“You don’t need permission from a boss to make a customer feel great.” ~Jeffrey Gitomer

While consumers are finding ever more ways to let companies know their complaints, there needs to be a revolution in how companies can be creative to personalize More Than Perfect® customer service and engagement. Just answering back a Tweet or Facebook post or query is not enough anymore. The best customer service is personalized, powerful and professional.

Remember, studies say people will pay more for better service (American Express Survey). It’s time to be proactive as opposed to reactive with your approach to customer service and the customer experience. Whether it’s solving a problem, helping with a product, thanking your customers or just reminding them you exist, here are 20 creative ways to personalize customer service. This doesn’t have to be for every customer, it really is up to you. And also remember, speed counts.

A few suggestions:

  1. Learn your customer’s name. The sweetest thing anyone can hear is their own name.
  2. Have online chat. It is becoming more and more popular and important.
  3. Offer video support on how to assemble or use any of your products, or to address a problem.
  4. Send handwritten Thank You notes or cards. You can include them with a purchase, or send it to an address. Don’t have time to do it yourself? Use online companies such as MailLift, who will do it for you.
  5. Make sure to resolve complaints on first contact. Nothing is more frustrating than being passed from employee to supervisor to manager and having to repeat yourself.
  6. Write “special reports” or newsletters and send them to your customers. Make sure to get an opt-in. Spotlight special customers or experiences.
  7. Have specialized classes and learning tools, either in store or online, such as cooking classes in a specialty food store, mixology lessons in a liquor store or golf lessons in a sports store, to name a few.
  8. Get the CEO or Executive team involved in customer service. It is impressive when a customer is contacted by an executive to resolve an issue.
  9. Start a Loyalty Program that delivers. Have it tiered so there are more perks to more loyal customers.
  10. Reward social media followers with an incentive just for them.
  11. Offer an upgrade without being asked.  Wow!
  12. Refer other businesses to your customers, or do business with them yourself.
  13. Remember special occasions such as birthdays, anniversaries or birth announcements.  A good CRM (customer relationship management) program can help companies manage and analyze customer interactions throughout the customer life-cycle.
  14. Hold special events after hours that are “by invitation only.”
  15. Give gifts that promote your business such as hats, t-shirts or coffee mugs.
  16. Have branded office supplies such as pens, calendars or day planners.
  17. Give a charitable gift in their honor to a charity of your or their choice.
  18. Reward feedback. If they take the time to review your business, give something to them such as a 5% discount.
  19. Be great at customer service every day, and make sure to pay attention to small details.
  20. Spend time with a customer. The greatest gift you can give someone is your time, which is not a renewable resource.

There are many more ways to personalize customer service. Brainstorm with your team and see how creative they can be. You can no longer compete on price. Customer service is the new differentiator, so make sure people remember your name. Referrals and customer loyalty are the fastest and least expensive way to repeat business and a better bottom line.

I look forward to your comments below.

Paul Rutter is a customer loyalty, repeat business and customer service expert, a keynote speaker, corporate trainer and business author. He has had the unique opportunity to live with his customers and co-workers for months at a time traveling the world, and shares his experiences with land based businesses. For more information on More Than Perfect® Service, contact Paul at Paul@PaulRutterSpeaks.com, follow him on Twitter on @RealPaulRutter or visit him on Facebook/PaulRutterSpeaks.

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