Create a Memorable Customer Service Experience


We hope that no one will ever need to deal with our customer service teams. We hope that the products or services that we offer are so good, that there are never any difficulties fulfilling somebody’s order, that everyone loves the brand and their experience with it so much that there is no need for a customer service department at all.

And that’s probably why most companies think about customer service last. It’s also why most customer service experiences are terrible.

Because the truth is, no matter the company or the product, some percentage of your customers will come into contact with your customer service teams. And that experience is going to determine a lot about what happens to them, and to your company’s efforts overall.

What is a memorable customer service experience?

A memorable customer service experience is one that leaves the customer feeling good about the company. Most customers are only going to reach out to your customer service team if they have a problem. For that reason, many of them are going to be angry or upset or confused. Needless to say, they are not a good mood. They have a problem and they expect you to solve it.

That said, too many of our own experiences with customer service from various organizations in the past have left a bad taste in our mouths. So the bar is not high to create a memorable experience.

Why create a memorable customer service experience?

A memorable customer service experience can do three things for your company.

First, it can grow customer loyalty. If someone has a good experience with customer service, they have a better overall impression of your brand. With that, they are more likely to remain with you rather than switch to your competitor.

Second, it can lead to word of mouth marketing and organic growth. Someone who has a memorable experience with your customer service team, because they went out of their way to solve her problem, is likely to talk about it. They will become brand advocates, perhaps spreading the word offline, perhaps leaving reviews online. That customer will bring in additional customers.

Third, it will decrease refunds and returns. Poor customer service experiences often precede cancellations and returns. If you can deliver high-level customer service, you can head many of those off.

How to create a memorable customer service experience?

Step one to creating a more memorable customer service experience is to prioritize it in your business. Don’t just pay lip service to it. Make it a core part of your organizational culture.

Step two is to empower your people to deliver great service. Often it is the people on the front lines who will have the best sense of what customers are looking for. Give them a say in all customer service-related decisions.

Step three is to measure results. Develop a simple customer service dashboard with key metrics you can share and set goals around. These might be rates of resolution, average time to resolution, surveys delivered to customers after contact, etc.

Bottom Line: No one ever created a memorable customer service experience by accident.

What Can You Do for Your Customers?


So you want something from your customers? You want them to advocate for your company, to refer their friends to your products, to share your content online, and review your business on Yelp.

“Why should I?” is the question you should imagine them asking you.

If you want them to do something for you, you need to do something for them.

“But I already gave them my amazing product,” you say.

They paid you for that. They did what you asked. Transaction complete. If you want them to do something to help you, you need to do more than simply deliver what they expected. You need to go beyond their expectations.

Here’s how…

1) Proactively reach out to assist

Most companies work so hard to sell their products and then completely forget about the purchaser immediately after. We think that if they need our help, they’ll ask. But the truth is that most people won’t. They will suffer in silence because they don’t have the time, don’t know who to contact, or they will decide it’s easier just to switch to your competitor than deal with it.

You can exceed their expectations by reaching out to ask about their experience. Ask if they need help with anything. Ask how they have enjoyed your product or service. Did it solve their problems? Address their needs? If not, what can you do to make things better?

2) Give them a free upgrade

Let’s say you have just come out with a new model or have improved the service that you offer. Do you reward your customers by automatically giving them the latest and greatest version?

Perhaps this runs against your business model. Perhaps you rely on customer upgrades as a revenue source.

But offering a free upgrade is a surefire way to exceed their expectations and turn customers into advocates for your business. That might be even more valuable than them purchasing the upgrade.

3) Enroll them into a loyalty program

If you don’t already have a customer loyalty program, consider the opportunity to deliver added value to your customers. You might offer discounts on other products, exclusive offerings, news and information related to their interests, and more.

Getting invited to join a loyalty program provides incentive to continue to engage with your brand in a positive way.

4) Connect them with likeminded people

Many successful brands have built a community aspect into their customer experience. Think Apple, Harley Davidson, and Canon. These companies offer experiences that bring their fans together in the real world.

Customer communities become natural places for new ideas and innovation. By giving your customers access to one another, you help them solve their problems and generate critical feedback for the business.

5) Say thank you

It may sound corny to business-minded folks, but simple acts of gratitude will go a long way with your customers. Think about the brands that you interact with. How many take the time to thank you for your business, really thank you?

Saying thank you is a way to deliver a human touch to a monetary transaction, laying the groundwork to a relationship beyond that one purchase.

How Do I Increase the Lifetime Value of my Customers?

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Lifetime value is a metric that has gained a lot of attention from marketers who are looking to better understand what their users/customers are worth to the business. Instead of looking at average order value or revenue per transaction, lifetime value takes into account all of the effects of loyalty programs that keep customers coming back again and again to make new purchases.

