Most people encounter good customer service on a daily basis. In many cases, it does very little to rouse attention. A smile from a gas station clerk or a door opened by a restaurant host is more or less expected and unfortunately kind of forgettable. According to American Express, 59 percent of people have stopped doing business with a company due to poor service.
Whether you’re going above and beyond with customer service or just skating by you may be missing a major factor that will help you really wow your customers. You haven’t spent the time making sure they like you. In Understanding Customers by Ruby Newell-Legner, research reveals it takes an average of 12 positive experiences to make up for one unresolved negative experience. How many like-worthy encounters are you having with your customers to ensure they are loyal even in the face of adversity? Truly wow-worthy moments within your business are made exponentially more delightful if your audience has affection for you.
6 Ways to Start Building a Highly Likeable Business
There are simple ways you can be unforgettable and connected to your customers so that they feel more inclined to interact with your small business.
1. Prioritize presentation of your product
Whether you have a brick and mortar business or are an online retailer you can make an impact post-sale by adding something special to the packaging of their purchase. It can be as simple as bundling books with a ribbon or as elaborate as making an event out of the entire delivery.
Birchbox does a great job of making an impact in the way they deliver their products each month. The subscription site uses colorful tissue paper and wraps each box carefully to fit a certain theme or time of the year. People like pretty. They want any excuse to Instagram a cute container or convert fun packaging into a rustic decoration. Bring an additional level of joy to your product by adding some affordable frills.
2. Connect offline
Going back to the basics can be very gratifying for those on the receiving end. An offline connection feels so intimate and thoughtful that it puts you in an entirely different head space.
Small businesses on Etsy are already doing this and leaving lasting impressions on their customers. Next time you have a package to mail, include a handwritten “Thank you” note. It doesn’t take a lot out of your day but it will make the experience more personal. Make your customers feel connected to you. It’s one thing to know a business by name, it’s a next level feeling of belonging to know the owner’s name and what their handwriting looks like.
3. Let people see your face
There are plenty of nameless, faceless corporations in the world. Don’t be one of them. If you use email as a main form of communication with your prospects or existing customers, try adding a short, conversational video.
Next time you have an announcement to make or important news about the industry to share, take the opportunity to get in some face time. Like with the thank you note, personal touches are key when nurturing relationships. If your customers see you as a person they will feel more connected to your cause and could be more likely to do business with you again. Before you know it they’ll be calling you by your first name, which is a very good thing for business.
4. Reward good deeds
Everyone likes a pat on the back for doing the right thing. If a customer provides a referral, acknowledge their gesture of loyalty. You don’t necessarily have to start a referral program, but if you know a customer is bringing you business, a thank you is in order at the very least. Make sure you are collecting information on your referrers and dishing out the gratitude that is deserved.
If your business is founded predominantly on customer referrals, determine a reasonable budget that can go towards rewarding those who support you. You don’t have to offer something free to every person who tells their friend about you, but you should have a way to show your appreciation to your most loyal referrers.
5. Get your community behind you
Have you ever had someone tell you “It’s not a popularity contest”? Well, sometimes it is. People like to like people who are liked (say that three times fast). Connect with your community and engage in the causes that are important for your business, your prospects and your customers. Leverage your connections and foster a culture of helping by allowing your customers to interact with one another and solve problems.
When your audience see that others like you, they will be more inclined to join the lovefest. You can start by creating a Facebook or LinkedIn group dedicated solely to initiating the help and demonstrating that ability. If your prospects and customers see you as selfless solver of their issues, they’ll feel grateful even before they purchase your product or service.
6. Keep your cool
This may seem like a no-brainer but let’s face it, not everyone is always going to love you and that stings. There will be people who are just not pleased and become dissatisfied with your product or service. You can’t lose your head over an angry or aggressive criticizer though. It’s crucial that all of those interactions are also addressed and handled in a quick and comforting fashion.
If a complaint is launched and you have the ability to pick up the phone to speak to the customer directly, do it. It will make a world of difference. It’s important to not only show the dissatisfied customer that you care about their complaint, but it’s also important to show your happy customers that you address concerns. An unanswered grievance on Facebook or an ignored review on your product page can send the wrong message to neutral or happy customers that you’re only in this to make a sale. Show that you care about the best and the worst of your customers and your likeability will increase across the board.
Being well liked by your customers isn’t just a perk of running a good business. It’s essential to it. You can have a great product or service, but if you’re impersonal, off putting or just average, it doesn’t inspire the long-term loyalty that will help you grow. When you make the effort to be liked by your customers and the people you want to help what you’re really doing is demonstrating your value. Get to know your audience, ask them questions and call them by their name, but also let them get to know you. Name a brand you really like and the reason why you like them in the comments below.