How to Leave a Lasting Impression

Career consultant Diana Henderson shares her tips for transforming your business.

From Diana: Today’s marketplace is full of great business concepts, product platforms and service offerings. If you can imagine it, there’s a company providing it. As a consumer, there’s certainly more to choose from than ever before; however, many businesses provide nothing more than “me too” products or services. Few are offering what’s truly unique. So what draws a prospective customer to your business? What sets you apart and differentiates your business in a crowded market?

The million-dollar question is answered simply—unequivocally stellar service. It’s simple in concept, challenging in practice, but yields great results. Here are a few tips to put stand-out service to work:

Roll out the red carpet

When you roll out the proverbial red carpet, you’re extending an experience that some (or most) don’t receive everyday. It’s unique. It’s special. It instills a sense of worth that your customer will treasure. It tells them that you value their business. And it’s really easy to implement when done right. Here’s the ticket—use their name in communications addressing them. For example, “Mrs. Smith, it’s great to have you join us today,” “Mr. Parker, we really appreciate your purchase,” or “Ms. Sharp, we thought you might like to consider this product, which complements the one you just selected.” Using your customer’s name demonstrates honor and, in today’s business landscape, that raises the bar.

Gift your guest

Growing up, my mom taught me to bring a gift when visiting someone’s house—a plant, a bottle of wine, a dessert. Mom sure knows best, right? That same practice leaves a lasting impression in business. When sent following an interaction, a gift multiplies your customer engagement. No time for gift orchestration? Partner with a platform like Gravy to select from curated gifts and custom wrap in your branding, and ship directly to your customer for a truly “wow” experience.  

Remember the details

Our pediatrician is a business genius. Every time we visit,  he recalls a detail that we shared during our previous visit and inquires about it with great sincerity. His ability to remember detail (which is likely prompted by notes) makes us feel special. Personalize your email communications to include details from a phone conversation. Save a birthday, anniversary or other milestone on your calendar to send a “thinking of you” communication. Take notes in your phone with details your customer shared to reference in your next engagement. Detail makes a difference—all the difference.

Go the extra mile

One of my favorite quotes of all time is: “Go the extra mile, there’s less competition there.” Take your customer service one step further than the next company and you’re highly likely to have exceeded the service provided by your competition. Perhaps, your products are comparable to another company or your customers have to drive a little bit further or wait a little bit longer to get your product over a different brand. How will you convince them yours is worth the drive or worth the wait? Maybe your product comes with a customer support line with extended hours (open until 7pm, when most close at 5pm), a money-back guarantee if a customer is dissatisfied or a handwritten “thank you” to every customer who makes a purchase over $100. Whatever your secret sauce is, make it special. Make it stand out and set you apart from your competition.