“The purpose of a business is to create and keep a customer” – Peter Drucker
Customer care & delight is simple, but powerful, isn’t it?
Your purpose is to attract the exact people who long for your product or service and make sure they return because YOU built this extraordinary experience for them.
Yes, we are aware that by today’s standards of online competitiveness, that can be difficult. But at the same time, a broader perspective helps us realize where it all starts from.
In this article, we’ll direct you through an enlightening venture from core to tactics, from building to retaining a genuine audience. At the end of it, you’ll be equipped with:
- A deeper understanding of whom we’re dealing with here and where the need to have a customer care and delight strategy derives from
- An A-Ha moment of why you want to delight and not only care about your clientele
- Knowledge of the satisfaction continuum that shapes your customers’ demands
- 10 tactics that you’ll be able to apply immediately in order to delight your customers into repurchasing behaviors
- A practical exercise to determine what more you can practice that fits YOUR business.
Who are we dealing with?
BusinessBrief.com showed that, by default, each year you lose at least 14% of your customers. This means that for each 10 clients, you’re going to miss out on 1.4 of them, anyhow; indifferent of your efforts.
The Wall Street Journal has furtherly pointed out that 66% of your clients are primarily lost due to indifference and only 14% because they are not happy with what you’re offering. Basically, you’re dropping a little over 1 person (funny, how that sounds, right?!) out of 2 because you don’t nurture the relationship; because they don’t feel valued. We’re emotional beings! That’s where we make the difference. That’s where YOU, as an online business owner, make a difference for your regular shoppers!
So, first and foremost:
Do you afford to keep losing more than half business every year because you don’t quite focus on customer care, let alone their delight?
Bain & Company released the following incentive: increase customer retention rates by 5% and you will increase your profits by at least 25%! How does this sound as an alternative to the scenario above?
The E-triangle to generate your Customer Care & Delight strategy from
All right! So, where do we start from?
As always, we begin inside – out. We commence with putting in the necessary efforts to create those memorable experiences that overcome our audience’s expectations so that they feel the urge to come back time and time again. We want them to return because when our retention rates go up 5%, our profits grow at least 4 times faster!
The endeavours – experience – expectations tandem is the strategic triangle which enables you to build a solid strategy so that you would attract and retain customers.
Different statistics show that it costs you at least 4 times more to bring in a new customer than to hold an old one close. So why work more when you can work smarter? Endeavors are all the efforts you need to put in to create an authentic, engaging customer experience.
Impact Communications states that 70% of people make purchasing decisions to solve problems, whereas the remaining percentage choose to gain something specific out of it. Customer experiences, therefore, become emotional responses to the client – deliverable dynamics. So, how do you want to make your crowd feel?
Clientele expectations change continuously. Moreover, market segments imprint various anticipations. But most of the image we create through our marketing efforts is actually done by word of mouth. According to Journal of Marketing, a referred customer is 18% more loyal than a customer acquired through a different method.
Gather your team and prepare 3 flipcharts for them. Brainstorm on the next 3 questions giving 10 minutes for each in this order:
- Ideally, how do you want your customers to feel when they interact with your product?
- Ideally, how do you want your customers to feel when they interact with your brand? What is their relationship with your entire identity?
- What are you doing now to reach these results and how much does it cost you to do so?
- Arrange the flipcharts in the form of a triangle placing experiences at the top, expectations on the right corner and endeavors on the left corner of it.
The Satisfaction Continuum
Indifferent of what we’re intentionally doing, when we show up and perform the work, customers will feel one way or another and afterward they will react towards our brand accordingly. In the current literature, it’s argued whether the stages of satisfaction or dissatisfaction are part of a continuum or not. But here, we’re analyzing them individually, as separate emotional response levels.
|Context Definition||A customer’s extremely strong reaction of anger, shock or indignation after a contact with our company, products or services||A customer’s lack of satisfaction; a customer’s displeasure caused by the interaction with our company, products or services||A customer’s fulfillment of wishes, expectations, or needs; a customer’s pleasure derived from the interaction with our company, products or services||A customer’s great pleasure as a result of his contact with our company, products or services|
|Customer Experience is||Unpleasantly Memorable||Unpleasant||Pleasant||Pleasantly Memorable|
|Expectations are||Known or Unknown||Known||Known||Unknown|
|Customer Expectations are||SURPRISINGLY not met||Not met||Met or a bit exceeded||SURPRISINGLY exceeded|
|Endeavors||Keep the situation under control by minimizing hassles||Listen to the customer and his discontent so that you could build a strategy to manage it||Implement strategy from clients’ feedback with positive results||Customer Focus Culture|
|Where do you want to be?||CUSTOMER CARE||CUSTOMER DELIGHT|
Customers live out more or less powerful experiences, but in conformity with the extent to which their expectations are met, they remember you. Or not. This means that intensity makes a difference. You want to paint bright experiences for your customers; to design complex, deep and expansive moments that will anchor their purchasing behavior to your online store. You want to maintain an affective connection to your clients. They’re thousands of other businesses that can do what you do; some of them already do it better, even. But recognizing and validating your audience so much as to make them feel special distinguishes you.
On the competitive side of this matter, since there are so many fish in the pond, the mediocrity bar (or pool) has been set. Thus, most of the times, it seems easy to exceed customer expectations. There’s not much competition there, for most businesses settle for just meeting them. You want to focus on your audience, on getting to know them and what would fascinate them. You want to surprise them.
