We’ve all heard the expression, “under promise and over deliver.” It means that giving customers more than they expect is a way to increase satisfaction and loyalty.
One way to “over deliver” is to give customers something extra—an unadvertised bonus. If the product they bought requires batteries, drop a package of batteries into the box. Upgrade shipping at no extra charge. Give a one-time discount to a repeat customer. Could you provide priority service and faster handling to regular customers, in effect moving them to the front of the line?
Upgrade customers to a higher-priced product or service, at no charge. Hotels, airlines and car rental companies do this all the time.
The best extras are items that cost you little or nothing, but have value to your customers. It doesn’t cost the hotel any more to put you in a suite than a regular room. If it is not going to be used by a customer willing to pay the price for the suite, why not upgrade a good customer to that room?
A booklet or CD with information they can use could cost well under $1, but have a much higher perceived value. A product you buy in bulk may be inexpensive at wholesale. Check out the wholesalers who specialize in selling overstock merchandise to dollar stores and other discounters. You may find high-quality items at low prices.
When you give customers an extra product or service, make sure there is a price attached to it. For example, you might invoice for the entire cost of a service, then apply a credit to the invoice for the value of the giveaway. This is a vivid reminder to them that there is an associated cost, but they didn’t have to pay it! The point of the price is not to create an artificial value, but to demonstrate that the customer got something worthwhile without paying the price.
Put a few samples of other products in with customer orders. Not only will they be happy they got some freebies, they may add the products they sample to their next orders.
Customers appreciate convenience. The Parking Spot, an airport parking service, hands out bottles of water to returning travelers. They know that their customers have been on airplanes, probably for hours, and may be dehydrated. A cold bottle of water is not an expensive extra, but it is just what customers want. And, they will remember that little extra the next time they are deciding where to park at the airport.
One of the best ways you can over-deliver is by listening to your customers. Call after the sale to ask how the purchase is working out for them. How was their interaction with your staff? Does the product work as expected? Are they satisfied? If there is a problem, this gives you the opportunity to fix it. Even if everything is perfect, customers will be surprised and delighted that you followed up with them.
What can you do to surprise and delight your customers?