In an incredibly competitive business landscape, it is vital that you keep customers not just satisfied but delighted! In an extract from his book From Deadwood to Diamonds, Stefan Kazakis reveals how to wow customers – and keep them for years to come
So let’s have a look at how you delight your customers. Not satisfy, delight. If you want your customers to come back to you time and time and time again, just meeting their needs is not good enough. There are dozens, and maybe even hundreds, of other businesses out there that will meet your customers’ needs just as well as you can. It’s the minimum standard to be in business at all.
To build a prosperous and sustainable machine that puts money in your pocket for years to come, you need to be proactive and think outside the square. You need to keep getting better and be an innovator. You can’t simply wait until there’s a problem and then step in and help. You need to offer the solution to the problem, and more. You need to see the problem before they do. You should always be communicating with your customers and seeing what else you can do to help – there will always be something. If you run a gym, can you open up a small daycare to look after the kids while the parents do a workout? If you’re a mechanic, start washing your customers’ cars at no extra cost. If you sell computers, throw in a free game with every computer sold so the kids can’t wait to get home and use it. Go above and beyond. That’s how you delight your customers. That’s how you keep them coming back.
If you own a restaurant, feed them! Have an abundance mindset; don’t have an attitude of scarcity. Give them an extra glass of wine. Keep bringing them bread throughout the meal. Bring a free bowl of chips for the kids. The small cost will disappear into insignificance when you start turning your customers into raving fans who come back to your restaurant time and time again and they also tell their friends. Make a Customer Delight Culture a nonnegotiable part of the colour of your business. Don’t just serve your customers, wow them! Make sure all your staff have the same approach. Show them that you care, not with a fake smile and a voucher for $10 off next time but by genuinely caring and being interested. Play dumb and dig deep.
Make them feel as if they are the most important customer you have ever served – because they are. Each and every client is vital to the ongoing success of your business. A great question to ask yourself is, “How can I give my customers something more than they expect?” It’s simple but powerful. And here’s the key to creating a true Customer Delight Culture: you need to think outside the box when you answer this question. A daycare in a gym, washing cars for a mechanic and free games with a computer are great steps in the right direction, but they are just the beginning.
What about giving your clients movie tickets, or a voucher for a restaurant, or sending flowers on their birthday? Business owners often look a bit surprised when I make these suggestions. It usually goes something like this: “But I run a gym; why would I give them movie tickets?” I want you to have a think about this right now. Why would you give them movie tickets? Do you have the answer yet? Think about it … It’s actually really simple. You’d give them movie tickets because they’ll love it! That’s it! It doesn’t necessarily need to be related to your business. It doesn’t always have to be something they’ll expect from you or related to your products or services.
Imagine if you signed up for a gym membership and you received a welcome letter that contained two movie tickets. Or you picked your car up from the mechanic and the tickets were sitting on the front seat. Wouldn’t you be blown away? Wouldn’t you tell your friends? I sure would.
The critical non-essentials matrix
What are five things you can do for your customers that are critical for them to be delighted but that are not essential? Let’s have a look at what I call the Critical Nonessentials Matrix.
The key is the surprise element. If it’s not surprising it will become an essential and lose its impact. If your client expects something it won’t wow them nearly as much. So, give them a hand-written thank-you card thanking them for their custom and achievement; buy them movie tickets. And don’t be cheap – give them a free product or service upgrade or a voucher for a related business; take them out for a coffee, or lunch or dinner; send them a gift on their birthday (not a voucher for your business – this is not an opportunity to get another sale, it’s an opportunity to wow your customer).
This is a slightly amended version of an article written by Stefan Kazakis, business strategist, sought-after presenter and speaker, and author of the new book, From Deadwood to Diamonds. It has been shortened to make it suitable for web publishing