Surprise CupcakesAs a customer, there is nothing better than being surprised and delighted by the service you experience, and usually it’s all about the details.  My husband and I recently moved and as a result were in the market for some a lot of new furniture.  We bought a custom couch from a local, independent furniture store and were impressed throughout the experience.  A few weeks after our couch was delivered, we received a handwritten note thanking us for our business.  It was a thoughtful way to follow up and a great tactic to remind us about their store, just at the right time.

If you work with customers, chances are you spend a lot of time and energy creating relationships and providing reliable service; all with the intention of keeping and creating repeat customers.  Providing support that your customers can rely on in a quick, friendly, and knowledge manner is key to setting yourself apart, but what else can you do?  How do you create an experience for a customer that makes them smile and remember your company first the next time they are making a purchasing decision?  Try these tips for a ‘surprise and delight’ your customers — you won’t be disappointed.

  1. Just do it – I know you are busy, or maybe worried about getting it exactly right (a typical gift-giving dilemma), but remember the Nike slogan and ‘just do it’.  When was the last time, as a customer, you received special treatment and thought – ‘hmmm, that wasn’t cool?’  Nope, never, so spend less time stressing about making it perfect and remember that the gesture, no matter how small, will have an effect on your customer.
  2. Timing – it’s all about the timing.  Figure out what you are trying to accomplish with your follow-up and make sure it happens at the right time.  If you are doing something special to thank a big customer for their business, send your ‘surprise’ pretty immediately with an explanation about why you are reaching out.  If you are working on turning an unhappy customer into a happy customer, make sure you have straightened out the broader parts of their issue before sending your ‘surprise and delight.’
  3. Make it personal – create a list of meaningful, thoughtful ideas that you can keep in your preverbal ‘toolkit’.  Get creative, do a little research about your customer, maybe send them a gift certificate to a local restaurant or shop.  They will be impressed and appreciative that you went the extra mile!
  4. Celebrate and empower – create a culture where your support team knows that they can, and should, go the extra mile for your customers.  After every ‘surprise and delight’, share the details with the rest of the team.  When your surprised customer follows-up, share their response with your team, everyone loves to hear from an appreciative customer.
  5. Test and track – figure out which tactics are the most successful and repeat, repeat, repeat.  One caveat; you won’t always know the affect your ‘surprise and delight’ has on a customer.  But, you can assume that – if you write a handwritten note, or send a welcome email to a new customer from the president of your company– the gesture will not go unnoticed.

There are tons of huge corporations that incorporate ‘surprise and delight’ initiatives into their customer interactions on a daily basis.  Zappos, Starbucks, Nordstrom, Chipotle, all provide great examples of what it means to be ‘customer first’ and go the extra mile to make someone’s day, and to make them a repeat customer, for life.

We’d love to hear about successful ‘surprise & delights’ you’ve had or given through the comments or by emailing newsletter (at) paysimple (dot) com.

Image Credit: Flickr, Assorted Cupcakes, Cat

Leah Bowes

Leah Bowes

My name is Leah Bowes and I am the VP of Customer Experience. I headup the Customer Success and Customer Care teams and own the holistic “customer experience,” ensuring that we provide consistent communication, ongoing product improvements, access to educational materials, and strong relationship development and support. I have been a member of the PaySimple team since January of 2009. I am originally from New Jersey, and although I don’t have an accent (most of the time), I still consider myself a little bit of a “Jersey Girl.” I love to read, write, paint, entertain and cook, run, do yoga, spend time with family, friends, and our new pup, listen to live music, and travel.

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