I bet all of us like to be treated specially – we like it when we enter the barber’s and get a cup of coffee or a small glass of something stronger and then have a chat with the barber, who gladly listens and replies. We like individual offers, personalised packages and all kinds of such products. We can have a personal consultant in banking and a personal salesman in telecommunications. Why do mention this? Because treating our customers in a special way may prove to be our key to success.
We never know who our customer is
It’s not that we do not know whether our client is a woman or a man, but rather that they can turn out to be a famous person, a blogger known in a certain group of people or even a writer who we don’t really have to be familiar with. This is why it is worth treating each and every customer of ours in a special way, which improves their experience with the brand. In addition, it is worth noticing that according to the data provided by Xerox over 4% of the respondents would be glad to pay more for better treatment and better customer service.
Why don’t we try out individual customer service, then? It results in building long-term relationships, which are critical in the business. Thanks to such an approach we gain the following:
- customer’s loyalty which translates to new orders – thanks to flawless service, which the customer is fond of, we may be sure that when the consumer is selecting a product in the future, a signal will appear somewhere in their mind reminding them about the good times which you “had” together;
- so-called brand evangelists – fans of the brand who willingly share experiences with their loved ones and friends. They do it not only face to face, but also in the social media. This is a free form of promotion for us and it is extremely effective;
- excellent image of the brand that takes care of its recipients – thanks to this, our customers know that we not only sell good products or services, but we also have a high organisational culture, which translates into quality customer service.
After all, brands built this way have a much easier time dealing with crises and obstacles if they occur: they can always count on support from the loyal customers.
On the current market, many brands have offerings which are identical and differ only in price or additional services, which not always draw clients closer. This is why it is so important to give the buyers something more – a feeling of exclusiveness and specialness, which no other brand can offer. Let’s take a look at some examples. In some hotels, the receptionist has been replaced with a host who greets guests in the very vestibule: the reception desk no longer separates the host from the guest, everything is discussed in comfy armchairs, and so on and so forth. This is the case, for example, in the Andaz Hotels.
The right people in the right place
Employees are our strength. Note that the personnel’s mood depends on the way we treat and reward them. All this is felt by our customers. Let’s take a look at Richard Branson, who – even though he does not rank among the richest entrepreneurs in the world or have an innovative company – is an inspiration for many people.
Branson said “Customers are not the most important. The employees are the most important. If you take care of your employees, they will take care of your customers.” In his book, he wrote another important thing which should be engraved in each and every entrepreneur’s mind head: “You cannot make everyone happy. Even if you manage your company in the best way possible, there will always be some eternally displeased customers, the keeping of whom will cost you more than just losing them.” This means that sometimes it is worth giving up on a customer who generates high keeping costs. It is worth considering whether we would be better off transferring these resources and measures onto another customer who will appreciate our efforts.
Let’s get to the point. Two companies can be an example. The first one is the Sunglasses Hut shop in SoHo. One of the customers described a situation where they had been trying to find glasses that would fit him for quite some time. The same happened in this shop as well. They declined the personnel’s offer help and were looking for a perfect pair themselves. In the meantime, the Sunglass Hut employee took the liberty of selecting two pairs which – as it turned out – fitted perfectly. Of course, the customer described the entire situation in social media. What worked in this situation? The knowledge and experience of the personnel who was very good at their job.
The other example is the story of John DiJulius, who stayed at the Ritz-Carlton hotel. When leaving the hotel, he forgot his laptop charger. The customer wanted to call the hotel, but decided to do it after he arrived home. The following day, he found his lost charger waiting for him in the office, accompanied by an extra charger sent as a bonus from the hotel.
Yet another interesting story deals with the Warby Parker brand, which is known for quality customer service. Warby Parker is a brand of glasses which is a socially responsible business. For each pair of glasses they sell, they provide one for a child who needs but cannot afford it. In addition, the company introduced the system for trying the glasses on at home if we want to buy them online. All we have to do is order frames which are appealing for us: we will receive them at home and if we choose the ones we like, the rest will be collected by the courier and we will pay only for those which we kept. All without any additional costs. By the way, let us take a look at the story of Michael John Mathis.
The man forgot his pair of glasses on the train. Some time later, he received a delivery from Warby Parker containing those glasses and a spare pair. As it turned out, a company employee was sitting opposite to him – they noticed what happened and moved heaven and earth for the loss to be returned to the customer.
There are a lot of such stories about brands. These are no exceptions because companies like those described above, or the Zappos shop known around the world for that matter, have high standards of service embedded in their organisational culture. Even unprecedented situations employees find themselves in are solved in a subtle, skilful and unique manner. There are also companies on the Polish market which value customer satisfaction above everything else. There is no need to search far. Coffeedesk or Hard Beans Coffee Roasters are like this: these are places where the customer is put first.
Road to success leads through the client’s hearts
Maybe the above slogan is a bit lofty, but it’s true that the way we build relations with our customers indeed translates into their feelings towards our company. Building long-term relationships is very important because satisfied regulars will more keenly buy our products if there has been no problems with them so far and the buyer received something more – exceptional customer service.