Beyond the “like”

What is your favorite neighborhood restaurant? Now, while thinking about that restaurant, what if the next time you went there for dinner, they made you wait for one hour past your reservation time, then the server was inattentive and rude, and they charged you for things that you didn’t order? What if that happened again the next time you went there? Would that restaurant still be your favorite? Chances are, you’d find a new favorite restaurant, because your experience was horrible. Simply offering great food is not enough; consumers expect great service, too.

The competition is relentless out there. There are so many options for consumers to choose from, yet somehow, the majority of us choose a brand and if we’re satisfied, we stick with it. Why is that?

When shopping for a product or service, the consumer, both consciously and subconsciously, evaluates a number of different aspects of the business as well as the product or service. It is in this evaluation that the company has one chance to make a lasting impression. This ‘first impression,’ if executed properly, will guide the consumer down the path from like to love.

Once upon a time, the company with the best product or service won the deal. Today, that isn’t the case. Service means everything and it is the difference between winning and losing. So, how are winning companies delighting customers?

Here are some ways:

1. Personal Interaction: Technology, such as a CRM platform, can greatly assist you in managing these relationships, and making sure you do not miss a beat when it comes to remembering important and personal information about your customers and leads.

2. Listening: Whether it is an account issue, general question, or feedback, make sure that your customers are heard. It is important to know your customers: What previous interactions have they had with your company? What is their purchase history? When support people are equipped with that kind information, the interactions are more personal and the customer feels like they’re being heard.

3. Staying Connected: Tell your customers that you value their business and stay top by following up by email or direct mail campaigns. One company that is doing this well is Overstock. Every time I make a purchase, I get a follow up email thanking me for my purchase. In that email, it includes links to other products I might be interested in, based on my purchasing history.

4. Rewards: Make sure you are offering incentives and special discounts or promotions. For example…If I told you that I’d give you $100 for every person you directed to my blog, would you pass the word?

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