Together with your team, analyze last quarter’s customer feedback and jot down on 2 flipcharts:
- What kind of experiences do your customers perceive to have with your products?
- What expectations do your customers have towards your brand, the experiences you’re delivering them and how you two relate?
Overlap these 2 flipcharts with the ones from the previous exercise and observe gaps between what you want to offer and what you actually offer. These differences become your Focus Areas in your Customer Care and Delight strategy.
Why do customer delight when you can just do customer care?
But why go above and beyond to impress a handful of customers when you can calmly do what you’ve been doing all along?
- Because you don’t really afford to be dropping every other 1.4 customers. Remember? We had this talk earlier, scroll up at the beginning of this article. *wink
- Because, again, your profits grow by at least 25% when you up your retention rates by only 5%
- Because people talk! Only 1 out of 26 complainants speak up directly to you. (Esteban Kolsky, CEO of ThinkJar, in his annual customer experience survey) The rest of them talk to their friends and families. Each dissatisfied customer tells 8-16 people about their negative experience (Lee Resource Inc.). Now, imagine what an outraged client might do. Yes, Word of Mouth is still what makes you or breaks you.
- Because people talk even more when they’re happy! Satisfied customers don’t share their experiences – cause everybody can functionally satisfy them. But delighted ones do – cause they just need to brag.
- Because being different is cool! Ben has an online shop called Ben’s Online Shop. Ben delights his customers by surprising them with hand-made gifts. Ben’s customers chat about him all the time. 65% of Ben’s company’s new business is from referrals (New York Times statistic). This way, Ben gains competitive advantage on his market segment. Ben is different. Be like Ben!
- Because when your clientele is thrilled or wowed, they just have to have the products and/or services that they love – which is, in fact, your products and services. At this point, they are willing to queue up for them – like they do for the new iPhones; does it ring a bell? Furthermore, they are open to spending extra for it. You get to charge more for what you’re offering with the same production costs – which, in turn, improves your bottom line – just because you include these additional “treats” that make them feel special.
10 tactics for customer care & delight in your online shop
Online customers primarily want 3 main things: an easy checkout, a great variety of products, and online tracking ability. If you have this and add a personalized message at the end of their shopping spree on your site, they might just come back.
- Handwritten “Thank You!” notes
Impress your new clients at least by sending them a customized, handwritten card to point out what exactly are you grateful for. This usually creates buzz and the small gesture makes a real difference.
- Send tailored gifts
If you really want to show a client how much you appreciate them, send them something you know he wants! How do you find out what he wants? Well, we’re living in a multi-channel era, so get busy multi-channeling and checking or even following your clients’ other social media accounts. At some point, they might specifically declare what they desire. If they don’t, at least, you can make a pretty good idea from the rest of the information you can dig up there.
- Quote your customers on Social Media
Since we’re on the other Social Media platforms, and you are following them there, quote them; retweet them; hashtag their small business, etc. Let them know you’re paying attention, that you’re interested in what they have to say and that you value them as much as to share THEIR insights with your own network.
- Answer Personally to E-mails
Customers are extremely happy when they receive answers to either inquiries, service support issues or just questions they have from people directly in charge of those areas or even the CEO. It impresses them to know that people at the top pay attention to them and, afterward, they easily brag about it.
- Establish Personal Contact
Call them! On holidays, their birthdays, anniversaries or when they’re having another important moment they’ve mentioned at some point, call them to congratulate and let them know you’re there! Or send them a sign, no matter how: newsletter, homing pigeons, direct mail, JibJab cards.
- Take them Out for Coffee
You can organize a contest or select a couple of your customers randomly and take them for a coffee, or a celebratory dinner, or whatever small event that will put you together at the same table and allow you to connect deeper. No, there’s no need for background checks before. We’re all humans, here. 🙂
- Short Movies
You either have the option of a self-made short movie to say “Thanks!”, “Hi!”, wish them something or those funny, already made movies that allow you to put your picture there and it seems like you’re the protagonist. This way you please and entertain your customers.
- Learning Events
Maybe you’re providing B2B services and you can just organize an offline Learning Circle for your best, closest customers. After all, we’re all learning here, striving to grow and deeply appreciate good content and being able to share ideas and get fresh perspectives.
- Gift Cards
Another popular thing you can give away easily is, obviously, gift cards. According to your clients’ interests, you can easily send them gift cards as a way of thanking them for being loyal to your brand. Or discount vouchers at your shop!
These are only a few of the ideas we had or gathered, but we’re sure there are still plenty out there that you can tap into.
Team up with your staff and brainstorm on other tactics that you can apply specifically for your business to impress your customers and build loyalty. Write them down on a flipchart, assign account managers if necessary and start implementing.
In conclusion, 4 easy steps to build a profitable Customer Care and Delight strategy could be as it follows:
- You start by setting experience and expectation standards
- Then, you acknowledge what you’re already doing in the eyes of your clientele – where you are actually positioned in the satisfaction continuum
- Step 3 – you overlay what you want to deliver over what you think you’re delivering and write down the gaps
- On those gaps, you come up with clear endeavors to minimize them and win your audience’s loyalty
As you have probably already noticed from the 10 specific tactics we provided in this article, customer delight is not about a pool of clients, but rather making a difference one customer at a time!
Please do me a little favor and share this guide with others, for there’s a good chance that it will help them with their marketing endeavors.
Now, back to you! What tactics are you deploying in your Customer Care & Delight Strategies?