You’ve most likely had memorable customer service experiences, both good and bad.  How did your impressions of those businesses influence your decision to return?

A customer’s experience has virtually everything to do with whether or not he or she returns to your business. By providing exceptional customer service complete with the “wow” factor, you can be confident that you are creating a loyal clientele who will help you grow your business.

Here are some suggestions for how to wow your customers by going the extra mile.

  • Provide rush orders.  This service can be especially helpful when a customer is seeking a last-minute gift or needs something in time for a business trip or vacation.  If you are able, it’s a good idea to offer this service free of charge or for a discounted rate.  Doing so demonstrates that your customer’s need comes first, and that person will certainly not hesitate to patronize your business again and recommend you to others.
  • Make special deliveries.  You can do this to save a customer the shipping cost or even just to provide an extra convenience.  Not many businesses make “house calls” anymore, so offering this service will definitely impress your customers.  You could even promote this service when people are especially busy, like around the winter holidays or during prom/graduation/wedding season.  Your competitors are probably not making door-to-door deliveries, so this will also give you a leg up on them.
  • Give small thank-you gifts.  The best way to do this is to personalize the gifts you provide.  For example, you might have a customer who regularly makes purchases from your line of all-natural moisturizers.  She has recently announced she is expecting another baby, so the next time she comes in for her moisturizer, consider giving her a sample-sized bottle of your chemical-free baby shampoo.  You’ll be thanking her for her loyalty and showing that she is more than just a sale because you’ve been paying attention to not only what she buys, but what is happening in her life, and how you can fill a need.  She’s unlikely to forget you exceptional service.
  • Offer special discounts for special dates.  Perhaps you take 10% off an order on a customer’s birthday, or give a voucher for a free dessert on a wedding anniversary. Again, it pays to get creative about how you can implement this service.  You’ll be giving your customers an incentive to do business with you, and they’ll appreciate your desire to recognize their special day.
  • Get involved in their passions.  If you can find a way to relate to what your customers are passionate about, you will be giving them a great reason to give you repeat business.  For example, one of your customers has mentioned that he is putting together a fundraiser to get a local park renovated because he really wants his children to have a safe place to play.  As a local business owner, you could donate a gift basket as a giveaway or even provide a service for the event such as free program printing.  Your customers will always remember that you have something important to them in common, and will be impressed by your commitment to their interests.

How do you provide outstanding customer service?  Please share your ideas below!