Are you looking for ways to exceed customer expectations?
- A Walker study said that in 2020, customer experience would trump price and product as one of the key differentiators when choosing a vendor.
- What’s more, 85% of customers are willing to splurge more on a product where the customer expectations are guaranteed to have been met.
- Companies like Amazon and Zappos (which Amazon eventually bought) are known for their customer service as much as for the quality and choice of products they make available to the average customer.
Successful brands know how to imbibe the culture of keeping the customer first from the initial stages of the customer cycle. Otherwise, it is impossible to be extraordinary and meet all your customers’ expectations.
Why is Exceeding Customer Expectations Paramount to Your Success?
Just satisfying customer expectations is not important. You need to be able to ‘wow’ your customers so that even a single bad experience would not make them move to a competitor. The only reason why a customer would jump ship is when the brand fails to meet its customer expectations.
- Deloitte says that more than 62% of companies view customer experience as a competitive differentiator. So exceeding customer expectations is a big parameter for you to succeed in a world that is known to be ultra-competitive.
- A Gartner survey says that companies that focus on satisfying customer expectations are known to analyze customer feedback. Then, they work on improving it thus creating a better business foundation.
8 Ways to Exceed Customer Expectations
Let us talk about how you can exceed customer expectations. Here are 8 ways you can meet the expectations of your customers:
- Getting Regular Customer Feedback
- Personalize Your Offering
- Surprise Your Customers
- Highlight Your Best Features Over and Over Again
- Train Your Employees to Serve Your Customers
- Apologize if You Make Mistakes
- Be Consistent Across All Channels
- Follow Up with Your Customers
1. Getting Regular Customer Feedback
To give your customers the ultimate experience and meet every customer’s expectations, the first step is to understand what they want from you. What is easier than getting the information directly from them?
Would you be worried thinking if your customers will give their feedback? There are high chances that a customer is more than happy to share their experience with you.
Posing the question to them directly means that you can know clearly why a customer gave you just 6 on a scale of 0 to 10 in the feedback. Was it because the packaging was bad or the product reached later than promised?
Once you figure out where you went wrong, you are in a position to take actions that your customers would love you to indulge in. You can exceed customer expectations by going above and beyond what they expect from you – because you have the answers from customers themselves on what they expect from you. Remember, all you need to do is ask.
Never ever underestimate the importance of your customer’s feedback because they are teaching you how to make your services better (for free). Problems that all of your business stakeholders would have ignored during the making of the product may be highlighted by your customers in the feedback because of their experience with your product. This can be captured in real-time with tools like SurveySparrow from your key marketing channels. You can create a free account to give it a try.
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2. Personalize Your Offering
While personalizing the product might not be possible for companies in all industries, do lookout for ways in which you can make the offering as relatable as possible to your end customer. Study customer expectations and aspirations in your industry to gauge what they expect and go out of your way to make it come true.
How can you personalize?
- Talk to the customer next time they drop in at your office or when they call or decide to send you an email.
- Based on your conversation, you can ask them a lot of questions that might make immediate business sense to you.
Building a connection with your customers is one of the proven ways to exceed your customer expectations.
3. Surprise Your Customers
The next time someone orders from you and looks like a regular customer, why not offer something extra that they would not have expected at all?
Understandably, it might be impossible to do the same for each regular customer if you are selling in the thousands every day. So why not create an automation system?
For example, each customer becomes eligible for a lucky draw when they have completed at least 5 or 10 purchases or spent X amount of money with you. You can have a lucky draw for one customer every single day. You can also:
- Use relevant data to wow your customer.
- Collect details like DOB, important anniversaries, or details of any other special days for a customer and offer them a thoughtful gift on these days so that they feel connected to your brand.
- Even something as small as a hand-written letter by the CEO will go a long way in forging the relationship.
- Send a quirky video from your team to customers when they cross a milestone of significance in their personal lives.
You can never quantify the kind of effect this might have on a customer but they will always remember this effort with a good feeling about your brand. This is how great brands are built.
4. Highlight Your Best Features Over and Over Again
There is no way a company is good at everything. This is why it is important for you to highlight the best feature about you.
