As consumers, many of us are all-too familiar with companies who don’t meet our basic needs. How many times have you been at the rough end of a sales assistant who wouldn’t deliver any service, much less with a smile? Or bought from a company that under delivered or failed to make good on their promises at all. We order products that arrive late, eat meals and find they’re cold or have a hair in it. We watch films that don’t live up to the trailers or the hype surrounding them…the list could go on.
This is why it’s so refreshing when a company goes out of its way to do the opposite: give you more than you actually bargained for. This is what is known as ‘over delivering’ in business and it’s a very powerful tool if you want to increase your company’s reputation and encourage loyalty from your customers. It’s a sure way to getting word of mouth promotion, which is cheaper than any marketing or advertising campaign you could ever pay for.
How to over-deliver
Once you’ve experienced substandard service from another business, it’s natural to want to ensure that your own customers don’t experience it when they come into contact with your own business. The question is, however, how do you over deliver?
1. Give good customer service and support
While this seems obvious, it goes beyond the basic service with a smile. As the owner of a tuition business, Geek School I get numerous telephone and email enquirers from concerned parents looking for tuition for their children – and guidance. It would be easy to cast off those who clearly have no intention of actually going ahead with the tuition, but make a call to pick my Brian’s. However, to do this would result in poor customer service. So, instead, the aim is always to be a listening ear and a source of advice, and on numerous occasions, parents who have been given this listening ear have returned to start or have referred other parents to the business.
This shows how easy it is to over deliver by providing support. When we buy a product or service we expect a certain amount of support should anything go wrong, but if you make an effort to reach out and make sure the customer is happy – and to let them know that they can contact you for further consultation at any point, then you’ll often find that it leaves a lasting impression and a buying relationship or, better still, word of mouth promotion.
Nothing beats care and attention when packaging your goods for delivery to customers. If you’ve ever bought on eBay, for example, there is a different approach from all sellers. Some will happily wrap and package new and used items in used boxes, padded envelopes and even carrier bags, stuck together with brown masking tape. Those who are trying to over-deliver, will go the extra mile, using tissue paper and include a personal handwritten note thanking customers for their service. Who would you want to buy from?
Like good packaging, if there is something that is low cost that you can send to customers for free, then do. Last Christmas, I went to my usual nail salon and was so impressed by their giving away of 250ml free handcreams to all customers. It could is a step above most of their competitors who may give a 10% discount on the next visit, which although another way of over-delivering, doesn’t have the same impact as being given a physical gift.
4. A personal touch
Just like ensuring that the packaging is well thought out and of the highest quality, whether customers buy from your shop or an online store, a personal message of thanks, or a phone call to ensure that they have received their order is something that customers will not forget.
If your delivery time is normally 3-5 days, for example, then advertise it as 4-7 days and all those customers who get their parcel a day or so early will be very satisfied indeed.