How to Exceed Expectations of Your Customers
When interacting with Customers, it is vital to give them not only a top-quality product but also a top-quality service, moreover – to surprise them pleasantly, anticipating their desires and exceeding their expectations. Then, they are sure to come back to you for more.
Michael LeBoeuf, an American business author and former management professor at the University of New Orleans once said:
A satisfied customer is the best business strategy of all.
Umbrella IT company fully supports this position!
How to learn not only to understand the Customers without words, giving them a top-quality product but also to increase the number of regular Customers? Umbrella IT is ready to share some secrets with you.
Secret Number One. Long-term Cooperation
Of course, it is cool when the Customers are satisfied, but real success comes when they become your regular Customers.
Thus, conditionally, the evolution of your prosperity consists of 3 stages:
- You have Customers. You position your product at the market perfectly, and the Customers start to show interest in it, it is great! But it is only a beginning.
- You have satisfied Customers. You have met the expectations of your Customers, they left positive feedback about your company. More and more people trust your company and are interested in it.
- Your satisfied Customers become your regular Customers. You have managed not only to provide a top-quality product but to exceed expectations and surprise pleasantly. This is the top of the skill!
Set a goal for yourself to build a long-term relationship with your Customers. A large one-time sale in here-and-now is a fleeting phenomenon. It is much more important to build a long-term relationship between you and your Customer.
Sarah Boland is one of our regular Customers, Umbrella IT gladly helped her implement her daring and ambitious project Life Lapse, its results have exceeded the expectations!
“To make this crazy dream come true, I sacrificed everything”, our customer Sarah says. “I quit my job and hired a great team”.
At the moment, we continue to cooperate with Sarah – we are perfecting the concept, expanding its functionality and eliminating minor technical drawbacks. In the near future, we plan to release the app on the Android platform.
Interesting fact: Sarah was not just satisfied, she was delighted: Life Lapse made the Canadian App Store Top just a few weeks after its release. Life Lapse app is available on iTunes. Use it and enjoy!
Secret Number Two. Friendliness
Be friendly. Always. Even if a person does not become your Customer, he/she is sure to recommend your company to others, or, at least, to have a good opinion of you.
People can forget your face or name, forget what kind of goods you offered them, but they will not forget one thing - what they felt at that moment. If you manage to make a good impression, then your company will be associated with something good.
Friendliness leads to success and helps increase the number of your regular Customers. Always put your best foot forward. Become a friend of your Customer.
The General Director of Amazon, Jeff Bezos, has an interesting rule - twice a year for two consecutive days every employee of the company must serve the Customers directly. And this rule applies to Jeff himself.
Jeff is convinced that in real life every six satisfied customers will tell about you their six friends, and on the Internet, this number can reach 6,000. Thanks to the latest technologies, people have almost unlimited ways to communicate and share their experience. Currently, the Customers are busy with studying the companies, reading feedback, asking opinions of their friends and acquaintances, including those from other countries.
Even the most respected brand, which produces unique top-quality products, can fail, if there is a lot of negative feedback, especially when the company simply ignores it. It is always important to thank for the feedback. Any feedback. Even the one that makes you feel totally bewildered.
Only he who does nothing, makes no mistakes, all people make mistakes sometimes, the point is to find a way out of the situation. If the Customers have left a good feedback, then thank them. If the Customers are dissatisfied with something, be sure to thank them too, and try and solve their problems.
After you have solved their problems, write about it to the Customers. After all, thanks to their feedback, you could become better. The Customer will have only good feelings - the problems they faced were reviewed and solved, then it is highly likely that next time they will choose your company again or recommend your company to their friends.
Treat people well, regardless of your experience of communicating with them. If the Customers see that you sincerely want to help them solve their problems and know how to admit your guilt (if indeed you were wrong in some way), it will help avoid conflicts and negative feedback about your company. And, importantly, you will have more regular Customers.
Secret Number Three. Help Find the Desired
Zara's famous founder, Amancio Ortega, is convinced that to succeed, it is very important to put yourself in your Customers’ shoes, pay attention to their interests, try and see the world through the Customers’ eyes and not through the prism of the image you created.
The secret of Zara's success is that the company is aimed not at imposing its product vision on its Customers, but at adapting to the needs of the Customers.
Zara knows how to exceed the expectations and help find the desired, thanks to the following factors:
- on-line sales analysis;
- short production cycles;
- investment in modern logistics;
- the product range is updated with new models twice a week.
Back in the 1970s, Amancio Ortega made the rule the company's basis, which became its golden foundation - to get a new order within 48 hours. Hundreds of designers and analysts, like a huge anthill, work in a finely-tuned system, with the Customer as its epicenter.
The designers create three models a day, while the analysts and stylists select the optimal option. Experts study the Customers’ regional features in-depth, from most diverse layers of society, trying to take into account the maximum number of Customers’ habits and preferences, every detail.
