We live in a time and age where the words Customer Service don't really mean anything anymore.
When every company proclaims "we value customer service" and "we have the highest quality customer service" you can safely bet that they are failing the true test of Customer Service. That is, being different and providing clients with a WOW experience.
To truly provide a Wow experience for your clients you must understand the following:
The normal. Once you understand what your clients are used to, you can ensure that you provide a different and more positive experience for them.
Their expectations. This is different from the normal. Expectations are what your clients really expect out of you and your company. Over time their expectations may change though you should always do your best to understand what type of service they are expecting to receive. Knowing this will help you with the next step.
Consider the unexpected. Now it's time to think about what your clients would appreciate, value and that would be unexpected. If everyone in your industry is providing value by sending personalized thank you cards after purchase, you doing that as well only becomes the status quo. It's expected. Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to figure out how you can go above and beyond what everyone else is doing to WOW your clients.
Make it spreadable. If you have completed all of the above steps you will already be ahead of most of the people in your industry. But why stop there when you can multiply the WOW factor even further. To accomplish this give some thought to what initiatives you can implement that will not only WOW your clients, but that will also be easy for your clients to tell others about you. For example, if you send your client a loyalty type of thank you gift that only they can use and that stays in their office, they may well think about you each time they see it, but it becomes hard for them to tell others about you. Now imagine what happens when that same client gets a gift that they can share with their colleagues, friends or family (for example a basket with many delicious items in it)? You guessed it, they will be more than happy to share it, and each time they do your name will come up. That's how you make your WOW experience go viral and have many more people talking about you and your company.
Don't sell. Providing truly amazing customer service will help you grow your business. There's no doubt in that. However, when you provide these WOW experiences for your clients, be sure that you're not coming across as salesy or self-serving. By taking the best care of your clients, they will buy more from you, tell more people, and stay with you longer. There's no need to bombard them with sales talk to accomplish this.
It takes time. Yes, this isn't some get rich quick overnight success strategy. Providing WOW experiences and amazing customer service can take time for you to see the benefits in your business. It's an investment. However, it's an investment that is almost always guaranteed to pay you handsomely as time goes on. Astute marketers, consultants and business owners alike know that the real money in business comes from the back-end and not the front-end sales. Each time you bring a client through the door, you may make some money on that transaction. But your acquisition costs (the costs of marketing to and acquiring that client) eat away at your initial profit. The longer your client stays with you and the more they buy from you the more profit you make because your acquisition costs are already taken care of in most cases. Plus, it does wonders for employee morale and doesn't everyone like happier clients too?
Coming next … Part 2, Wow Stories
Michael Zipursky is a marketing consultant and the co-founder of FreshGigs.ca, a jobsite specializing in media and marketing jobs in Canada. His work has been featured in FOX Business, the Financial Times, HR Executive and other media.