By Shep Hyken

In a recent interview with Katie Mares, author of CustomHer Experience: The Importance of Tailoring Your Brand Experience to the Female Customer, we talked about creating a five-star experience. Mares had some excellent ideas, and here they are, followed by my commentary. By the way, even though Mares’ expertise is in selling to female customers, these ideas work for everyone. 

  1. What you say and how you say it matters. Using a simple example to make this point, you can answer the phone and say, “Good morning.” But, depending on your tone of voice, the person on the other end will either feel as if they are interrupting you or being welcomed into a conversation. Yes, use the right words, but also say them the right way. 
  2. Use the customer’s name. In the 1936 book How to Win Friends and Influence People, Dale Carnegie wrote, “Remember that a man’s name is, to him, the sweetest and most important sound in any language.” Of course, today, Carnegie would write this in a more inclusive way, but the point is that people love hearing their names. Using the power of someone’s name correctly is a great rapport builder that will move the relationship forward.  
  3. Show genuine interest. Mares nails this point. She asks, “Who paid for that vacation you took last year, the expensive shoes you bought your kids, or that nice meal you had with your family?” The answer is, “The customer!” If that doesn’t make you more interested in showing interest in them, nothing will.  
  4. Be anticipatory and look for the “golden nugget” that will help you deliver the “plus one” experience. Look for opportunities to surprise the customer. For example, if you’re a server in a restaurant and you overhear a couple talking about their anniversary, that “golden nugget” of information is the perfect opportunity to improve the experience with a surprise, such as a slice of cake with a candle. Anticipate and listen for opportunities that allow you to “plus one” the experience.  
  5. Be a hero. Nobody is perfect. There will be mistakes and problems. They may or may not be your fault. It doesn’t matter. How you handle customer complaints and issues can make you the hero of the moment. Not only do you take care of the customer, but you can also restore confidence, often to a higher level than if the problem never happened. 

This is a great list of common-sense ideas that anyone can implement immediately. So, what are you waiting for? Go out there and deliver the five-star experience that makes customers say, “I’ll be back!”