“It was just a little thing, but…”

mouseThe other day for some reason the topic of washing machines came up. I mentioned to my husband that I really like the one we have now because it sings a cheery little tune when the wash is done.

He laughed, but I insisted that it does make a difference. Our old one would let out a loud “BLAAAT!” at the end of the cycle. And my reaction was always, “Oh, no, the wash is done, now I have to go deal with it.”

Now, when I hear that little tune, I think, “Oh, good, the wash is done!” 🙂

It’s a little thing. But it does make a difference in my mood. And compounded over time, I’m sure it makes a positive difference in my life – which no doubt ripples out to those around me.

Little things can have big impact.

Do little things like that matter in business, too? You bet they do!

Little things like being put on hold, the quality of the hold music, whether a receptionist smiles or frowns when you come in the door, the smell of a waiting room, how easy an invoice is to read and pay… they all affect a client’s experience.  Sometimes it’s the little things that win or lose the deal.

Pay attention today to the little things in your life, and in your business. Notice how they affect you and/or your clients, either positively or negatively. If the latter, how hard would they be to change?

5 Simple Ways to Let Your Customers Know You Care

A little bit of personal attention can make the difference between a prospect who walks away and one who converts to a happy customer – potentially bringing in even more business through word of mouth.

Man playing guitar
It’s OK to strum your guitar while speaking to customers. Just be sure to look up and smile while you do it!
Illustration ©2013 by Anne Michelsen, courtesy of Kids Celebrating Earth

Back when I worked in retail music, I’d frequently hear comments like this from customers:

“To be honest, I was going to rent my son’s trumpet at the other store in town. But I walked in there and the store tender was too busy picking at his guitar to pay me any attention. So I walked out and came here instead. I’m so glad I did. Thanks for all your personal attention. I’m going to tell my friends.”

A little bit of personal attention can make the difference between a prospect who walks away and one who converts to a happy customer – potentially bringing in even more business through word of mouth.

It doesn’t have to be anything earth shaking, either. In my case, all I did was offer a genuine smile and a “What can I do for you today?” to anyone who came through the door. No matter their age or the condition of their clothes.

But what if you’re not involved in brick and mortar retail? What if you never actually see a single one of your customers?

No matter. There are still plenty of ways to help your prospects feel appreciated and acknowledged. When they do, they’ll be so much more likely to stay around and buy.

Here are five things you can do to roll out that virtual red carpet to anyone who comes your way:

  1. Speak to your customer’s needs and desires. This is so basic, I’m sure you’ve heard it a bazillion times before. But I still come across home pages that are nothing but rants on How Great We Are, with nary a thought given to what the customer wants. (Ironically, the worst offenders I’ve come across have been marketing agencies.) Seriously, you might as well go play your guitar to the wall.
  2. Use language your customer can relate to. Ever read an article or white paper you thought might be useful – only to abandon it midway because you just don’t have time to read every paragraph twice? Business writing should be easy to read. Period. Think middle school reading level. And no, that doesn’t mean you’re talking down to your reader. (For example, this article rates at grade level 5.2). It just helps busy people stay focused.
  3. Embed a smile in your words. I have one corporate client who is very formal in his emails to me. Every time I got an email from him I used to wonder if he really wanted to be working with me. This went on for months, until one day I stopped by his office to take care of some business in person. He came out grinning from ear to ear, loudly praising my work to everyone in sight. (Kind of embarrassing, but in a good way!) Now, I’m not picking on my client. He’s not dealing with customers. But if you are, make sure the warm feelings you have towards them come through in every single thing they read from you.
  4. Offer something of value. Of course, your customers want value from your products or services. But how can they be sure they’ll get it from you? When you give them something useful, they don’t have to wonder. Free samples are great. So are coupons. But information is often at least as effective. Try a tip sheet, white paper, or idea book that explains fun or useful things other customers have done with your products.
  5. Keep delivering value. Once you have permission to contact a customer, don’t stop. They’re guaranteed to forget about you if they do. Keep drip feeding them good stuff via newsletters, blogs, or even postcards. Just be sure it’s relevant to their needs and desires. And don’t forget to make it easy and fun to read!

What’s your favorite way to let your customers know you love them? Post it below. If it’s a good tip I’ll tweet it out!