Welcome to 2019 and to my brand new series; Staying Classy! This series is all about the good, the bad and the ugly of handling complaints and feedback. Over the next five weeks I’ll be diving deep into how to manage complaints, all whilst staying classy. If your goal for 2019 is to create an amazing customer service experience than this is exactly what you need.
So much focus is on how to handle negative feedback, but there is often not much discussion of the importance of acknowledging and responding to positive feedback.
I’m going to keep this simple. I think if someone gives you some positive feedback, you should respond in some way. Now, I don’t mean people who write “cool photo” on your Instagram post. What I mean is people who email you to thank you for your help, leave kind reviews on your Facebook page or recommend you on Google.
Building customer loyalty should be one of your primary business tasks, because without customers you have no business. It’s so important to retain existing customers because they pass on their positive experiences to others AND return to your company again and again.
The most important elements to include in any response are:
Say thank you
Adding a personal element (either from what they’ve said OR by checking in to your customer records to see what they purchased).
Do not use it as an opportunity to upsell. Nothing makes me cringe more than seeing a response where they’re like “Oh thanks for purchasing. Maybe you’ll like X product or service”.
Now, before we dive into my suggestions, I want to make it clear. I don’t think you should encourage positive feedback by incentivising it. Instead, these tips are designed to help you find little ways to reward the customers that are loyal to you.
Write a thank you note
Whether it’s an email or a physical card, make sure it is a personal message. Repeat the language your customer used back to them, be specific, show your gratitude and open the lines of communication for the future. Here’s an example:
I just read your sweet words on my Facebook page about our Summer Lovin’ necklace; I agree that it’s the perfect necklace to wear to summer parties (we were inspired by the birthday party scene from Chocolat when we were designing it).
It always thrills me to read about people loving wearing my jewellery, especially since I work online and don’t get to meet my wonderful customers face to face very often.
Please don’t hesitate to email me at any time (it doesn’t have to be lovely compliments either)
Learn the art of writing an amazing thank you note >>> Right this way
This requires that you keep track of the positive feedback you get but it will be worth it when you surprise your customer the next time they make a purchase:
Give a discount
Send a bonus product (extra points if it’s something that’s on their wish list or that they’ve added to their cart and removed)
Add a service at no additional charge
It’s up to you whether you tell your customer ahead of time that they have a surprise waiting for them. I can see the value in it being a complete surprise, but it’s also hard to be sure when they’ll make a purchase again. Also, it’s a fine line between rewarding your customer and encouraging them to make a purchase (which can come across badly). Ultimately it comes down to your customer base and how you think they would respond.
Hold an in-person event
This is something Taylor Swift did with her most recent album launch. She held secret listening parties with some of her most enthusiastic fans. If you have an online business, it’s a great way to get to know your customers face to face (and an excellent way for them to get to know each other as well). This could be in the form of a launch party for a new product line or service, a Christmas (or another holiday) party or even just a simple coffee date (great if you offer services online). If (like me) you’re a determined introvert, try and make sure you have a plan to manage the inevitable awkward silences; whether this is some questions you want to be answered, games to play or hiring a musician.
Create a VIP service
Airlines worked this out years ago - people like to feel special. I love being a Virgin Velocity member, and it has turned me into a Virgin advocate (thankfully made easy by the genuinely lovely experience I always have with Virgin). Rather than rewarding loyal customers, create a VIP program as a reward for customers who give you positive feedback. This could give them early access to new product lines, regular discounts, bonus services at no extra charge. Most importantly, make sure you let them know why they have become a VIP:
I just finished reading your incredibly kind email about the ring you purchased. I’m so glad you like it! I want to give you something as a way to say thank you. I’d like you to join my gang (don’t worry - it’s the fun kind of gang). Indie’s Girl Gang will entitle you to:
Early notification of new products: get the jump on everyone else and the chance to order new products two days in advance of everyone else
Free shipping on every order!
Exclusive discounts on your birthday and over the holidays
You’ll also get emails from me giving you a behind the scenes look at what’s going on in my business.
Welcome to the gang (sorry you’ll need to buy your own gang jacket).