Repeat, loyal customers are the backbone of any business.
But ask any entrepreneur and they’ll tell you: even if your products and services are top-notch; even if you do a predictably great job serving your customers and clients, day in and day out…
…even then, you can’t guarantee that anyone will stick around to buy again.
Heck, you don’t even have to ask! I bet you’ve had satisfied customers walk away from your business after one purchase, never to return.
Why? What gives?
Why does this keep happening to you, and more importantly — is there anything you can do about it?
That’s exactly what I’m going to reveal today. In this week’s article, you will learn:
- Why customer satisfaction, by itself, is not enough to create unshakable loyalty.
- A simple formula to help you turn first-time customers into loyal repeat buyers.
- And finally, 3 effective strategies to implement that formula in your business.
Let’s start with the two biggest questions: why doesn’t customer satisfaction lead to loyalty? And what actually inspires it?
The brutal truth: why 100% satisfaction doesn’t inspire loyalty
If a customer or a client invests in your offer, and you deliver it flawlessly, and they are happy with the results — why isn’t that enough? Why would they go somewhere else for that same solution? Your business is right there, ready to welcome them back with open arms!
The answer is surprisingly simple.
A satisfactory experience is not the same as an outstanding experience.
Expected value doesn’t inspire loyalty. And unless your customer has been badly burned before, then satisfaction is what they expected to get. It’s the “price of admission,” so to speak.
Let me illustrate with a specific example:
You wouldn’t become a regular at a restaurant simply because they didn’t poison your food, would you? Of course not! You can get that from any restaurant. (Well, one would hope.)
But if they did something extra to enhance your experience: a complimentary dessert, a nicer table, a surprise bottle of wine because you had a birthday just last week… Now we’re talking!
And that, right there, is where customer loyalty really grows from.
Unexpected value, also known as delight.
If you want to charm first-time customers so thoroughly that you become their go-to solution — and they forget that the competition even exists — then you want to go beyond merely satisfying them… and start delighting them, too!
Don’t worry, it’s not rocket science (although I have a scientific study to prove it!) or a mystic art. There’s a formula to it.
And it goes like this…
Value + surprise: the science of customer delight
Delighting customers boils down to one simple thing:
You must deliver value when they don’t expect it.
That’s it. Value + surprise are the only two ingredients you need to cook up some delightful experiences for your customers or clients!
Now, you probably have questions, like: how much value should you provide? And how does it actually work in concrete, actionable terms? Any business blog can say, “Hurr durr, delight your buyers, or they will never show customer loyalty to your brand!” What exactly can you do as a business owner to implement this formula?
Let me just tackle these questions in order:
How much value is enough to create delight? Don’t worry, you don’t have to wine and dine your customers at the Ritz, lavish them with expensive gifts, or do any grand gestures straight out of a 90s romantic comedy.
When it comes to delight, a little bit of value can go a long way, as long as: a) your customer doesn’t expect it as part of doing business with you, and b) it makes a meaningful positive impact on their experience.
…OK, but that still sounds vague, doesn’t it? And that brings us to the second question, which is how specifically to engineer delight in your interactions with customers.
Read on, and we’ll explore 3 actionable strategies for doing just that, no matter who your audience is or what industry you’re in!
Drumroll, please! *slaps knees vigorously*
3 proven strategies to delight new and longtime customers
OK, so if you want to go beyond simple customer satisfaction and make each new buyer a raving fan of doing business with you, there are three failproof options open to you…
- Give unexpected gifts. Those can be as small as a handwritten thank-you note — or as big as a free product, or an upgrade to a higher-priced service tier. My advice is: shoot for something that’s going to make a sizable impact in your customers’ lives.
E.g. if you sell online courses, you could create a valuable training and make it available for free to all your current students. If you sell a physical product, you could throw in surprise free shipping, or a small extra item. If you have a SaaS offer, you could upgrade customers to a more expensive plan for a few months, or unlock a feature that’s not normally available on their plan.
But even a small gift can create massive, lasting delight! That’s why hotels and AirBnB hosts the world over give little things to their guests: a selection of teas, free cookies, welcome baskets etc. They don’t cost much, but they make a heck of an impression.
If you ask me, that’s a strategy worth stealing and implementing in your business!
- Overdeliver on projects and product orders. “Underpromise to overdeliver” is a time-tested tactic that never fails. If you set a certain level of expectations, and then go the extra mile to surpass them, your customers will fall in love with you instantly!
For example, you could fulfill all orders much faster than your “official” shipping time, so that customers are pleasantly surprised at how quickly their items arrive. Or you could complete an extra task on a client project that will take it to the next level, free of charge.
Note: this technique works best when you promise a high level of service to begin with. So you can’t set expectations for the bare minimum and then expect your customers to go ham over the fact that you deigned to do just a little bit more! No: promise to do great… and then do exceptionally.
- Find small ways to enhance the customer experience. E.g. one thing that lots of business owners could benefit from is… following up on customer support interactions.
Any time you solve a customer’s issue with your product or service, check in later to ask how they’re doing, and if there’s anything else you can help with. Even if everything is tip-top and perfect, and they don’t need any further assistance, they will remember that you cared enough to follow up and ask.
And there you have it — 3 simple yet incredibly powerful ways to charm and delight your customers, inspiring unshakable, lifelong loyalty in return! I hope you put them to good use.
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