The words "the customer is always right" has become a bit of a cliché these days, but what if I told you it was true - but not in the way many would think. Many see this phrase to mean that what the customer thinks is always right, and what they say is always right, so if they start an argument they must always be right (even if the reality is they are wrong). But that isn't what this phrase means at all. "The customer is always right" refers to their mindset, the customer gets what the customer wants, but as Steve Jobs once said "people don't know that they want until you show it to them". But Steve wasn't just talking about creating great products, he was talking about the service behind it. The customer wants to be treated well, made to feel special and as though you care about them.
Connecting with your customers
Over the years I've been an SEO (and before then a web designer) I've seen attitudes across the web change, I've seen the web go from a few having access to the masses, from almost nothing to ubiquitous - I've seen that buying online has become common place and then move towards mobile. But most of that was fairly predictable, if you ever watched StarTrek you will know what I mean - everything was predicted. What wasn't so predictable was that unlike in brick shops users want to be made to feel special and unique when it comes to buying online. To make users feel special though you can't just think "I have an awesome website everyone will feel great here" you have to go further than that, you have to go further than your website and you have to make connecting with customers a huge priority for your business.
One person who knows all about that are Tony Hsieh, the CEO of Zappos, who's business is modeled around the idea of "delivering happiness". Zappos was originally seen as "just another shoe store" but today is heralded as one of the best online stores with some of the best customer service in the world. But what makes Zappos so special to it's customers? Here are a few examples:
- Free Domestic Shipping
- No minimum price or size to qualify for Free Shipping
- Free Returns
- 365 Day Return Policy
- Zappos pay postage on all returns
- First Class Customer Service
- Customer Service phone lines open 24/7
The above seem like fairly simple things in the grand scheme of making a business run smoothly, but together they begin the process of connecting you with customers and more so inspire loyalty from customers - if they know that when they have an issue they can call and be met with the most amazing customer service who are empowered to fix their issues they will trust the company and will buy from them.
Now they've began to inspire loyalty what about connecting with them? A few things Zappos do are:
- Full use of social media for engagement including; twitter, facebook, pinterest, instagram and many others
- Talking with users 1-to-1 on social media
- Continually asking for individual feedback on all aspects of service
- Having fun on social media and when talking with customers
- Making customers feel special with VIP offers
- Putting customer experience at the forefront (showing ALL reviews on the site)
There are many more things Zappos do, and even more other successful companies do to connect with customers - but the effort it takes is worth it as you can see from the stats in the infographic below.
Steve Job Quote Image - UberFlip, Online Hubs
Infographic from Quick Sprout