Not to make its Customers bored, Zara never renews the production of old collections, and all unsold products from the old collections are sent to be modified.
Interesting fact: a famous fashion blogger, Garance Dorе́, came up with a new term – “Zaragasm”, which means the highest degree of delight from the variety of models offered by Zara.
Secret Number Four. Be Extremely Honest
A lie is an actual or emotional information that even the speaker does not believe to be true. Thus, you cannot be honest with others, without being honest with yourself.
This can be exemplified by a short parable:
A noble sheikh from Morocco, used to deny himself nothing, ordered argan oil from a local woman, past whose house he drove every week.
Each time the sheikh bought a liter of oil. One day, the sheikh's beloved wife told him that the woman from whom he bought the oil poured 800 ml instead of a liter. That upset the sheikh greatly and he decided to shame the deceiver the next time when he passed her house.
"Every week I drive past your house to buy your goods, I'm your regular customer. You would never have sold as much oil for 2 months as I buy from you every week! Why have you decided to deceive me?” the sheikh asked the woman when he stopped near her house next time.
"Sir ... I just took a liter jug that I had bought in your store as a basis of measure and filled it to the brim every time," the woman replied.
Everything starts with you. Hire honest decent people to work, be always honest with your employees, Customers and business partners.
Lie is an inexcusable luxury, it costs too much. People value honesty highly. And they will never forgive your deceit.
Do not promise the impossible, if you realize that for some reason you cannot (much as you would like to) accomplish work within the specified time, propose to increase the time or simply refuse politely.
Better say honestly: we need 10 days more to complete your task, but you will get the best quality possible.
We recommend you to slightly overstate not the expectations of your Customers but overstate your deadline. So, if you are sure for 200% that you will manage to complete the task within 15-20 days, then ask your Customer for 25 and your employees for 15-16. Believe yourself that this is already a real deadline. This will help you better focus on the task.
“Nothing in life is as important as you think it is while you are thinking about it,” - Daniel Kahneman, a psychologist and professor at Princeton University (USA), winner of the Nobel Prize in Economics, author of the bestselling book “Thinking, Fast and Slow”.
Thus, you can always do the work on time, which in itself is before the deadline, and if you manage to do it, at least, 1-2 days earlier, the Customers will be ecstatic and forget about any alternatives to your company forever (even if your prices are higher than that of competitors).
Secret Number Five. Save Your Customers from Excessive Spending
People will be infinitely grateful to you if you can save them from excessive spending or even help reduce an initially planned budget. Suggest your action plan, which can help achieve optimal results at minimum costs.
Read more about this in our article: Work smart not hard!
Once, we developed mobile apps for an existing WEB service. In the course of work, we noticed that many of its servers worked inefficiently. We figured out how to optimize the server part and offered several options to the Customer. This halved the server costs.
Feedback from one of our satisfied Customers: "They’ve saved me close to $250,000 Canadian. They’re professional, and get the job done on time and within budget," - Anand Misir.
Secret Number Six. Care
You concluded an excellent contract and fulfilled all obligations on time, or ahead of time; you saved your Customer a decent amount of money, and, importantly, time. But, believe us, this is not the top of the skill yet.
One of the most essential things is actions taken by the company on its own initiative after the conclusion of a successful contract with the Customer. Remember the date of your Customers’ birthdays, the anniversary of their weddings or their favorite colors. This will help you achieve amazing results.
Make it a rule to record such information somewhere, appoint a responsible person for this. And, believe us, the results will exceed your own expectations!
Imagine the situation: you have bought a luxury car. When buying, you mentioned inadvertently that your son's name was Mark, he was 7 years old and he was very fond of drawing whales, hovering in the clouds. When you contact this company again, during the conversation you will be asked about your son and his whales.
Admit it, you will be pleased that the seller remembered not only your name and the fact that he received a big check thanks to you, but also remembered you as a living person, moreover - he remembered the details that have nothing to do with the transaction but are valuable to you.
Wishing a happy birthday to your Customers (or other holidays), use a little imagination. Hire a person (or create a department, if possible) to deal with such issues.
Let each gift and postcard be unique – to inspire warm and pleasant feelings. Remember, people can forget the question they asked you, but they will never forget what they felt.
If you have truly decided to exceed the Customers’ expectations in practice, then you will certainly succeed! It’s up to you - act, do not shift responsibility for your success on random factors and you will build a great empire!
Many of your company’s Customers will become regular, if:
- you are sincere and friendly;
you always keep your word;
you listen and hear your Customers;
your employees do their job conscientiously and are passionate enthusiasts;
you love and value your product (not just because you make it, but because it's really top-quality);
you always meet the set deadline, or even complete the work in advance;
you are honest with your employees, and your employees, in turn, are honest with you;
you care about your employees and Customers;your employees are proactive and can exceed your expectations.
You do not need anything special, the genius lies in simplicity. When interacting with the Customer, show your very best human qualities and your company will be loved and respected!