The real reason why customers come back

It used to be that I enjoyed shopping.  But when it came time for me to shop for something to wear for a big important event late last year, the feelings I was experiencing were far from joy.  I was frustrated.  And after having gone to multiple places over the course of a few days with no luck, I found myself on the verge of a meltdown.  Both my time and patience were running short and I wasn’t sure of what to do next.

Things started to look up once I wandered into White House Black Market.  Upon walking in the store, one of the employees greeted me and asked what I was looking for.  Following a few more probing questions about the event, he sent me to the dressing room while he pulled different options for me.  

After trying on a few different items selected, I found a dress I loved.  Yippee, mission accomplished!  Just when I thought I was done, the team in the store brought over some shoes and accessories to help complete the look.  By the time I left the store, I had purchased a dress, shoes, belt, and a jacket.  I bought way more than I intended to buy, and spent way more than I wanted to spend.  But I had no regrets (still don’t).  I loved every item, I felt great in them, and my wardrobe crisis was over.  

Solving the problem alone isn’t enough

In a lot of cases, customers have multiple options available to them to get their problem solved.  And for those problems that tend to be recurring, such as finding something to wear, a place to eat, or a good book to read, customers are often driven to make their selections based upon experience.  

When the experience with a business is memorable in a way that leaves customers delighted, they are much more likely to return when the need presents itself again.  But when the experience is forgettable or negative (even if the problem is solved), it becomes very easy for customers to choose one of the many other available options to solve their recurring problem.

Through the years I’ve bought a number of articles of clothing that I loved from many different stores.  But hands down, the best and most memorable shopping experience came from my brief time in White House Black Market.  Not only did they solve my problem of needing something to wear, they saved me time, AND made me feel fabulous in the process.  I felt like a VIP with my own personal stylists tending to me!    

By anticipating the needs I would have, and then delivering on them before I even had to ask, the staff made life easier for me.  As such, I didn’t have to run around from store to store in search of shoes that would go nicely with the dress I was going to get.  The team found some options in my size and brought them to me to try on while still wearing the dress in the fitting room.  Because I’m not big into accessories, I wouldn’t have thought to get a belt to go with the dress, but the one they presented to me worked great and I was instantly sold upon seeing it.  As a result, I gladly bought more than I intended to buy, recommended the store to a friend who was looking for a special occasion dress, and I intend to go back whenever the need arises.

The combination of a friendly and well trained staff, stylish quality products, and a selling system that was designed to add value and deliver a delightful experience, worked to differentiate the shop greatly from the other stores in the mall for me.  And now I have a whole new view and appreciation for what I now consider the ideal way to shop.

What does this have to do with your business?

Once your customers have chosen to be your customer, how they feel about the experience they have with your business is a driving force behind whether or not they continue to be your customer.  

For you to build a business that thrives, it is imperative that you have a strong base of loyal repeat customers.  And the best way to do this is to create an experience for them that makes them feel so good that they want you to be the one to solve their problem the next time.

To create a customer experience that consistently delights, you’ll need to develop a plan complete with recipes that deliver the results you desire.  As you build your plan, its important to remember that all your customer touch points contribute to the experience your customer has with your business.  This includes your products, your people, your website, your packaging, your customer service, and any other method in which your customer interacts with your business.  

Check out chapter eleven of Delight Inside for more information on how to delight your customers.  Included in the chapter you’ll find details on:

  • Creating delighted customers
  • How to get there:  Becoming a delight machine

About the Author

Sonia Thompson is the founder and Chief Change Agent at TRY Business. Stay in touch with Sonia on Twitter and Google+.
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