By using lifetime value as your core revenue metric to measure against marketing costs, marketers get a truer sense of their margins and the return on their investment.

But often, knowing the lifetime value of your customers is just the starting point. As marketers, we also want to grow that number, so that every customer we add brings more revenue to our company.

How to Increase Lifetime Value

If you want to increase the lifetime value of your customers, there are three main paths that you can pursue. First, you can keep them in your company’s orbit for a longer period of time, thereby increasing the number of purchases that they make from you. Second, you can aim to increase the value of each purchase they make by upselling them to higher priced items. Third, you can add new products or services aimed at increasing the amount of needs you fulfill for each customer.

Keep Customers Longer

This is where your loyalty program makes a difference. When you keep customers happy and give them an incentive to continue to purchase from you rather than switch to one of your competitors, you are sure to increase lifetime value.

Typical loyalty programs include some form of customer community, discounts and specials offers, points or rewards toward future purchases, news and events. Whether your company already has an existing loyalty program or not, there are things that marketers can do to entice repeat business.


For many customers, the first time they purchase from your company they are taking a risk. They are giving you their hard earned money and they don’t know what to expect. So it makes sense that they might start small. Perhaps they buy one thing. Or they sign up for the low price option instead of the premium.

A good upsell program encourages these “lower value” customers to come back again and upgrade. That starts with fulfilling your initial promise. Whatever they bought the first time had better solve their problem.

And then, you have the time and attention necessary to convince them that there is more you can do for them. You can sell the benefits of your higher-priced alternatives in person, by phone, or in emails. And as a part of your loyalty program, you can even offer them a discount to upgrade.

Add Products

Many companies employ this third strategy. After enjoying success in one product line, they look to expand their offerings. The key to making this strategy pay off, is knowing your customers intimately. Understand why they shop with you, what problems you are solving, and then look for related problems those same people are also having.

By offering complementary products, your company can become a larger part of each customer’s total spending in this category.

In Conclusion

If you have 1,000 customers and each one is worth $100 today, that’s $100,000 in revenue. If that same group of customers could be worth $150 by employing some of the suggestions above, that’s an additional $50,000 in revenue without bringing in any new customers.

And that means that as marketers, you have more room in your margins to market more aggressively and test new campaigns.

Finding Customers with No Brand Loyalty


For small or growing companies looking to take market share away from larger incumbents, it helps to find the customers in the market with no established loyalty. These are the customers that may have purchased from your competitors in the past, but there is nothing keeping them from jumping ship and trying something new.

The key question is, how do you find these people?

  1. Check online reviews on Yelp, Google, and Facebook for your competitors. Find the things that people are complaining about. That will help you determine where your company has an opportunity to better meet consumers’ needs.
  2. Consumer data providers can help you identify customers in the category who shop around and are more susceptible or offers and price. They will help you exclude customers with branded credit cards or on loyalty programs.
  3. Search Twitter, online forums, and discussion boards to find sets of customers unhappy with their current solution and make introductory offers to get them to switch.
  4. Research where your competitors are advertising and make sure your brand is showing up there as well.

The key for any new or small company trying to battle a larger incumbent is strong word of mouth. Once you find those initial customers who are willing to give your offering a try, do everything you can to wow them. They will be your greatest marketing resource going forward.

How to Cultivate a Customer Community

Many successful companies have figured out how to put their customers at the top of their priority list. And although almost any company will tell you that’s the case with them, most of them are lying.

I’m talking about companies like Harley-Davidson, who recognized a number of years ago that they needed a new strategy. They had hordes of die-hard fans, customers who would forever be loyal to the brand. But the company was not being loyal to them.

A strategic shift put customers front and center, creating a worldwide community around the brand that helped them turn the business around.

Not all brands are Harley-Davidson, but that doesn’t mean the customer community can’t work for you. Cultivating a brand-enhancing community like Harley-Davidson can be the ticket to increased loyalty, word of mouth marketing, goodwill, press coverage, and more.

To do it requires a fundamental shift in the way your business operates – from who makes decisions and how, to the company organization, technologies, processes, etc. Putting the company first, in practice, is about making them the stars.

First, figure out who your biggest fans are. And find out why they love you. Your goal is to make them happier, and use the tools and products you have that make them happy to grow their ranks.

You can do this with online communities, special offers and exclusive content, meetings and events. You become their advocates, as much as they become yours. Give them the tools to connect with one another and get more out of your offerings.

When you thrill your fans, you turn them into champions for your brand. And when you connect them with one another, you create a movement that can redefine your business.

Do you have what it takes to make this strategic shift?