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Six ideas for standout customer service

March 30, 2017

When training staff, many merchants say that outstanding customer service is the goal—but how many are really, as they say, walking the walk?

Sure, most businesses know to do their best to treat their customers well—greet them with a smile and by name when they can, and provide a welcoming and warm atmosphere—but to deliver truly outstanding customer service takes a little more. Great customer service delivers on a brand promise in a way beyond normal expectations.

So how do you deliver “above and beyond” service? Below, we offer a few tips on how to tailor your customer experience to deliver truly outstanding customer service.

Know your customers

The first step to delivering an outstanding customer service experience is by giving them exactly what they want. To do so, it’s important to know things like who they are, what they like, when they shop, how they like to pay and beyond. To get this kind of deep insight, look to an analytics platform designed for small businesses, like Insights.

Do whatever it takes to deliver

To really stand out, it helps if customers see that you’ll do whatever they need to solve a problem. That means if they ask for something you don’t have, consider ordering it online and have it delivered to their house. Or perhaps it means driving to the next town over to pick whatever they need up. Even consider reaching out to a competitor across town. It’s stories like these, when a merchant truly goes the extra mile to deliver, that really stick out in customer’s minds and creates lasting loyalty.

Solicit honest feedback

They say that the customer service experience should be a two-way conversation. And key to fostering that conversation is providing your customers an open, honest, and most importantly, responsive feedback channel through which they can share with you. They are going to do it anyway, but on Twitter, Yelp, or Google. So why not foster the conversation in a less-public forum that says “We are listening. How can we help?” Being open to criticism and making honest efforts to correct any perceived mistake can go a long way in customer’s minds.

Reward people who say great things about you

It’s important that you’re a big supporter of the people who support you. When a new customer comes in and says they were referred to you by one of your regulars, give that regular a discount on their next visit. When somebody says something wonderful about your business on social media, surprise them with something special! It’s these kinds of moments that make your biggest supporters know that they can make a difference for you by sharing with their networks just how special you make them feel.

Reward your best customers

It’s also important to go above and beyond for the customers who are your most valuable. That includes people who spend a lot with you, and those who spend often—or even better, those who do both. To get a handle on who they are, provide them (and yourself) an easy mechanism through which you can track their purchases and reward them accordingly. To do this, look to technology like Rewards. Having a structured program in place to take care of your most valuable customers will make them feel great about spending with you while encouraging them to spend more often—a win-win for your business.

Comp customers when it makes sense

While you certainly can’t afford to be giving away freebies all of the time, you also can’t afford not to when the right opportunity presents itself. Comping a meal or a ticket when something goes wrong can mean the difference between a customer returning to try your business another day, or venting their frustration on social media. Conversely, it also makes sense to comp a meal when things are going right. Maybe your regulars are celebrating a big anniversary or a baby’s christening at your place of business—or maybe someone chose to propose in your establishment. Comping a round of champagne or a special dessert at these key moments can create the basis for a deep relationship that can last a lifetime with customers.

[image: Romantic Dinner by Samantha Ombregt on flickr]