Amazon delivers the same day – Walmart has the carts full from an online order – Big Lots discounts below your costs. How can your small business survive in a land of giants?

The secret is customer communication and connection. The automated teller and the computer grocery checkout offer convenience, but in a world of increasingly robotic transactions, people gravitate to vendors who connect and communicate. Recognizing and acknowledging a person by name with authentic concern is the most powerful marketing strategy known to man. At its most basic level, good customer service and delivering the product or service on time with quality, increases future business by 62% for B2B businesses, while 66% of B2B customers stopped buying after a bad experience. So, delivering the goods as promised at the set price is the floor of connecting. To compete takes something more proactive. In fact, Walker Info reports that “the customer experience will replace price and product as the main driver behind consumers’ decisions on whether or not to buy a product or service.” According to the Gladly 2018 Customer Service Expectations Survey, more than 50% of shoppers make purchasing decisions based on customer service.

Here are 10 strategies to go beyond customer service to connect with your customers.

  1. Whether it’s online or in person, greet your visitor and offer assistance. A chat box or a friendly hello has a positive impact.
  2. Learn their name – However insignificant that sounds. If you don’t know your customer’s name you have not connected. Learn it – use it.
  3. Reward your employees who garner exceptional reviews – Make “customer delight” worthwhile for your employees.
  4. Treat your employees as though they were customers – they are your ambassadors, and if they are happy they will invest in your success.
  5. Cultivate your customers – give them a reason to return, to refer, and to feel valued.
  6. Encourage feedback and respond to EVERY bit as though it is an opportunity to demonstrate caring.
  7. Stay in contact with your customers – It costs far more to get a new client than to keep one. Increasing retention by 5% increases profits from 25% to 95%.
  8. Give customers many ways to communicate – online, phone, text, chatbot, skype.
  9. Value a mistake – Research shows customer loyalty is higher after a good resolution than if no problem had occurred.
  10. Humanity is good business – 86% of customers will pay as much as 25% more for products or services accompanied by an excellent customer experience.
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