Customer Experience News & Trends

7 small gestures that make big customer impressions

When it comes to creating great customer experiences, a little can go a long way.

Sometimes we don’t give the little details the credit they deserve in the overall customer experience. The small gestures that customers really notice are often forgotten or never even practiced.

“There is a difference between customer satisfaction and customer retention,” says Richard Shapiro, president of customer service research and training company, The Center of Client Retention. ” Strong relationships definitely increase the probability that your customer remains yours and not your competitors.”

Build greater relationships

So it’s important to keep an eye on the details.

Here are seven little things you can do to build greater relationships with new and existing customers:

  1. List it. New customers need to know more about your products and services than repeat customers. Often, that information is buried in piles of paperwork or across a bunch of website pages. Make it easier. Bullet point the info new customers ask about most, and put it in print and digital documents for easy sending and downloading.
  2. Manage the first impression. The first contact with new customers should almost always be the most flexible. Customers want to deal with companies and people who make their lives easier. So let them make as many choices as possible with educated guidance from employees.
  3. Put on the right spin. Make sure your email, website and letters have a friendly, positive and welcoming tone. One common example: Instead of, “No returns after 30 days,” say, “We gladly accept your returns within 30 days.” The switch in language shows what you do, not what you don’t do.
  4. Use names. Customers will give their names at some point in nearly every interaction. It may be as soon as employees introduce themselves, or it might only be when they hand over credit card info to pay. Regardless, employees need to start using customers’ names to build relationships as soon as they know them.
  5. Quantify power. Employees can build satisfaction in an instant when they have the power to make customers happy on the spot. For many companies, that’s a dollar amount service reps know they can spend to satisfy a customer without going to a supervisor for approval. Look at the worth of your products and lifetime customer value to determine the amount. Then, back up your employees when they make decisions to spend that on customers.
  6. Be observant. One of the easiest ways to connect with customers is to find common ground. It’s often written all over them. Perhaps they’re wearing a sports jersey, mentioning a young child or boasting about a promotion. Front-line employees want to ask about these things customers care about.
  7. Stay focused. People are constantly distracted by technology today. So getting the full attention of a company and its people stands out to customers. You likely can’t prohibit personal cell phone and computer use, but it behooves any organization to limit it to times and places where customers aren’t part of the situation.

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