How to improve customer satisfaction: discover how an inclusive baby boutique added value without losing their personal touch
Delivering a personal touch is key to setting your small business apart. And for many business owners, it’s a real source of pride. What’s more, customers are increasingly expecting personalized service—and they’re willing to pay more for it. According to American Express’s 2017 Customer Service Barometer, millennials are willing to spend as much as 21% more for an excellent customer experience. Providing a quality experience can also turn new customers into repeat customers, which can add value to your business, considering it can be up to 25 times more expensive to acquire a new customer than sell to a current one.
But many business owners also struggle with maintaining their personal touch as their business grows. It can be a double-edge sword: growth brings more customers, more opportunity and, of course, more revenue. But it also means less time to give each customer the personalized attention and service that you’ve built your reputation on. As co-owners of St. Louis-based LGBTQ+ baby boutique HelloPride, co-owners Megan Hines and Meagan Barfield navigated this exact problem and found creative ways to keep things personal and make their customers feel appreciated as their sales ramped up.
How they own it:
Hand-finished, not hands-off.
In the early days of HelloPride, Megan and Meagan found a simple yet personal way to delight customers with every order--a handwritten thank-you note. By addressing each recipient by name and expressing their appreciation in a handcrafted format, HelloPride proved to their customers that behind each order is a real person who genuinely cares about their satisfaction. Of course, not every business has the time or the resources to handwrite hundreds of notes. And, as HelloPride’s orders started flowing in, neither did Megan and Meagan. Rather than abandon the idea entirely, they found a clever way to say thanks that still felt personal, without needing to be handwritten. Their solution? A postcard printed with custom messaging that features their signatures in a handwritten font. The postcards maintained the brand’s playful personality while increasing efficiency.
How can you add value with more personal touches? Think about occasions when your customer would value a personalized interaction. It could be an order confirmation, an unboxing moment, or a follow-up conversation. Stickers can add a personal touch to packaging. A custom stamp can put a personalized flourish on correspondence. It’s all about showing that a real person took the time—and the care—to add that extra finishing touch.
“When the orders started picking up, we knew we couldn’t handwrite notes fast enough. But it was still just as important to delight our customers.”
Online, personal service is just as powerful.
True human-to-human customer service is what sets many small businesses apart from their larger competitors. But for online businesses with automated processes, sounding like a human and creating truly personal interactions can be difficult. For their online shop, Megan and Meagan use every opportunity to speak directly with their customers. In their reviews, many of their customers rave about their prompt and personal communication. HelloPride’s owners may not have time to respond to inquiries immediately—they both work full-time jobs—but they answer every email within 24 hours. Rather than using boilerplate messaging for order confirmations, they crafted copy that sounds like their actual voices and personalities. It might sound obvious, but, in the face of growing automation, being able to speak with a real person can be a major selling-point for customers, especially when issues or questions arise.
To add value to your customer experiences, consider ways to give a little extra. Is your customer just down the street? Offer to hand-deliver their purchase. Facing a request for a return? Accept it gladly and follow up to ensure their satisfaction. Winning at personalized service means finding ways to go above and beyond customer expectations.
“For us, it’s all about giving our customers little extras at every moment.”
A little extra goes a long way.
Adding small gifts or takeaways with their purchase can go a long way toward making your customers feel appreciated. One cost-effective way Megan and Meagan provide that little something extra? Stickers. HelloPride's bright, bubbly branding is just right for kid-friendly stickers, and many of their customers are families with young children. Since they already use custom stickers in their packaging, throwing a couple extra in the box is both easy and inexpensive. As your business grows, are there cost-effective opportunities to add value by offering gifts-with-purchase? Branded pens are a classic example. Custom tote bags are a current trend—they're genuinely useful and they even double as conversation starters and handheld advertising. Regardless of size or prize, items that match your customers’ real needs are more likely to delight.
Being able to speak directly with your customers is part of what makes owning a small business rewarding. As your business grows, don’t lose sight of that connection. Increasing demands on your time and resources might seem daunting, but with some creative thinking you’ll find new ways to provide the personalized service that earned your customers’ loyalty in the first place.
About the business
HelloPride is a baby boutique for LGBTQ+ families and their allies. They make playful baby onesies that give all families the opportunity to be represented and celebrate their love.
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