If you consider “fine” a four-letter word, and “good enough” just doesn’t cut it for your business, today’s post is for you. We’re exploring two middle levels of the Ruby Service Pyramid, Foster Happiness and Create Experiences, and covering simple ways to turn satisfied customers into raving fans.
In recent posts, we tackled the foundational levels of the Ruby Service Pyramid, Be Prepared With the Right Infrastructure and Do What We Say We’ll Do. Putting these tenets into action means creating systems to effectively deliver on your service promise, and growing a customer base that trusts you to reliably do just that. Not a bad place to be! In fact, you could likely build a successful business on that foundation alone.
But to cultivate loyal customers, it’s important to do more than merely deliver a service: you need to build a service relationship. Luckily, getting there isn’t as difficult as it may seem—and it’s a heck of a lot of fun. Here are five ways to get started:
1. Choose your words wisely
Positive phrasing is a cornerstone of the service we deliver at Ruby® Receptionists, and a favorite blog topic. We’ve learned firsthand small conversational tweaks go a long way in fostering customer happiness, and we have a lot to say on the topic of word choice—but for the sake of brevity, today we’ll focus on three little words we recommend cutting from your customer vocabulary: “I don’t know.” When you don’t have an answer or solution on the tip of your tongue, use it as an opportunity to showcase your dedication. Where “I don’t know” is a dead end, “I’ll be happy to find out!” inspires confidence, and buys you the time you need to get to the bottom of things. ” (Pro tip: if you’re looking for more phrasing advice, type “phrasing” into the search field on your right. There are plenty of Watercooler articles to explore!)
2. Show gratitude
What better way to let customers know you appreciate their business than to say “thank you”? Authenticity is key here—we’ve all likely experienced a deadpan “thank you for calling” that felt more like a “thanks for interrupting my day.” Whether it’s in the form of a card, email, or conversation, sharing a “thank you” when you feel it (and meaning it when you say it) is a simple way to enhance your customer relationships.
3. Make it personal
As you get to know your customers, use that knowledge as fuel for creating meaningful experiences. A casual conversation about a customer’s hobbies might prompt you to send a small surprise gift, for example. A handwritten notecard is a wonderful way to follow up with a customer after a positive interaction, especially if you have a personal tidbit to build on:
Thank you for calling today—it was great to talk with you! Congratulations again on your son’s graduation from college. What a fantastic accomplishment! If there’s anything I can do in the future, please don’t hesitate to reach out.
Simply referencing past conversations is a solid way to build a customer relationship. Asking “How was your vacation?” indicates more than mere curiosity to a customer—it shows you’re paying attention and it shows you care, and that means a lot.
4. Seek the unique
Take a look at the interactions you typically have with customers and explore ways to make them special. The Ruby Spelling Alphabet® is one example: after years of verifying spelling the standard way, an innovative receptionist proposed the idea of crafting a custom alphabet designed to brighten the days of our callers. Today, the alphabet consistently inspires compliments from our callers, turning everyday conversations into memorable moments.
5. Create systems
If you make the time to get creative, you’ll find ample ways impress and connect with your customers. Once you do, put systems in place to ensure your favorite connection-builders become a standard part of your business. Delighting customers once in a while is great, but delighting them consistently will truly set your business apart.
While delivering on your service promises is a key to building a meaningful relationship with your customers, it’s just one part of the process. Every touchpoint, big or small, shapes a customer’s view of your business. By consistently using those touchpoints as opportunities to make customers feel special, surprise them, and show appreciation, you prove your company can not only make their lives a little easier, but make them a little happier, a little better—just like a good friend does. That’s how lifelong customer connections are formed.