I love my clients. They are bright, driven and considerate. What’s more, they’re a loyal bunch. Many of them have been with me since the launch of my company, and I’m kind of obsessed with doing right by them. On that basis alone, it would make sense for me to want to exceed their expectations, right? But there are so many more reasons to be fixated on customer success and satisfaction. Here are just a few:

  • Acquiring a new customer can cost up to 25 times more than retaining an existing customer.
  • According to Bain, all you need to do is increase your retention rates by 5% to increase your profits by more than 25%.
  • According to Gartner Group, 80% of your future revenue will come from your current customers.
  • 77% of consumers are more likely to buy a new product when learning about it from friends or family (and satisfied customers are more likely to sing your praises).

In spite of all these reasons to keep your customers happy, only 7% of consumers say that their service experiences with a company exceed their expectations. Clearly, we’ve got to do more to delight our customers.

Personally, I’m always looking for new ways to show my appreciation to my clients. With that in mind, I’ve compiled this checklist of 21 ways to delight your customers. I hope you’ll discover that it’s easier than you think!

1. Say Thanks

Start your customer relationships on a high note with a thank you note or gift. Here, a personal touch goes a long way. Consider sending a handwritten note or, for extra marks, a personalized welcome video.

2. Always Raise the Bar

This one should go without saying, but never get complacent or take your customers’ business for granted. My goal with every presentation, whiteboard, website or infographic I produce is to make it my best one yet, and for my client to be over the moon.

3. Manage Expectations

Speaking of the moon, don’t promise it. The worse thing you can do is set impossible expectations that lead to disappointment. Instead, set achievable expectations. Then, overdeliver on your promise by producing a better result, faster and, if possible, at a lower cost.

4. Be Responsive

Nobody likes to wait. Respond quickly to customer inquiries, even if all you do is acknowledge their message and assure them that you are working on their case.

5. Keep Customers in the Loop

Update customers on the status of their order or ongoing work. I’ve started to send weekly updates to my clients, letting them know what we’ve done for them over the past week and what we’re planning for the next. My clients tend to find those updates reassuring.

6. Turn Negatives into Positives

You can bend over backward to make every customer experience a positive one, but it’s a fact of life: problems will arise. Customer complaints are an opportunity: wouldn’t you rather customers voice their dissatisfaction than simply take their business elsewhere? If a customer complains, listen, take accountability for the problem and share your plans to resolve it. Then, act swiftly to correct the problem and follow up afterward to ensure that the situation was addressed to your customer’s satisfaction.

7. Ask for Feedback

Don’t wait for customers to complain to identify areas for improvement. Make a habit of asking customers how you can do better. At the end of each mandate, I’ve started sending out a brief customer satisfaction survey to my clients. I ask them to rate their satisfaction with our services and what we could do to bump up that score even higher.

8. Educate your Customers

Create useful content to help customers solve their problems and meet their objectives. On several occasions, I’ve created entire resources (like this SEO guide and this link building cheat sheet) for the very purpose of guiding a specific client through a challenge or task.

9. Show Them You’re Thinking of Them

Sign up for Google Alerts and follow your customers on social so that you can keep up with what they’re doing, and with industry trends that affect them. Then, reach out to congratulate them on special announcements, or to share an article you think might interest them.

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10. Get Personal

When customers share details about themselves — whether it’s the names of their kids, an artist they love, or their favourite treat – pay attention. Someday, it will come up in conversation, and they’ll be touched you remembered.

11. Remember Important Dates

Mark special dates, like the anniversary of the date they became customers or their birthday. Send them a personal greeting or treat them to a coffee with an electronic gift card.

12. Send Free Samples

Sending samples of your other products or services is a clever way to bring value to your customer, while also showcasing the breadth of your offering. Here’s a special offer I extended to my own customers, one Valentine’s day:

13. Reward Loyalty

Look for ways to pamper your most loyal customers with special offers or invitations just for them. A special discount, in addition to being a nice perk, provides an incentive to make the next purchase.

14. Surprise Them

Send customers a ‘just because’ gift every once in a while. Show a little personality with something a little unexpected. For example, while other companies send out Christmas cards, you could send customers a pretty cupcake in celebration of cupcake day?

15. Retweet or Share Customers’ Posts

They’ll benefit from extra visibility, and know that you helped spread the word.

16. Spotlight Customers

For customers who need a little extra visibility, consider creating content around them and sharing it with your subscribers and followers. I have often done that on my blog, in posts like this one and this one. Note of caution: make sure to first check with your customer that the attention would be welcome.

17. Network

I’ll bet you didn’t expect to find that one on the list. Networking doesn’t have to be about improving your own prospects. Introducing your customer to a new prospect or partner can sprout great opportunities for all concerned.

18. Be Consistent

Delighting your customers is something you should do consistently. If you’re dropping the ball on a regular basis, a grandiose gesture of appreciation won’t magically turn the tide on your customer relationship.

19. Make it a Habit

If you want to consistent delight your customers, harness the power of habits. Create operational triggers to remind you to carry out your plans. For example, at the moment when I set up a new customer in my accounting system, I have a reminder to send them a thank you note. When I send customers a final invoice at the end of a mandate, I am reminded to also send them a customer satisfaction survey.

Over To You

What creative ways have you found to delight your customers? I’d love to hear your ideas in the comments!

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