To stand out in the marketplace you need to do what your competitors are not, writes Milton Collins, business coach and author of Delight Disrupt Deliver.
We all expect a certain standard of service, but rarely receive it. When was the last time you were impressed by the level of service that you received?
Often it is just by getting the job done or receiving the product on time. But that should be the least that you experience.
It is when you are surprised by the level of service, or the small unexpected things that delight you, that can make you a raving fan. These small surprises can take you into next level service.
But how does a company go about delighting its customer base?
7 things to do better than your competitors
1. Provide more than expected
If you just complete a job or provide goods or services as expected, then it does not really surprise or delight them. It is the small additional surprises that make the memorable difference.
For example, one night in the restaurant I had a lady that was having trouble deciding between two main courses. She eventually decided on one after I provided loads of information on the produce, the methods and the style of each dish. When the main course was delivered, I organised for the chef to provide a small taster of the other dish so that she could experience both. She was absolutely surprised and delighted and said that she had never experienced that before. She became not only a regular, but a raving fan – and we never had to provide a taster again.
2. Demonstrate their Return on Investment (ROI)
Make sure the client can see the return on investment by clearly demonstrating or discussing the impact with them. Show that the outcome is critical to you and that you want to make sure they see and understand the benefit they have derived.
It’s so important to follow up and make sure that the customer is totally satisfied with the product and service.
3. Celebrate with them
Take the time to celebrate their wins, not just yours. If there have been positive results, then celebrate with them. It may even be unrelated to the work that you have done with them.
Keep in touch and surprise customers with other relevant information or what else you can do for them.
I was recently impressed when a builder was doing some work at my house. Each night on his way home he would ring me (after sending a photo) with an update on the progress, any issues that he had, and the general state of the work. It was so simple but I was impressed he took the time, and it developed a stronger element of trust.
Yet it was so easy for him. A quick photo on his mobile phone followed by a phone call on the way home in the van. But it was this small surprise that delighted me, and of course, I spread the word.
5. Exceed expectations
While it may sound like a cliché, under-promise and over-deliver.
More important than ‘delighting’ a customer by agreeing to custom requests and accelerated timelines, make realistic commitments and then beat them. Also, keep your customer informed along the way of your progress in meeting those commitments, so there are no unexpected surprises.
When providing a completion date, I always set a time that I know that I can beat. My client is then really impressed with the early delivery, and is more often than not used to having to chase up suppliers and listen to their excuses.
6. Look for and solve a pain point
Ask what their concerns or problems may be, and provide a solution.
Don’t just try and sell your product. Delight them by taking the time to find out their pain points and offer a solution.
7. Develop a relationship
Another way to surprise and delight prospects and customers is by connecting with them, and making the relationship about more than just work transactions. Find out about their hobbies, interests, family and even aspirations.
It is the small surprises and delights that make you stand out from your competitors. It makes you memorable and shows that you care about more than just making a sale. It is the way to make raving fans.
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