Customer Experience News & Trends

6 radical ways to connect with customers

Make it personal. That’s what most customers want in an experience these days. Here are six radical ways to connect with customers.

Connections build loyalty. But it’s increasingly difficult to make connections because customers and businesses interact so often online or through self-service channels.

That’s why it’s important for customer experience professionals to make the most of every personal interaction they have with customers. The good news: Most customers appreciate the extra effort. More than 50% say they like it when service is personalized to their interests, a recent Verint study found.

Use these techniques to connect, even during short interactions:

1. Be a boomerang

“Follow the boomerang principle,” says Susan Meyer-Miller, author of Speak with Power, Passion and Pizzazz!

If you show interest in customers, their interest in you and your company will increase. You can learn more about customers or their businesses, by asking, when appropriate:

  • “Why does this product work for you?” when they order
  • “How is your business changing?” when they make changes to normal buying habits, or
  • “What’s your latest success?” when they mention a positive change. It gives you a chance to congratulate them.

2. Be radically present

Listen for feelings, not just facts, then acknowledge them.

Customers will tell you what’s wrong, but might not tell you how it affects them or makes them feel. When you acknowledge unmentioned feelings or ask them how they’re feeling, they grow to trust you more. Say:

  • “I can tell that’s frustrating”
  • “You deserve to be upset,” and/or
  • “I can imagine how excited you are.”

3. Give individual solutions

Even if you are offering a cookie-cutter solution, you can make a customer feel like he’s one-of-a-kind with a unique problem that you’re happy to resolve with a made-to-order solution.

Say, “I can tailor this to meet exactly what you need.”

4. Tend to details

Customers won’t feel valued if their names are spelled wrong on correspondence or if people within your organization mispronounce their names.

And they won’t stay loyal if they don’t understand your processes and schedules. Periodically check that everything on correspondence is correct and they fully understand turnaround time or order processes, for example.

5. Send a note

The convenience and necessity of social media and online help can’t be overlooked. It’s what customers expect now, and that likely won’t change.

It’s also the reason personal, handwritten notes are particularly significant. They are few and far between, but when people get real notes, they usually cherish them. Proof: Cards get hung up for others to see and read. Emails, tweets, social media chats and blog posts don’t.

6. Give them the option to engage

Not all customers want every experience personalized. Some think it’s creepy if you know too much and act too familiar. Specifically, 48% of customers in the Verint study said they were suspicious of how a company uses their data.

Unless you have an established relationship, ask customers questions rather than tell them what you know. For instance, instead of saying, “You always order 100 in blue. I can get that for you,” say, “Do you still have the same color and quantity preferences?”

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  • Great article Michele. Tend to details is certainly important, the amount of times within an email or live chat where the name is spelled out in front of the responder, and they spell it incorrectly or completely get the wrong name.