8 Surprising Ways to Delight Customers (New Video)

If an airport–the bastion of sterile, timeless holding places for weary travelers–can delight a yogini, then you can delight even the toughest corporate customers. It’s easier and less costly than you think. As a marketing leader, you play a key role in delighting customers.

Lisa Nirell

I’ve practiced yoga for 18 years. Last year, while passing through San Francisco Airport, I was surprised to find a room specifically set aside for yoga practice.

If an airport–the bastion of sterile, timeless holding places for weary travelers–can delight a yogini, then you can delight even the toughest corporate customers. It’s easier and less costly than you think. As a marketing leader, you play a key role in delighting customers.

Skip the traditional “drinks and dinner” route. Instead, consider these alternatives:

  1. Organize an executive breakfast for your 10 best (not necessarily largest) clients. Do not allow your top decision maker to send a substitute. Make it exclusive. Send personalized letters through the mail. They will be pleasantly surprised.
  2. Build a list of your favorite people in your accounts. Then, review their LinkedIn profiles, and offer to introduce them to someone else in your trusted network. Repeat this 10 times over the next 60 days.
  3. Write thank-you notes to your referral sources. Send them a small token of thanks for their support.
  4. Develop a series of 3-5 short videos explaining your assessment of your current marketplace and its implications for your clients. This can be accomplished with a high-definition video camera for less than $500. Perfect is the enemy of done.
  5. Ask your top five clients about their favorite charities. Offer to volunteer your time or attend their next fundraiser to show your support. Do not offer to write them a check. Time and talent are equally in need. Stay clear of any political or religious affiliation that may not align with your values. That’s why it’s important to ask for their top three charities.
  6. Take your clients outdoors. Nothing clears one’s mind faster than a brisk walk, run, or bike ride.
  7. Conduct success interviews. How did they build their career or business? What are their secrets to success? If they could change one thing within their industry, what would it be? Ask if you can publish their story on your company blog.
  8. Surprise them with a one-time upgrade. This happens in some of the best online retail firms, such as Zappos. They have provided me with VIP status, which entitles me to free one-day shipping. I’m hooked for life.

I may not have been properly dressed to practice yoga while traversing the SFO terminal. But it just didn’t matter. The mere attempt to delight passengers really impressed me. Your customer will feel the same way with these inexpensive, kind gestures.

How do you delight customers?  I’d love to hear your suggestions for my next post.

copyright 2013, Lisa Nirell. All rights reserved.

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