Dead David: How to make customers feel more special

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March 13/20, 2017: Volume 31, Issue 20

By David Romano

 

Dear David:
I am getting concerned that competing on price and products is getting more and more difficult in the flooring industry. I feel confident we do a better job than most when it comes to installation, but I am not sure if that is enough to attract and retain customers. What would you suggest we do to provide a guest experience that is both different and memorable?

Dear Inquisitive Owner,
Good customer service is expected and necessary for a retail business to thrive. But when we service customers in ways they don’t expect, we create a wow factor that sets us apart from the competition. In today’s retail environment that is a necessity. Customers don’t want their expectations met anymore; they want them exceeded.

This may seem simple and obvious, but in the hustle and bustle of daily work it’s often overlooked. Wowing your customers involves going the extra mile to create a memorable, delightful experience. Satisfy customers by providing the service or product your customers pay for in a timely fashion. Then wow them by going beyond their expectations and provide additional value. Here’s how to do it.

Do what you said you were going to do. The first step to wowing your customers is not upsetting them. That starts with doing exactly what you said you were going to do, without exception. Remember, 95% of issues encountered are directly related to not setting proper expectations. It is important to ensure expectations set by the sales associate and customer flow through quote to installation.

Follow up when they least expect it. If you get the element of surprise on your side, it’s easy to wow a customer. Pick up the phone and ask how everything is going: How was the sales process? How did installers do? Ask for suggestions on how things could have been done better. This has two distinct benefits. No. 1, it lets you know early on if she is having any problems. No. 2, if everything is great the customer has the satisfaction of knowing you’re thinking about her and you care.

Give them more than expected. Everyone loves to feel like they are getting a good value, and any small thing beyond the norm that a business can offer customers is a plus. For example, leave a baggie of grout with the color specified, leave some additional carpet or a few pieces/box of wood for repairs, place a sticky note on her bathroom mirror thanking her for the bathroom project, vacuum the carpet, wear booties, cover the floors, etc.

Offer them something they didn’t know they needed. Here’s your opportunity to consider the upsell, but you can approach it in a delicate way. It’s important to make sure your customer knows about everything you offer, in case she has a need she didn’t realize your company could fill. Sell her area rugs with wood floors, upgrade the cushion to a moisture barrier if she has pets or kids, sell heating elements for cold tile floors, push window coverings or cabinets, etc.

Express your gratitude. There are plenty of creative ways to thank people for their business and it doesn’t have to be complicated to make a big impact. The key is to put in the effort and do it. Send a cookie cake with a thank you message with your logo, give a date night package and if the transaction is large enough a quick vacation getaway which she will always associate with her flooring purchase.

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