word of mouth

The Element of Surprise; Surprisingly Easy

Do you remember the good old days when you didn’t have to pump your own petrol? I don’t, because I was born in the nineties. But I’ve heard great things about those pre-World Wide Web times; milk delivered to your door step, corner shops where the shopkeeper knew your name, bank tellers that were neither automatic nor machines. But those little customer service quirks have gone the way of the dinosaur and the human race has evolved to have lowered expectations to help cope with this changing climate.

My generation is getting used to poor customer service to a point where we don’t even know what we’re missing out on. We’re desensitized to video game violence and waiters who won’t make eye-contact. While this may make us an apathetic lot, it also makes us strangely easy to surprise.

A bar in Perth recently announced it was going to go against the norm and sell coffee for $2.50. Big whoop. But in Perth, this is newsworthy because we’ve been subjected to coffee that’s on average 40 cents more expensive than the rest of the country.

So why not take advantage of these lowered expectations and surprise your disgruntled customers with some good old fashion service? Your customers will either react like this guy (watch the video, I’ll wait here until you’re done) or they’ll be so surprised by the interaction that it will become an anecdote shared by word of mouth or across social media.

The Interaction

The Interaction

There are many examples of customers making waves across social media, some good, and some bad. One positive example is the story of the Dragon and the Kangaroo. When the Galaxy SIII was released a man asked Samsung Canada for a free one and attached a picture of a dragon he had drawn for them.  Samsung apologised to the man, stating that they could not afford to send everyone a new phone who asked. Pretty run of the mill response, except for one interesting addition; they complimented his dragon and gave him a drawing of a kangaroo on a unicycle in return.

The man was charmed, took a screenshot of the conversation and posted it on Reddit with the caption “Well, Samsung Canada has won me over”. The image went viral and Samsung Canada gained the image of a cool, laidback and friendly company.  But then they took one step further. As a token of their appreciation for the positive media, they sent the man a one of a kind Samsung Galaxy SIII customised with his drawing of the dragon. (And of course, that photo made the rounds online as well).

The Payoff

The Payoff

Now I’m not suggesting you dish out free products to your customers, but they are likely to be surprised by outstanding customer service. They’ll also want to tell their friends. So take advantage of Generation Y’s careful combination of lower expectations and desire to share every life event online. You never know what will go viral.

– Emily

A Little Bit Goes a Long Way

Have you ever had a business do something extra for you as a customer? Maybe they remember your regular order, or what day you usually come in. Paying more attention to customers is a simple way to encourage loyalty and build long, fruitful relationships.

When I started at Messages On Hold, one of my first tasks was to work on something we call ‘Two New Message Ideas’. It’s a simple and effective concept that lets clients know we’re thinking of them.

Our clients are busy people, so when they haven’t updated in a while, I have a look at what’s happening in their business or industry, and suggest some message topics they can include in their production to ensure they’re getting the most out of their On Hold. For example, when mortgage exit fees were banned, I suggested our Real Estate or Finance clients include a message about it for their callers. It’s something extra that I can give our clients, so they know we’re looking out for them.

Is there something you can do in your business to help your clients feel special?  Sometimes it’s as simple as keeping client notes – remembering that there’s a birthday or a wedding coming up and send them a card! Or perhaps there’s something you can throw in for free, a cup of tea while customers wait, free vacuum with a car service, or those little cookies that sometimes come with a cup of coffee.  Or maybe you can give them a voucher for their next visit. Most of these things only take a few minutes, cost very little, but leave a lasting impression on your customers.

Little extras help a customer feel valued and show that you appreciate the fact they chose to do business with you. After all, without customers there is no customer service!

If you’re looking for a way to boost your return customers, start thinking about little things your business can do to make them feel appreciated. Take the time to go that extra mile, and you’ll see a difference in customer loyalty, and hopefully some great word of mouth advertising too!

– Rachel McGeorge