While a customer may find your business by accident, whether or not they return is a conscious decision.
These days, when there are so many options to get what we need online or around the corner, what can really inspire customers to come back is you. Or more specifically, it’s the experience customers have when they’re at your place of business.
It doesn’t matter if you’re selling exotic vacations or tax consulting services, if you can create a WOW! experience for the customer, you’ll make an indelible imprint on their memory.
The next time they’re thinking about the products and services you offer, or a friend mentions that they need something you sell, the memory is triggered. This is how first-time customers become repeat customers and your own personal word-of-mouth marketers.
Creating a WOW! Customer Experience
How do you create that wow experience?
It’s easier than you think. It doesn’t need to be a grand gesture and it doesn’t need to cut into your profits. You can create a memorable experience for customers in lots of different ways. Here are some of my favorite examples.
Allegria Spa in Beaver Creek, Colorado is dedicated to providing customers with a personal touch every time they receive a spa service or an email.
By focusing on delivering a personalized experience both in person and online, Allegria has a keen understanding of the needs and interests of its customers on an individual basis. This knowledge continues to grow through face-to-face customer interactions and by analyzing email marketing results.
Allegria applies this knowledge to improve the customer’s onsite spa experience and create even more targeted messages and offers that clients look forward to receiving. Not only are Allegria’s response rates double the industry average for salons and spas, their personalized touch and high customer satisfaction ratings have landed them in the pages of Forbes, CNN Travel and Travel & Leisure magazines.
Another great example is the law firm Rains Lucia Stern, PC. The firm’s approach to marketing is all about building strong client relationships. They do this with an integrated marketing approach that includes email, events, and surveys.
The firm’s emails provide helpful information to clients in the form of snippets of articles written by attorneys that link back to the firm’s website. As part of a full engagement marketing cycle that’s designed to continuously improve the client experience, the firm regularly checks in to make sure its content is covering the topics that are of most interest to clients.
Through regular communications and a dedicated feedback loop, the firm is able to attract upwards of 200 attendees at its monthly educational events. Also, by providing clients with an opportunity to share their insight and opinions, Rains Lucia Stern, PC is able to strengthen client relationships and foster positive word-of-mouth while ensuring every event and email that clients receive is engaging and valuable.
There are many other tried-and-true practices that sway customers to choose you over the competition.
These include gift-wrapping, complementary wine tastings, or free product assembly. Some smart entrepreneurs even thank their customers by presenting them with an offer that has absolutely nothing to do with their business. For example, customers that spend a certain amount at Urban Elements furniture are presented with a gift certificate for a free massage offered by another local small business.
Getting to Know Your Customers
The key to creating wow experiences is getting to know your customers on a personal level.
Now you may be thinking that you couldn’t possibly get to know every single customer individually. For many small businesses, that’s true. What you can do, however, is focus on engaging your most active customers. It’s the old 80/20 rule where 80 percent of your business comes from 20 percent of your customers.
When you engage your most active customers, they’ll buy more and they’ll buy more often. Not to mention that they’re also more likely to refer business to you.
There are several ways to learn more about your customers without coming across as intrusive.
You can start by recognizing the different types of customers your business most often attracts and creating experiences that reflect their particular needs. For example, an urban kitchen supply store may attract a lot of first-time apartment dwellers. The business owner can engage this audience by making recommendations on products, offering cooking classes, or putting together a “kitchen starter-kit” that includes all of the essentials.
Other ways to learn about your customers are to analyze your newsletter content to see which articles and offers are most clicked on, shared and forwarded. You can also take a poll on your Facebook Business page or simply engage in good old-fashioned face-to-face conversation.
Engagement + Wow Experiences = Your Secret Weapon
Small business owners that engage their customers have a huge advantage over chains and big box stores. This is because they’re able to get to know customers on a personal level, which results in better service.
Take advantage of this distinct differentiator and bring it to the next level by creating a wow experience and then personalize it whenever possible. The more personalized the wow experience is, the more memorable it becomes, therefore fueling your repeat and referral engine.
This article was syndicated from Business 2 Community: Why Repeat Business Is Not an Accident
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