We’ve fallen into a particular trap when we talk about the customer experience. We want customers to be satisfied and loyal – but what do we really mean by that? Typically, discussions of customer loyalty mean that they’ll stick by your brand, but that doesn’t necessarily say much depending on how competitive the marketplace is. Are you competitors simply subpar, while you do an average job? Or are customers really committed and excited about your brand?
It’s time to reconsider the language of customer satisfaction and make a shift towards something better – customer excitement. How can we motivate customers to form attachments to our businesses, recommend them, and look forward to their shopping experience? That will take more than just a friendly staff and good selection – it will take ingenuity and commitment.
Considering Customer Happiness
Happiness may seem like a vague term, but it can offer a lot of value to your business. While happiness holds satisfaction in its scope, another factor measured when considering happiness is trust. Trust works because customers find trust more rewarding than most other factors, including selection, location, and price. In an atmosphere where trust is increasingly rare, utilize it to your advantage. Train your staff to listen, be upfront, and engage in real and meaningful ways with customers. Customers that trust you to help them are the happiest, even when you can’t pull through.
Making your marketing personal is an extension of building trust. How can you focus your efforts on the personal needs of a plethora of customers, though? There are several ways to approach this. One is to offer a wide variety of options, already accessible, even before customers think they need them. For instance, if you offer makeup tutorials, for example, make sure they feature a range of products, as well as skin tones and occasions. These should be clearly categorized with tags or other metadata that make the materials searchable for customers.
Another aspect of keeping your marketing personal is to simply treat all customers as though they are the only person in the store. This means working with your customer service staff to craft a variety of approaches for engaging customers. It also means focusing assessments on speed of service and creativity of solutions. These are the features that turn satisfaction into delight.
Build From Loyalty
No one is saying that customer loyalty is a bad thing, only that customer loyalty isn’t the end of the line. One way to build baseline customer loyalty is with coupons, particularly big deals meant to anchor customers so that they’ll return. This can be especially helpful for local businesses that can focus on personalization and high-level customer service after using coupons to attract business. A good deal brings customers in, good service makes them loyal, and consistency combined with high quality products can expand into excitement.
No matter how you’re approaching the goal of customer excitement or delight, it’s important to always assess your strategies. Offer online surveys about opinions and experiences, and encourage customers to participate in them. Remember: data is your friend. The more you know about customer responses to your business strategies, the more you can improve them and return to the drawing board to improve the shopping experience.