For example, in a world of e-commerce companies that sell accessories made from the skin of animals, do you make vegan shoes? Then that is a specialty that very few can boast about. Straightaway, you will have the patronage of customers who are against animal cruelty.
Then you also have the opportunity to persuade people to give up products that are made out of animals by asking them to purchase your products. You can even create campaigns around how your product does not harm a single animal. This can be your greatest selling point and you could tom-tom about it as much as possible because it is your USP.
Creating a separate niche for yourself in terms of logo, branding, a jingle, product USP or anything that will make you stand out will be the biggest crowd puller. Identify where you are good at and keep harping on that. Is there something special about the ingredients of your product? Is there something unique about the location of your business? (Cue: Restaurant on the top-most floor of the Eiffel Tower). Make that, your biggest selling point.
5. Train Your Employees to Serve Your Customers
Retention strategies for your customers might not necessarily have a direct impact because you have a separate training program for your employees. But remember that your employees represent your company. If they cannot serve according to the expectations of the customer, then you are staring at a huge crisis in the making.
The objective of the employee training program should be to look at various customer touchpoints where you can improve the experience of the end customer. Another objective should be to look at each area and train the employees so that they can predict any problem in advance and act with responsibility.
Creating a truly remarkable experience for your customers completely depends on your employees even if you have created fool-proof systems in place. Impress upon your teams that the end goal for the business is to keep the customers loyal, satisfied and happy.
6. Apologize if You Make Mistakes
Just like most humans, even companies find it difficult to take responsibility for their actions and apologize if they are in the wrong.
But it is perfectly all right to make mistakes as long as they don’t plan to repeat them in the future. It is easier for your customers to forgive your mistake because you admitted to it. What’s more, apologizing for the mistake will make you look vulnerable and human.
Customers do possess empathy, they understand that not everyone is perfect and are ready to move on. Once the air is cleared, it is impossible not to have renewed trust and affection for each other. For all you know, they might even become an advocate of your brand.
Be ready to apologize immediately and don’t add conditions in your apology, thus diluting any sense of remorse in the act.
7. Be Consistent Across All Channels
You can’t blame the customer for expecting a business to have a similar set of communication across all channels. Whether it be social media platforms, email, or even when talking to the customer service personnel over a phone call.
So create workflows that work intelligently so that there are no gaps for a customer visiting your website, making the payment, and getting after-sales service either.
- Create a guide for each of the employees so that there is a script for handling objections and clearing any doubts.
- Also, create a workflow chart to see if customers get what they are expecting from us, and aren’t struggling at any of the customer touchpoints. The chart should be able to help you identify each area for the customer.
- One more area that you need to concentrate on is checking out if all the methods through which a customer communicates get the same kind of customer experience.
Just because a customer only sent an email doesn’t mean that their request is any less important than someone who called. Treat each of them with the right amount of respect and professionalism. Customers can tell when they have not been treated properly.
8. Follow Up with Your Customers
How many times have you wondered as a customer: how nice it would be to get on a call with the vendor/company so that you can air your grievances about their product? Even though you find it ‘okay’ enough to use the product? If only you could talk to the business about your misgivings with the present status of the product you just ordered.
Imagine what they are losing out as a business by not receiving such important feedback. All that stood between the business and the credible advice was a single phone call. This would have been made if there were processes in place to call the customer as soon as they have used the product for a brief period of time.
Therefore, make it a point to gauge the satisfaction of your customer by getting on a phone call or sharing a survey after they receive your product. The call doesn’t have to be too long; it can be a quick one-minute call where you can get information about their purchase. The feedback call or survey can also be used as a tool for product improvements. Once you have worked on the complaints you received from them, let them know by sending a simple message or email.
In this article, we have shown you how to exceed customer expectations in eight ways. Are there things that we have missed out on? Absolutely! Because there are so many ways for you to ‘wow’ your customers.
There is one thing that you need to be sure about. It is the fact that customer experience is not something that can be ignored anymore. According to Kampyle, a software and website feedback analysis company, more than 87% of customers think that brands need to put more effort into providing a better customer experience. So strive to give the customer an experience that they will remember and you will always be in their good books.
On a side note: Just as I was about to finish the article, I got a desktop popup on my laptop asking “How likely are you to recommend this Windows 10 PC to a friend or colleague?”. And I rest my case!