business. Make that the subject of your call. Don’t put a hard sell on for anything, just be gracious and thankful for their business. Ask them if there’s anything they need that you can do for them (see above), but if not, bid them farewell with another emphatic thank you. Leave a voicemail if need be, again emphasizing your gratitude for their business, and leave a phone number (one that reaches an actual human being). The amount of time you spend per call pales in comparison to the immediate business you could generate and the advocacy you will inspire.
Victor Echevarria is the Head of Business Development at TaskRabbit. Follow him on Twitter @etxeba.