Exceeding Expectations: The Path to Stellar Customer Feedback

Exceeding Expectations: The Path to Stellar Customer Feedback

In the world of business, feedback is gold. It is the compass that guides our decisions, the barometer that measures our success, and the mirror that reflects our performance. But let’s face it; your customers will not tell you if everything went right in their interactions with you unless you ask them. The average consumer is bombarded with countless interactions daily, from the barista who makes their morning coffee to the online store where they shop. If every experience is “fine” or “as expected,” it doesn’t warrant a mention. Only the peaks and valleys, the extraordinary and the disastrous, compel customers to share their stories.

How can you improve those peaks of positive customer feedback and reduce the valleys of negative feedback? How do you stand out in a sea of your competitor’s content and create memorable customer experiences? Whether through proactively requesting feedback after a sale or organic reviews online (think Yelp! Or Google business reviews), there are ways to improve your customer’s feedback about your business.

Dare to be Different

In today’s competitive marketplace, where businesses frequently emulate successful models and heed the advice of “influencers” on best practices, positive customer feedback cannot be elusive. By daring to be the exception to the status quo and actively seeking and implementing customer feedback, you can distinctly set your business apart from the competition. This differentiation doesn’t always require a complete overhaul or reinventing the wheel. The essence lies in being authentic, staying true to your brand’s core values, and consistently offering something fresh and tailored to your customer’s feedback. In doing so, you stand out and foster a deeper connection with your audience. Ways to be different include:

  • Unique loyalty programs: Tailor rewards and incentives using direct input from customers. This ensures that the program is appealing and relevant, fostering increased brand loyalty and engagement.
  • Organizing community events: Host events that resonate deeply with your audience. Understanding their interests and values can create memorable experiences that strengthen community ties and enhance brand perception.
  • Showcasing products innovatively: Instead of traditional marketing, present your products in fresh, creative ways. This captures attention and highlights your brand’s commitment to innovation and staying ahead of the curve.
  • Communicating with your audience in unexpected places: As I wrote in a recent blog post, many businesses neglect to meet their audiences where they are talking about their businesses online. If you communicate with your customers online on their terms, you will learn new things and create new connections.

Go Above and Beyond

Meeting basic expectations is the baseline for your customers. Exceeding them is where the magic happens and where you have the best opportunity for positive customer feedback. Think about what you currently do. Everything from how you communicate with your customers to the products you order and services you provide. What could you amp up or improve upon? Here are some suggestions: 

  • Personalization: In an era of automation, a personal touch can make all the difference. This could be a handwritten thank-you note with an order or a personalized recommendation based on past purchases. Depending on what data you have on your customers, you could even send emails with more personalization than just their names.
  • Responsiveness: Quick and effective responses to queries or complaints can turn a potentially negative experience into a positive one. It shows customers that you value them and are committed to resolving their issues. Even swift responses to positive public feedback will show potential customers you are an active and engaged business.

Added value: Offer more than what your customers expect. This could mean giving free samples of your products, adding services to help ease the customer’s usage of your product, or educational content related to your product or service. Read my recent blog post about how Home Depot does this with its melding of online and in-person experiences.

Embrace the Unexpected

Surprise is a powerful emotion. When customers encounter the unexpected (in a good way), it creates a memorable experience. In my book, The Content Puzzle, I discuss how emotions play an important part in successful marketing. Humans don’t always make decisions based on logic or reason. Giving them something to feel can give them the impetus to act and hopefully purchase your product or service. Here are some ways to sprinkle unexpected delights: 

  • Random acts of kindness: Occasionally upgrade a regular customer’s order for free, send a surprise gift to loyal clients, or offer a complimentary service out of the blue. Small businesses are good at doing these types of things, but even big companies can build in “kindness” points in their interactions with their best customers.
  • Show them how it is done: Share behind-the-scenes looks at your business, tell the story of how your products are made, or share customer testimonials creatively. People love to see how things work, and behind-the-scenes videos or articles are good, evergreen content to keep in your back pocket.
  • Host unique events: Organize unexpected pop-up events or workshops in locations that your customers frequent that offer attendees genuine value. These could be educational sessions related to your products, fun interactive experiences, or a space to relax and enjoy complimentary refreshments. The surprise element of discovering a brand they love in an unexpected place can create a lasting impression.

Ask, Listen, and Act

Lastly, while it’s true that customers might not always vocalize their satisfaction, it doesn’t mean we shouldn’t seek their feedback. Regularly ask your customers about their experiences. You can use surveys, feedback forms, or even direct conversations. But asking is just the first step. Listen to what they have to say and act on it. This continuous feedback loop and improvement will enhance your offerings and show customers that their opinions matter. Furthermore, by actively addressing their concerns and implementing suggestions, you refine your products and services and foster a sense of community. Customers feel valued and integral to your brand’s growth, leading to increased loyalty and trust. Oftentimes, business owners become myopic about their products and services. Your customers often have great ideas for improving your offering. And all you must do is listen. 

