When was the last time you were amazed as a customer by someone providing an excellent customer experience and doing something completely unexpected for you?
In order to stand out from amongst the crowd, businesses need to constantly evolve. We already know that by 2020 Customer Experience will overtake price as the number one differentiator for customers.
Thinking outside the box is a great way to stand out and get customers to really remember you. Last week I had a meeting booked in at a local coffee shop. I had arrived early but thought I might as well head in and get myself a drink while I wait. Seeing that I was alone and maybe looking like I was in need of something to pass the time, a barista who had made my drink approached my table, asked me how my drink was and asked me if I would like to use the café iPad to read anything, listing out the digital subscriptions they had available for different newspapers and magazines.
Firstly, I was really impressed with the service and being asked how my drink was and secondly, I was ‘wowed’ by the offer of using an iPad to read the newspaper. I will remember that for a long time, more so than how the coffee actually tasted. The next time I have a morning meeting I may even head to the same coffee shop early on purpose.
The thing that struck me about this memorable gesture was how simple it was. There are often newspapers and magazines lying around in coffee shops that often go unnoticed or left alone, but by simply being offered the chance to read on their iPad not only did I feel really positive about the experience, I also felt trusted to look after it by the barista, I felt engaged and that led me, in turn, to feel trusting of them. So if such a simple gesture can make such a big difference, increase my loyalty to that coffee shop and make me come away feeling great – what simple gestures are you making to your customers to do the same?
So what can you do differently? Here are our six insights into how you can think outside the box:
1. Give your customer something they would not expect. Businesses sometimes give out little freebies to their customers – free pens, branded mugs and so on but how many of these things do people actually keep and remember? Not many I would say. However, what people do remember is when they receive something different. This can range from a pair of socks to vouchers for an exciting day out. Think about your customer base. What could you give them that would surprise them and stick in their heads for a long time, driving customer loyalty?
2. Trust your customer. One of the most important things that I felt during my coffee experience was that I was trusted to use their device. By demonstrating their trust in me it meant that I started to replicate that towards them. I trusted that they wanted my experience to be as good as possible and I trusted that they valued me.
3. Build your relationship with them. Another thing I felt with my coffee experience was welcome. By coming over and talking with me the barista built a rapport and made me feel relaxed and welcome within the coffee shop. It clearly showed that there was no rush for me to leave now that I had handed over my money and I was able to stay in the coffee shop and prepare for my meeting in a friendly environment.
4. Host events If you are looking to do something slightly different and out of the box, why not host an event for your customers? Do something different by inviting them in for a cocktail making evening or by hosting a charity sports match. Whatever it is, the idea is to get everyone together, build up your relationship with the customer, to get them to see a different side to your business and importantly to remember you. Holding local events is also a great way to get involved within the community and promote yourself to locals who may, in turn, become regular customers.
5. Ask them what they would like. Sometimes you can surprise customers by simply asking them what they would like. If someone is coming in for a meeting, why not ask them what kind of biscuits they like? Very simple but it shows that you have them in mind. Simple gestures can make a big difference.
6. Don’t be afraid to do something completely different. The whole idea about thinking outside the box is to do something completely different. The more memorable the better so anything you think of yourself will beat anything that you could find within this list. Do something different for your customers.
Expert Opinion provided by Chris Lowe at insight6