By: Gordon Conner
Did you know that you have an advantage over the big box retailers? You can do unique and strange stuff to WOW your customers. You don’t have any corporate red tape to stop you. You’re right there in the trenches, or on the phone every day. If you want to give a customer a discount, it’s your call.
So let’s look at the kinds of things you can do to knock the customer’s shoes and socks off, without putting yourself out of business.
Let’s look at 6 ways to get that WOW factor on the cheap:
1. Ultimate Responsiveness
You hear about it all the time. Your friends and neighbors are always complaining about the lack of follow up they receive from businesses, large and small. I run across this all the time and it drives me crazy.
When people reach out to you, they need answers. They aren’t passing time. They have a problem! And if you just put them off, they’ll just get more frustrated and unhappy.
So return those calls, fast. That includes phone calls, emails and social media comments. Within 24 hours? How about ONE hour?
2. Be a Know-it-all about your product
When it comes to customer service, this is the biggest problem area. One of the greatest advantages of shopping with small merchants is being able to learn more about the product than what a big box guy can read off the package.
It might take a little extra time to train your staff to know their products, but it’s one of the best investments of time you’ll ever make.
3. Give away UNEXPECTED FREEBIES
Do you remember the days when restaurants offered free deserts on your birthday? Then you’ll appreciate how exciting an unexpected freebie can be.
Everyone is looking for more value these days and all businesses are cutting costs everywhere they can. Now is a great time for the freebie. It can go a long way.
Maybe it’s as simple as a thank you card, or free gift-wrapping.
4. Be a fun place to be
I’ve been in businesses where the person behind the register didn’t even look up. Not even a hello! Nothing! What’s that all about? Obviously, she had no interest in helping me. So my question is, why have a person sitting there at all? Why not just save that money?
I think a better idea would be to look for opportunities to make me feel welcome. Just help your staff understand the value of being friendly and approachable at every touchpoint. It’s more profitable, and more fun.
5. Every chance you get, GO ABOVE AND BEYOND
The only way to WOW your customers is to exceed their expectations. That means going beyond the call of duty.
If you want a good example of customer service, just listen to the stories you hear about Zappos every day. For example, there’s the story of the fellow who was looking for a specific pair of shoes for his daughter, but they weren’t available on their website. So the representative went to work. He double-checked his inventory, checked other websites and even checked eBay, in spite of the fact that Zappos wouldn’t make any money. It’s all about going above and beyond, even though it may not be profitable today.
6. REALLY KNOW YOUR CUSTOMERS
Ever watch the TV show, Cheers? Sometimes it’s nice to go where everybody knows your name. When you visit a favorite local business, and they call you by name, feels good, doesn’t it? Feels like you belong there. And you don’t have to buy a fancy CRM system to make that happen.
Here’s a great example. The restaurant’s name is ECHO. They had a customer with very specific dietary needs. They could have simply provided a special meal and let the customer be on his way. Instead, they created a special spreadsheet of his specific needs so they could use it during his next visit. They got to know the customer, and with that one gesture went above and beyond, created a welcoming atmosphere and were incredibly responsive-WOW!
HOW DO YOU WOW YOUR SMALL BUSINESS CUSTOMERS?
About the Author
Gordon Conner is a Branding Consultant/Coach and Copywriter who helps build killer brands for small local businesses. He has been providing advertising, marketing, branding and copywriting services for 39 years and lives in Midlothian, Virginia. He can be reached at Gordon@BranWorks.com, or www.BranWorks.com