If you are a business owner, it should come as no surprise that the key to long-term success and growth is largely based on customer satisfaction. Happy customers tell their friends, family, and co-workers, share their experiences on social media, leave positive reviews online, and they keep coming back for more.
Keeping customers happy isn’t only about providing the right product or service they are looking for. There are likely a dozen of the exact same or very similar things they can choose from in this world of saturated markets. What sets one business apart from the rest is how the customer rates their experience.
What does the customer experience include? It usually consists of how the customer feels during the shopping or purchasing process — whether they felt seen and heard and cared about. This is really what is going to make the customer return and spread the word to other potential customers. And once a customer has built loyalty to your brand, they are often in it for the long haul. Humans are creatures of habit — and that bodes well for business owners if they’ve figured out the formula to keeping customers happy.
So, how do you improve the customer experience? There are plenty of avenues a proprietor can take to ensure the customer is engaged and feeling appreciated.
A potential or returning customer is probably a busy person, so how do you get them to slow down and pay attention to what you are offering? That they should really take notice that what you are providing is worth their eyeballs, their time, and their money?
Customer engagement doesn’t have to be that tricky or complicated, but it should be unique. If your customer is coming into your store, studio, or showroom, what can you do to make them stay a little longer and be willing to open up their wallets?
Here are a couple of examples of successful customer engagement strategies. One great idea is to engagecustomers with something delicious, like chocolate. Something small like this can really go a long way. It’s the little things that matter.
For example, many hair salons now offer beverages and light snacks to ensure their clients are comfortable and happy during their appointment. Some stores offer the same — a cup of cucumber water or something sweet to snack on while they browse.
Studies show that the more senses that are engaged at a given moment, the stronger the memory and association will be later. In other words, if someone both sees and tastes something (or tastes and smells, for example), they are more likely to remember that thing than if it is just a visual cue like reading a sign.
Engaging the customer while they are browsing or shopping or partaking in your service can go a long way when they are considering where to shop the next time they are in need.
Letting customers know they are appreciated after the fact is a great way to build loyalty and to improve the customer experience. How else do you say thank you besides saying thank you?
There are a lot of ways! Here are a few examples of great customer appreciation ideas:
Host A Customer Appreciation Night
Invite your loyal customers through email or social media to come in for an after hours shopping experience with exclusive discounts and deals. While they’re there, hand out champaign and high end chocolates and gift bags so that they know you value them.
Offer A Social Media Giveaway
Run a contest on Instagram where your customers can win a gift basket or gift certificate. After spending hard earned money, it’s always nice to be in the running for something a little special for yourself. Plus it is a great opportunity to expand your audience and reach new potential clients.
Send A Hand Written Note
This works great for online orders. Before you pack it up and send it off, include a short and sweet handwritten thank you note. Taking this small step shows that you appreciate your clients as much as they appreciate you. You can also send a small 2-piece box of chocolates for bigger orders for an added touch of appreciation.
Hand Out Some Custom Chocolates
Chocolate is the universal treat that can be both nostalgic and high end. You can customize the chocolate so that it represents your brand. One of the great things about chocolate is its versatility. It comes in dark and milk Belgian flavors, and can be molded and shaped into any shape imaginable. You can also get creative with the packaging and even order custom chocolates that are laser engraved with a message.
Making a go at business is not for the faint of heart. It takes a mix of courage, perseverance, hard work plus the odd lucky break never hurt. There are also some thoughtful things you can do to improve your chances of success and that will make you stand above the rest. Making sure your customers and clients know they are appreciated and ensuring their experience is the best it can be are essential steps to take.
Just like the way good news spreads, so does bad news. A few bad reviews, even if they are inaccurate, can really damage your shot at success. But even if there is an unhappy customer, that doesn’t mean all is lost. In fact, it could be a real opportunity to turn it around and turn them into a lifelong customer instead. If you engage them, apologize for their poor experience (because mistakes do happen!), and go out of your way to make it right, they are going to feel seen and heard. This kind of customer appreciation and engagement is going to make one business stand out above the rest. Also prepare some customer appreciation gift for them.