It’s 2020 and the “hard sell” is officially dead. I mean, really dead. Making customers feel like they are just a dollar sign is a huge turn-off and shows lack of genuine service. At the heart of any business, exceptional service is what can instill loyalty, drive referrals, and develop into long-term business relationships that are mutually beneficial. Our job as business owners is to succeed at solving challenges for our customers in an efficient, knowledgeable, and friendly manner that shows that we care about their needs. And now, more than ever, it is a fundamental priority to use those challenges to create personalized customer experiences that elevate your service effectiveness.

 

Finding Their Sweet Spot

Going the extra mile is not just a single-step process or a one-size-fits-all type of service. In fact, it’s the opposite, it’s applying continuous effort towards nurturing the unique relationship with your clients and customers. Pay attention to the little nuances that come from your customers, maybe they light up when you show up in person for a brainstorming meeting, or they brag about your proactive services on social media. You can use these cues to discover what they appreciate, and then hit the mark by staying consistent with your tailored approach.

With that in mind, the following are a few of the high-ranking features that have been identified as influencing the value of a business in which customers feel compelled to pay a little more for:     

 

Industry Expertise

As an expert in your field, you have an abundance of knowledge. I do not doubt this. Every single business owner that I come into contact with is a wealth of information for that industry and could talk for days about it. And I love that! But it’s probably pretty unlikely that you’re able to convey that expertise in-person or via telephone on a regular basis to your customers.

In comes social media. This is a perfect opportunity for you to share this amazing insight that you have, in short, branded bursts that are easy to digest and in what’s called inbound marketing. Your customers have liked or followed you because they like what you offer, so now they are here for what you have to say – be sure to leverage this. It will continue to build your credibility, and when they are ready to buy (or buy again), you’re at the forefront of their minds.

 

Personalized Communication

Handwritten notes and welcome letters are such an influential action that can be done with a little preparation and some nice branded letterhead or memo cards on-hand. Studies have shown that people still really value a quick, hand-written note or a hand-signed welcome letter, because it represents your sincerity in the business relationship. You’ve taken the time to produce the materials and written a thoughtful but simple welcome letter – nothing says you care more about that one-to-one connection than this. Emails are great, and convenient, but these tokens of time are like small gifts of appreciation and effort that go a long way.  

 

Loyalty Programs

This is going to vary widely depending on your business, but it doesn’t have to be complicated. A simple branded punch card or a point system built into your cashier software that sends alerts when they’ve reached a rewardable goal is as much as you may need. With these incentives in place, customers who already love what you offer feel even more compelled to shop or do business with you because you are acknowledging their loyalty with more of what they already love. Win-win! Make a big deal about this so people are aware of your loyalty program, and most of all – make it simple, and you’re bound to see some very good results.  

 

Up-to-Date Technology

This is a biggie. Technology is making lives easier at home, at schools, and at work – it’s engrained into our culture as a part of life. The key component here is efficiency and user-friendliness. Navigating a clunky website that doesn’t give key call outs of where to click is frustrating and trying to use an on-site signup form that asks too many questions or takes forever to load is just downright annoying. Treating your customers or clients like their time is extremely valuable is an important step to recognize. Put yourself in their shoes and see it from their point of view. Would you be embarrassed of your business technology’s platform? Does it provide a quick and easy experience that ends with a smile?

 

All in all, customers return to–and refer to–business who provide superior experiences. Sometimes exceptional service is priceless, and other times, well, it’s just worth paying more for.