People are going to talk about you, your company or your brand. It’s a fact. With Blogging, social media and so many easy outlets, people are taking their comments and complaints to the public.
You can’t stop what they are saying, but you can have a great product/service and create a great customer experience and try to ensure that people will be out there screaming from the rooftops about how happy they are.
The best review you can create is when the customer is so happy and excited about their experience with you, that they just can’t stop themselves from sharing the experience. It’s not a canned testimonial but an active review happening on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Yelp and any other source they can make themselves heard.
Take a minute and think about the last time you were motivated to rave about a product or service? What motivated you? What did you love so much about the product, service or experience?
If you stop and think about what gets you really excited, it may give you some ideas on how you can create that same experience and feeling for your customers.
For example, I went to a new Italian restaurant not long ago and I couldn’t stop raving about the mozzarella. Everything else was good, but the mozzarella was out of this world. I finally asked what makes their mozzarella so different from everyone else’s and they said they simply spent a lot of time testing samples from suppliers and they decided to go with the one that tasted the best, not the one that was the cheapest. It’s a simple thing, deciding to spend more for quality.
With 90% of their dishes using mozzarella, it’s a change that will have a large impact since it truly was a very noticeable difference. Well worth the extra money they spent. I was already so thrilled with my meal (I guess it doesn’t take much to make me happy, just some good mozzarella) but when it came time to bring the check, the waiter first brought a few “sweet bites” for us to try. He said “since this is your first time here, I can’t let you leave without a sweet taste in your mouth”. It was just a couple small, Italian cookies (although they were heavenly). But more important than the delicious cookie, was the thought behind it. They really made it seem they a personalized experience for us. It cost them 5 minutes of time and 2 cookies and it earned them an avid fan that is telling everyone about them.
The point of that story is to make you stop and think about what they did differently (spent time and money to ensure quality) and put thought and personalization into the experience. They cared to ask if it was our first time here and they focused on wanting it to end sweetly. Those are lessons you can learn from and implement into your own marketing.
Sure it’s easier when you have a brick and mortar business and can get face to face with people. But it can still happen in an online environment. You
just have to take the time to think about how to create those moments.
Remember, offering a quality product or service and offering competent and responsive customer service is a given, people expect that and frankly they deserve it if they are spending their hard earned money. So that isn’t enough anymore. It’s about what you can do over and above what they are expecting that will get them shouting from those rooftops.
So, yes, start with a high quality product and service and reliable and prompt customer service as your foundation. But what else can you do to wow people? Can you offer an unexpected freebie? Can you share some tips and advice that they weren’t expecting that will help them get more benefit out of your product or service? Can you deliver the product or service sooner than they expected?
You don’t want to devalue your offering by offering everything plus the kitchen sink for free – you shouldn’t have to bribe people with a ton of free stuff. But one
nicely placed freebie is nice. The idea is you do want to create an unexpected surprise for them.
Another fundamental item you can focus on is honesty. It’s simple, it’s obvious and unfortunately it’s a little too rare these days from sales guys. Yes you want to present your product or service in the best light possible, but you also need to be realistic about what they can expect – are there little glitches they should know about? Is there a big learning curve involved with your product or service? Is there something they shouldn’t do because it’ll backfire and hurt their results? You don’t want to be a Debbie Downer and kill the sales process with negatives but you also don’t want to hide important info and have them discover it after they buy – because that’s when the bad reviews come in. Treat your customers with respect and arm them with the info they really need and they’ll respect you for it.
This is definitely an exercise in creativity and brainstorming. Take a few quiet hours, in your local coffee shop or away from the ringing phone (turn IM and Twitter off, close Facebook – get rid of the distractions) and jot down your top 5 best experiences with companies or products and reverse engineer it to see what made the experience so good. Once you identify those elements, look at how you implement them into your business.
The results? Happier customers are more likely to be repeat customers, so it should increase the lifetime value of a customer. Also, it should help you attract new business and earn more credibility when you have people out there singing your praises.