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Giving your customers what they want is great, but you can do better. Truly endear your customers to you by delivering more than what they simply ask for.

Giving the customer exactly what they want is not the benchmark for customer service. If customer orders are being fulfilled properly, if their shipments are being received on time, and if their requested services are being performed promptly and effectively, certainly they should be satisfied. However, these thresholds are the bare minimum for what any company should be able to accomplish. Truly exceptional customer service, the kind that makes people talk about how great a company has treated them, comes from going beyond what the customer tells you that they want.

For some, this might seem like too much work. It is, after all, very easy to just maintain the status quo when a business model appears to be working. However, the history of business is full of companies who have sprang out of nowhere to have great success, simply because they were willing to go above and beyond what their competitors were willing or able to do. The true meaning of customer service lies in giving your customers a better experience than they expect. If you leave a customer surprised with how well you performed in any given situation, you stand a much better chance of that customer becoming an active advocate for your brand. This is a key concept, because no matter how much money you spend on advertising, there is no more potent marketing force than an unsolicited customer spreading the word about your company.

Find ways to predict what your customers want, and find ways to surpass it whenever you can. Something as simple as expediting shipments so that they arrive earlier than anticipated can turn an idle customer into an incredibly loyal one. If margins are tight and spending more on shipping isn’t an option, consider adding personal touches to your products and services. Handwritten notes from managers, follow up phone calls, or discounts on future purchases show customers that you really appreciate them and want to make sure that they’ve received nothing but the best service.

Another way to surpass customer expectations is to ensure that they never sit on hold again. Better yet, don’t leave them stranded to deal with elevator music and voicemail messages when they call. Those impersonal automated phone systems are the modern equivalent of nails on a chalkboard to most people. By employing an answering service like Acena to eliminate on hold times and provide prompt, customized service for each caller, you show your clientele that you’re the kind of company that is going to strive to surpass, rather than simply meet, their expectations. That level of service leaves a lasting, positive impression on people and establishes your company as one that goes the extra mile to provide stellar customer experiences.

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