“Here is a simple but powerful rule … always give people more than they expect to get.” -Nelson Boswell
We talk about the importance of creating loyal customers. It’s certainly one of the most important goals of any company because a loyal customer will return to you again and again.
And, more importantly,you’ll have a loyal customer who will tout you to others – providing the most effective … and inexpensive … marketing there is.
So what do you do to create loyal customers? We know that it requires much more than providing satisfactory goods or services. And while doing it faster or better than the competition will help build loyalty, it simply is not enough.
The key to loyalty is to surprise your customers. Give them more than they expected to receive – and be consistent about it.
Exceeding expectations is more than just going the extra mile … its taking customers down a road they didn’t even know existed. In other words, it’s not a formula, rather an ability. An ability for members of the organization to actively listen, empathetically understand the situation, and wisely deliver a response that the customer values. Surprise your customers. Give them more than they expected to receive – and be consistent about it.
A few years ago I was planning a trip for my family to Italy. As this was a major excursion for us I decided to meet with a travel agent who specialized in Italian vacations. She spent a great deal of time with me, chatting about what I was looking forward to doing and seeing and the kinds of experiences that my family valued. We planned to focus our limited time on the major destinations – Rome, Venice and Florence. But as I talked with the travel agent about our love of the countryside and how we hoped to avoid tourist traps, she came up with a completely different itinerary that included small towns and seaside villages I’d never even heard of. We had the time of our lives, and the travel agent had a client for life … and the word of mouth exposure that goes with it.
Surprising your customers requires thinking outside the box and being creative.
But most of all it means listening to their needs and wants and adjusting your offering to provide them with the best possible experience. And if you don’t have the decision power to deliver, find someone who does!
Do this and you’ll create loyalty … and a lifelong customer who will bring others who value being listened to and understood.