Customer feedback 5 stars

Customer feedback is more than just comments or ratings; it’s the lifeblood of continuous improvement in the business world. In an era where many brands might seem indistinguishable, those who prioritize and act on customer feedback distinguish themselves. By actively seeking out and valuing this feedback, businesses can pinpoint areas of enhancement, innovate based on real needs, and solidify their customer bond. It’s not just about meeting expectations but about evolving with them. In the end, a brand that listens to its customers and iterates based on their feedback is one that’s poised for sustained success and growth.

The Psychology of Fonts

The Psychology of Fonts

The fonts that you choose in your marketing can have an influence on how people connect with your content on an emotional level.

(In this post, am using the term “fonts” to describe fonts in general, including typefaces. However, technically typefaces are the letters, numbers, and symbols that share a certain design. Fonts are the different set of glyphs within a typeface. A typeface can have many font families within it.)

Why are fonts important? Think about the last ad that you saw. What caught your eye? Probably the colors, images, and words. But were the words easy to read? Were different fonts used in the same visual element? Did the font styles flow together, or did they contrast each other? You may not have consciously thought about these questions, but your subconscious mind was noticing. If you look at the history of font usage in marketing, you will notice a trend towards more simplistic, cleaner fonts. Gone are the days of complex, ornate fonts used in branding and visual content. Consider the difference between these three fonts:

Which of these is easiest for you to read? If you are like most of the general population, the first or second fonts are probably the easiest for your brain to understand. According to a study by MDG Advertising, decorative fonts are harder for people to read, particularly in large amounts. There is a reason that most word processing systems have Arial or Calibri as their default fonts. That does not mean that decorative fonts don’t have their place in marketing, but they should be used sparingly and not in large text areas.

How do you choose the right font for your purposes? You want to consider several factors when choosing the font (or fonts) to select for your creative:

  • Brand – refer to your brand guidelines and make sure you are incorporating your brand font appropriately. In most cases, you are not going to want to introduce many new fonts into your creative if you already have primary and secondary fonts as part of your brand guidelines.
  • Form – if you are creating an infographic, you may want the simplest font that is easier for the eye to read. If you are creating a website banner, you might want a bolder font that is in the same font family as your logo font.
  • Function – are you developing a creative piece that is meant for your audience to click on? You will want to make sure that font is large enough for people to read and click on with their mouse or finger (on mobile devices).
  • Intent – are you looking to make a splash with your creative? Perhaps an over-emphasized or unusual font style would be appropriate. (But do so sparingly.)
  • Channel – this is another area where accessibility standards are important. If you are creating a piece of content to be used on a digital platform such as your website, you will want to choose a font that can be interpreted correctly by most devices. If you are creating something for print, make sure that your fonts can withstand the print process without blurring or adjustments.
  • Environment – put together, different fonts can appear more or less cohesive. It is also important to pay attention to the other visual elements around the fonts.

It can take time to figure out the best font pairings for your marketing efforts. And it is another good reason why you should hire an experienced graphic designer. If your font pairings are not cohesive to the eye, it will interrupt the message getting through to the audience’s brains.

The details matter

The details matter

I use my phone for everything. It is probably not healthy, but I’m a big fan of anything that makes my life easier. I have the apps for all our favorite restaurants so that I can easily put our name on the wait list or order carry out. I have all of my travel apps so that I can easily scan my flight tickets or order my hotel room door with my phone. I have health apps, productivity apps, even apps to control appliances in my home.

Why am I telling you this? The other day, my husband was working around the house and needed more spackle. He asked if I could go to the hardware store and pick up some more. I live in the suburbs of Indianapolis, Indiana and we have a lot of hardware store options around here. The big three are Menards, The Home Depot, and Lowe’s. Then there are some smaller ones like Ace hardware and True Value. So we have lots of options. But anytime I can, I choose The Home Depot. Why? Because their mobile app (and even their mobile site) is so very helpful.

To start off, they provide an option to either scan or take a photo of the item you need to find. As you can imagine, with hardware, not everything has a bar code. In this case, I was able to scan the pack of the bucket. Right away, the app displayed the item I was looking for as well as some very helpful information. It told me in which aisle the item was located. But not only that, it told me exactly which bin to look in. Most importantly, it told me that there were 47 of that particular item in stock. How many times have you gone to a store only to find that they item you were looking for was out of stock? This provided me peace of mind knowing that I would actually be able to purchase the item when I got to the store. When I got to the store, the app showed me exactly where in the store the item was located.

Inside the store, everything is clearly marked. It literally took me less than 5 minutes to find what I was looking for in the store. The only thing that slowed me down was that they didn’t have tap and pay. I had to dig in my wallet and get my credit card out and actually put it in the machine to pay.

What lessons can be learned by this?

  • Put yourself in your customer’s shoes. Think about what your customers need from you. What are the barriers to them making a purchase? Get rid of those barriers.
  • KISS. Yes, that is Keep It Simple, Stupid. Make things as easy as possible for your customers.
  • Every touchpoint is an opportunity. It doesn’t matter if it is in the mobile app or in-store, the experience was easy for me, the customers.

Now think about your business. How can you make every touchpoint easier for your customers?