Wouldn’t it be awesome if all your customers loved being your customers?
They buy all your stuff. They rave about how great you are to anyone who will listen. They can’t get enough of what you have to offer.
In their eyes, you can do no wrong. This scenario would be amazing for your business, right? Well, it can totally be your reality — but you’ve got to make your customers blissfully happy first. And then you have to keep them that way.
By establishing the following essential habits, you’ll soon start reaping the many benefits of keeping your customers on your happy train.
1. Use “the sweetest sound in any language”
In How to Win Friends and Influence People, Dale Carnegie explained that the sweetest and most important sound to a person is their own name. When someone calls you by name, it implies familiarity. It brings a feeling of warmth, as if the two of you have a relationship. And with the number of businesses that treat customers like a transaction rather than a person, caring enough about them to call them by name will win you mucho brownie points.
This is extremely important in businesses that see customers face-to-face. For instance, if you own a restaurant or a dry cleaning business, when customers enter your world, learn their names and say them. Especially if you see their lovely faces week after week.
If you have an online business that doesn’t have direct personal contact with customers, consider automating. I always smile when I go to Amazon.com and it reads “Hello Sonia” in the toolbar. Also, some email marketing providers allow you to customize your emails by first name.
2. Remember their love for peanut butter
You don’t have to remind your friends what your favorite drink is or that you’re allergic to avocados. You don’t even have to tell them you’re addicted to peanut butter. They just know. Because they paid attention to what you did and said as you spent time together. They noticed when you went through that jar of peanut butter in a week. You should pay similar attention to your customers. They’ll appreciate it more than you think.
Building relationships will transform your customers into friends. Remembering what they like and don’t like is a great starting point for building that friendship. Besides, doing business with people you like is more fun for everyone. Not only will your customers want to be around you more, but they’ll also listen up when you have something to say.
While waiting for a chai latte in Starbucks one morning, I heard one of the baristas say, “Hey Jason, do you want your usual?” I looked over at the man who had just walked into the shop. He commented, “Sure,” and started paying for his order. He was clearly a regular, and I can totally see why. The team at the shop built a relationship and proactively acted on his preferences.
3. Give them so much value they feel guilty
The more your customers feel like the winner when buying from you, the better they’ll feel about buying from you again. So make it a habit to bake a ton of goodness into whatever your customers get from you. Make them feel like what they bought was worth way more than they paid. And of course they should feel like it added so much value, they would have gladly paid a higher price.
When I took out-of-town friends to Sabrina’s Cafe in Philadelphia, I was delighted when I realized the bill for three people came to less than $25. Not only was the food delicious, but we were also so stuffed from the humongous portions, we didn’t need to eat again for hours. No wonder a long line of people always waits to eat there.
4. Make it easy every step of the way
The more convenient your good stuff is for your customers to get, the happier they’ll feel with you. You don’t often hear of a lot of people being pleased with cumbersome or long and drawn out processes, do you? In fact, research shows that increasing the simplicity of a decision for a customer increases their loyalty, and likelihood of both purchasing and recommending what you have to others.
Kayak.com makes finding the best travel deals super easy by allowing me to compare itineraries and prices of a bunch of travel sites all at one. Because it’s so convenient, I rarely see the need to go to other sites.
5. Be their informant
Don’t be stingy with your knowledge. Share what you know to make your customers’ lives better. New technologies pop up, challenges appear, and customers often look for ways to help them navigate through their situations.
When you are in the know about how your customers can solve their problems, they’ll love you for sharing that information. And you’ll get bonus points when you connect the dots in a way that is insanely easy for your customers to understand.
Perhaps this means you send out helpful articles, write detailed how-to blog posts, or become a know-it-all on a topic that will be helpful to them. That way, your customers will always know where to turn when they need to be in the know.
6. Hand out cookies to reward loyalty
Rewards are just plain awesome. Not only do they provide your customers with a “cookie,” so to speak, for choosing you, but it also gives them a reason to keep coming back. And it makes them feel extra special along the way. That’s a reward all by itself.
Hotels and airlines offer their customers lots of cookies with their loyalty rewards programs. My hair salon gives a discount on a style after so many services. What rewards make the most sense for your business?
7. Never let them hear the sound of crickets
When a customer communicates with you via email, social media, blog comments, fan mail, or something else, that’s a win. Woohoo! It’s always great when your customers engage with you. When they do communicate, don’t let them hear only crickets due to a non-response. Take the time to respond to acknowledge you heard them. Move the conversation forward. Show them you appreciate that they took the time to connect with you. It’ll make their day.
Every time I comment on a blog I enjoy, I’m always a little giddy when the author of the post takes the time to respond back to what I said. It makes me feel like the blogger sees me and cares.
8. Make gracias, merci, and xi xi a fixture in your communication
Without your customers, your business wouldn’t exist. So when your customers reward you with their time, money, and loyalty, don’t take it for granted. Express gratitude. And if you do it in a cool way, your customers will love you all the more.
Vin Diesel fans loved his expression of gratitude that came in a video of him dancing to Katy Perry and Beyonce. Grammy-winning singer Lorde did it by sending a handwritten note to all of New Zealand.
9. Add a twist to the dull stuff
Break up the monotony. Do things differently from the way everyone expects you to. The W Hotel in Westwood made the simple act of riding an elevator super fun. The elevators had cameras that snapped and showed several images of people during their rides. I couldn’t get in the elevator without striking a pose (or two or three). That’s one elevator I always enjoyed being in, and one I’ll always remember.
10. Reach out and check in
It’s a great habit to check-in and see how your customers are doing, especially if you haven’t seen or heard from them in a while. Send them a quick note, give them a call, or ask how they’re doing.
And if they recently bought something from you, get feedback on how well you’re doing at solving their problems. Your customers will be pleased that you care enough about their experience to want to ensure its a great one.
11. Never (ever) let them down
Do what you say you’re going to do. Do what you say you’re going to do. Do what you say you’re going to do! Do it!
This one is extra basic, but you’d be surprised how many businesses aren’t able to do this well. Sometimes the simplest things bring lots of happiness. No matter what else you do great, if you don’t get this part right, everything else will be a long, uphill battle.
12. Give them a giggle
You like to have a good time, don’t you? Your customers probably do too. Make your customers’ day by giving them a giggle. Turn any frowns they may have upside down. Laughter is such good medicine and you might be the only one who makes them laugh out loud today. Be a source of joy for them.
The staff at my favorite hotel won my heart by consistently making me laugh. Every time I saw them, they were having a good time and spreading sunshine to all the guests. I often found myself chatting it up with them, since I always had fun when I was around them.
You have fantastic stuff to offer your customers. Stuff that will make their lives better. But you’ve got to earn the right to make them do a happy dance. You have to give them a reason to want you, instead of the next guy. You have to give them a reason to buy from you. Instead of sitting on their couches.
And by making them feel good, by making them happy, you’ll earn their attention. Their love. Their loyalty.
Happy customers reward you by coming back. Blissfully happy customers reward you even more.
So make it your business to be in the business of making your customers blissfully happy every chance you get. Implement these twelve habits, or find one of your own.