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Tip 3. Avoid Having Happy Customers
They Will Cost You Money!

Are you spending a fortune on trying to keep your customers happy? Many marketing textbooks suggest this is the way to guaranteed success, but in my opinion, it's often a waste of money.

A better (and often cheaper) option is to pleasantly surprise your customers.

You may ask what's the difference? Keeping the client happy is a strategy usually implemented to entice a customer to buy from you again. You may give away "free" merchandise (that still costs you money to buy) or you may implement other expensive promotions.

Pleasantly surprising customers is a little or no cost alternative. This is where you add your personal touch, which will have your customers buying regularly and telling all their friends about you. Clients will be willing to tell their friends because the act of pleasantly surprising a customer is so rare that it falls into the "you'll never guess what happened to me" category.

Here's an example. Friends of mine recently purchased a $60,000 luxury car. The dealer assisted them with filling in all the forms, offered complimentary tea and coffee and provided full details about when the car would be delivered.

My friends were pleasantly surprised when the dealer called to say the car could be picked up early for the weekend (it was due to be delivered Monday). When they came to collect their new car they were given a beautiful fruit basket and a choice of free CDs.

What do you think happens when people ask if they like their new car? You guessed it, they say that the car is great, but the dealer - well, next time you buy a car you must go visit them.

Unsolicited recommendations are the best advertising money can't buy.

Pleasantly surprising your customer is a marketing strategy that will generate amazing results and costs peanuts to implement.

A happy client may buy from you again. A pleasantly surprised customer will be inclined to tell their friends about the experience; they'll spread the word about what a great business you run.

How do you pleasantly surprise a customer?

You need to provide something extra which is unexpected. It is usually service related and makes the product easier or more convenient to use. You can do this by under-promising and over-delivering. When I teach I tell my students I take three weeks to grade their work. I always return it the week after receiving it. I know it only usually takes a few days so I build up an expectation and then better it.

Consider the story of a successful florist. Let's say that you go to a florist to buy your mother flowers for her birthday. It's a real rush job because you only remember the day before, but you still manage to arrange it and you hear they were beautiful.

Next year, a week before your mother's birthday, the florist rings to remind you about the upcoming day and to let you know of a special deal because you have purchased there before. Would you be pleasantly surprised? Would you be inclined to buy more flowers?

How would you feel if your family doctor called to see how you were doing three days after you last saw her?

Steps For Immediate Results.

  1. Think about improvements you can make to your product or service which your customers wouldn't normally expect. It might be:
    • Birthday card or phone call to wish them a happy birthday
    • Flowers or a card on a "special day", for example the day of pick-up
    • Follow up phone call to see how the customer is enjoying their product or service.
    • Early delivery
    • Access to member only services
    • A low cost additional add-on that complements the customer's purchase (e.g. tape set, CD's, minor product upgrades, voucher for more merchandise)


  2. Consider adopting a "customer of the month program" where you promote your client's business for free (in a newsletter, in reception or on your web page) to say thank-you for their business.


  3. Seek testimonials from customers you have pleasantly surprised with a product or service. You may need to set up a client feedback system which you can use as the basis for advertising and promotion.



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