Michael Reynolds in General on Thursday, February 14, 2013
It's Valentine's Day and florists and candy shops everywhere are enjoying a nice bump in sales. Side note: If you need some last-minute ideas, our client, Elfcu, has a nice post on budget-friendly Valentine's Day ideas.
While some couples are making plans for a nice romantic dinner, there's another group of people who also need some love — your customers!
Now we know that your business is brimming with great customer service but it never hurts to go the extra mile now and then. While you obviously appreciate your customers and try to do everything you can to serve them, here are 14 other ways you can show a little extra love.
1. Send them referrals.
One of the best gifts you can give to your customer is a referral to a prospect. This shows that you understand their business and are keeping them top of mind. A prospect that has been referred by a trusted connection has a much higher probably of working out than other methods. Your customer will appreciate a warm referral like you wouldn't believe.
2. Celebrate their positive news via social media.
If you're connected with your customers on social media (as you probably should be… ahem) then you'll probably notice when they announce some good news. For example, FlexPAC (one of our clients) was featured in a nice story about their expansion to new space. We're super-proud of them and we were happy to share the news with our network via Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.
3. Ask them for feedback — personally.
Customers like to be heard. However, most organizations default to gathering feedback through impersonal surveys. While surveys are fine, try simply calling your customers every now and then to see how they are doing and what they think of your company. Listen to their suggestions and do whatever you can do address any issues. In addition to showing you care, it will help you improve your service.
4. Surprise and delight them with unexpected service.
A well-run organization needs to be mindful of profits, scalability, and capacity. However, every now and then it doesn't hurt to do a little something extra or waive a fee on something for your customers without them having to ask.
5. Cut them some slack.
You probably have some customers that are just flat-out wrong at times. Instead of arguing with them over the issue or trying to prove a point, take the high road and show them some forgiveness by focusing on serving their needs rather than proving you're right. Everybody makes mistakes and just like romantics relationships, business relationships sometimes need one party to let go of pride a little. It might as well be you.
6. Keep them informed.
You're an industry expert, right? Don't keep all that information to yourself! Periodically send your customers articles and information that can help them. It can be information from you or from other sources. Bonus: set up a Google Alert on topics relevant to your customers and stay alert to news that affects them.
7. Invite them to guest blog for you.
If you maintain a corporate blog (sure you do, right?) invite your customers to write guest posts to help them reach a new audience. The referring links and relevant content for their website will give them a little SEO love.
8. Write a guest post for their blog.
If your customers maintain corporate blogs, write content for them, as well. Nothing says "I love you, man!" like giving their marketing team a break from blogging. Not to mention it helps your visibility, as well.
9. Buy their products or services.
Look over the products and services you use in your business and see how many of those things can be supplied by your customers. You might be surprised at how many opportunities you may have missed to show some love by doing business with your customers.
10. Give them sincere reviews and testimonials.
Assuming you've done business with your customers (see #9), you can show your appreciation by leaving a positive review for them online. If really want to go the extra mile, create a video testimonial for them and send it to them to use on their website or social media properties. If this sounds daunting, grab a free copy of our ebook on producing great video for the web.
11. Be honest about flaws you notice in their business.
True love means never letting your significant other go all day with lettuce in their teeth, right? Do the same for your customers. If you notice a typo on their website or a glitch in how they are presenting themselves, politely and discreetly let them know and offer a suggestion on how it can be fixed. We always appreciate it when someone points out an error that we've made because it gives us a chance to fix it.
12. Invite them to conferences and events that could help them.
As an industry expert, you're probably plugged into all sorts of events, networking meetings, and training opportunities that some of your customers might benefit from. Bring them along and help them build their networks.
13. Make yourself (and your team) accessible.
In a romantic relationship, when one person stops returning calls and is hard to get in touch with it's not going to last very long. The same applies to the relationship between you and your customers. Return calls promptly. Interrupt internal meetings to take calls from customers. Answer emails outside of "normal business hours" sometimes. Make sure your customers get a real person when they call. Yes, it might take more work but think about a time when you wanted the same type of responsive service from a company. It makes a difference and shows that you make your customers a priority.
14. Send chocolate.
When all else fails or you just want to make a simple expression of appreciation, don't be afraid to resort to the 100% time-honored and reliable gift of chocolate, coffee, or goodies from Dillman Farm (a SpinWeb client). It's a great way to say "thank you" after finishing a project and everybody likes office snackage, right?
We sincerely hope that both your personal and your business relationships are strong this Valentine's Day. What are some ways you show love to your customers?