Reward and recognition is essentially about showing someone that you do not take them for granted. Is dealing with your company an experience of pleasure and delight or frustration and irritation for your customers? Do they feel special and valued doing business with you?
We are operating in a global market place with competition everywhere. Approaching customer service with a reward and recognition mind-set can be an important part of your competitive advantage.
Get the basics right
Pricing, quality and on time delivery are non-negotiable. You have to (as a minimum) get these right to give yourself an equal chance to stand out on what could potentially differentiate you.
Streamline your processes
How easy is it for someone to do business with you? Do you require the completion of 10 pages of forms before someone can place an order or can an order be raised within minutes or (even better) seconds?
How you communicate
Are you pro-active and professional in your communication with customers? Do you respond promptly to enquiries received? Do you communicate in their preferred language? Is your communication easy to understand? Is your communication personalized?
Say “Thank You”
Actually take time to respond on an enquiry, an email, a purchase order and even a complaint to say “Thank you for taking the time to contact us”.
Take a personal interest
- How well do you know your customers?
- Do you know when it is their birthdays?
- Do you know if they celebrate any religious holidays?
- When you phone them, can you ask how their children are doing?
- Do you know where they went for their last holiday?
It makes quite a positive impression when someone has taken enough interest in you to remember what course you are currently busy with in your spare time or that your son recently started studying.
The little something extra
Give them something extra (such as a surprise discount), a special offer just for your customers, loyalty rewards or donate to a charity that they cherish.
When things go wrong
How do you react when things go wrong or when you receive a customer complaint? Do you immediately take ownership of the situation or do you “hide” from your customer? Do you keep your customer in the loop as you deal with the situation? Do you thank them for being patient with you and taking the time to communicate with you? Do you tell them what you have put in place to avoid a repeat in future?
Ask your customers for input. Very few things say “I value you” more than asking for someone’s opinion and incorporating it in what you do.
Promote them as part of your social media or to other people who could potentially also be interested in their services.
The key is to consider your business from the perspective of your customers. This may be quite difficult for someone who is intricately involved in your business, but that is why getting feedback is key. Make sure that you are providing your customers with an incredibly rewarding experience, so that they want to come back to you again and again, and naturally recommend your business to others.
Even when you are getting it right, commit to continuously improving your customer’s experience of your business in order to stay ahead of your competition.