Little Tricks to Get More Customers Smiling

smile

It always surprises me to hear that so few business people implement strategies to make their customers feel good. I know that trying to keep customers happy is a generally unspoken rule when you’re in business. Indeed, satisfied clients are usually the goal.

But do you actually implement best practices to get customers smiling?

Here’s a good reason to work on making customers smile more. When Harris Interactive conducted a poll a few years ago, 88% of people felt that good customer service beat out hot deals and offers. That’s a nearly unanimous statistic, and I’m pretty positive that you’d get the same result if you were you to ask people the same question today.

Plus, it just makes logical sense: smiling customers make for successful businesses.

Let’s look at twelve very easy tactics you can implement starting right now to make your customers smile.

Little trick #1: Smile warmly

You’d be surprised at how much of a difference a smile can make whether you are reassuring a customer he or she is making a good choice or trying to defuse a sticky situation. A smile shows that you’re calm, in a good mood, and willing to do what you can.

Little trick #2: Bring smiles into your phone conversations

You may not realize how much the tone of your voice changes when you smile, but it’s actually very noticeable – people can hear smiles even if they can’t see them. If you rarely talk on the phone, use emoticons in emails and text messages. Some people say that emoticons aren’t very professional, but one well-placed “smiley” takes the tone of the text to a whole new level.

Little trick #3: Say your customer’s name twice

To make sure your message is well received, get people to pay more attention to what you’re saying by using their names. We tend to focus when we hear our names, and you’ll find that customers seem to listen a little more to what’s just been said or what’s about to be said if you use this tactic. The best way to use this technique is to say a person’s name twice in any conversation. It shows you’re highly aware of the person and tuned into the conversation, and it also creates better personal rapport.

Little trick #4: Touch a customer while smiling

An effective way to create more rapport is to actually touch someone briefly as you smile at that person. One of the best ways to brighten a mood is to give someone’s shoulder a gentle squeeze while you say something reassuring or complimentary. And, yes, offer your customer a smile – he or she will automatically return it to you.

Little trick #5: Tell a customer he or she is special

This is so easy to do, and it costs nothing to boost someone’s morale. People love to feel accepted and liked, so telling someone she is a special customer can go a long way towards making her feel awesome about herself – and that’s definitely going to make her feel good about you as well.

Want to add some extra punch to that last tip? Tell someone else that you think someone is special, while that person is standing right there listening. Think about how you’d feel if you heard someone you’ve hired or bought something from tell another person that you’re a great person. You can’t help but smile when you hear compliments like that!

Little trick #6: Treat your staff and employees well

Speaking of good feelings…Don’t forget to spread smiles among the people who work for you. If you do, they’ll treat your customers the way you treat them. If you’re always smiling, happy, and glad to talk with your staff, you’ll find they carry that attitude towards people who buy from your business. Imagine the results!

Little trick #7: Follow up with clients

Many buyers have a great experience but find that once the purchase is over or the contract ends, service stops there. Keep in touch with your customers because it lets people know you were thinking of them, without trying to sell them anything. Email or call the customer just to ask how it’s going and whether the person’s enjoying his or her purchase. Don’t pitch your services; just be nice.

Nothing brings a smile to someone’s face more than feeling appreciated and remembered, so send a thank-you note to customers. Avoid generic cards. Pick something unique that fits the person’s personality or that relates to a conversation you’ve had. Mention you’d enjoyed working together. If they’ve just accomplished a business goal, send congratulations. A birthday? Wish them joy.

Little trick #8: Give the customer what he or she wants

Here’s a way to turn a frown into a smile – or at least, into a satisfied customer: give the customer what he or she wants. This is especially useful in the case of client complaints. Offer the customer the benefit of the doubt, ask which solution is desired, and do everything you can to make it happen.

This doesn’t mean breaking the rules. It means it’s okay to break the policies and create an exception to help restore good feelings. That can definitely earn you points. The customer will tell friends about what you did, not what you wouldn’t do.

Little trick #9: Show that you are trying

What if you can’t give the customer what he or she wants? At least show you tried and that you were willing to accommodate the request. Sometimes just the fact that you cared is all it takes to help people smile again.

Little trick #10: Do the unexpected

People guess what you might say, and they tend to think they know what you’ll do before you even do it. Surprise them – in a good way. Watch for opportunities to please clients out of the blue when they least expect it. When you hear of a small “wish” the client doesn’t expect to become true, you’ll know that’s the perfect moment to reply, “Actually, it’d be my pleasure to help you with that.”

Little trick #11: Give a gift

Another way you can please your customers is to give them a little gift. Surprise customers with a gift card or send them a token of appreciation in the mail. It doesn’t have to be much. Fifteen dollars to spend at Amazon or a free book you think they’d enjoy always brings a smile. You could also offer them a discount on their next purchase, toss in a little extra on their order, or maybe even give them a coupon code to a product or service unrelated to your business that you know they might find useful.

Little trick #12: Have good manners

Although this may seem obvious, it’s often overlooked. Say please, thank you, and you’re welcome often. Get into the habit of being polite. A meaningful “you’re welcome” goes a long way towards cultivating positive feelings, and your customers will remember that you treated them well.

Conclusion

I’m sure I’ve left some great tips to get people smiling off this list, so help me out. How do you make your customers smile? What do you do to get that happy look on their faces?

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Comments

  1. I like to give clients a little bit of extra industry insight. They count on me to be their go-to expert, so by showing that you are in touch with the current state of the industry usually goes a long way.

  2. A great book to read in this area is How to make friends and influence people.

  3. We send hand-written cards or do impromptu phone calls (with no business agenda). Aside from these, responding to their tweets, promoting their facebook shared items etc are also things that they appreciate. Neat list of tricks Neil!

    • Exactly, it works really well! It means so much to the customers.

    • If you have many customers, I can’t imagine how you can treat each of them as a unique individual. Every time you send me something unsolicited, no matter how nice and without business agenda, I think to myself “this must be some plan where they send this to thousands of people as a PR stunt”

      Which is often the case-but even if it isn’t, I get the wrong idea out of it (that you’re spending the money I gave you on silly things like sending me a holiday card, instead of improving your service or picking up the phone before it rings).

  4. Aaaah..Neil, you never seem to disappoint, love this…definitely remembering names of clients is highly effective, it kind of shows you were listening to them, especially when they mention their name..I think napoleon hill talks about this…

  5. Little trick number four can come off a little creepy if not executed correctly.

    • It’s only creepy if you make it creepy. Otherwise it’s very normal.

      • I guess it depends on the culture. Where I live, touching people is an extremely rare occurrence, and touching people while engaged in a business-related conversation is about as obvious as holding up a sign saying “I’m trying to manipulate you”.

        Of course, non-creepy eye contact can have a great effect in a culture where physical contact is not acceptable.

  6. Thank you Neil, I started using the “smile while on the phone” technique and it really works and it makes the conversation a lot smoother.

  7. Good little tricks and work all over in the world – even in Hungary!

  8. One more thing — Assurance.

    To voicefully let the customer know that his project/job is in good hands and will be completed before time, even if it’s incredibly chaotic and busy — now that never fails to calm down a customer and turn them into repeats, or give them that wide smile on their face.

    Of course, you’d have to walk the talk, or you’ll see them do the walk instead. = )

  9. Great post. Great customer service, especially with online businesses, is so important. For us since we are helping people with their older dogs we find that a quick follow up to ask how there dog is doing goes a very long way…especially since we use both the customer and their dog’s name when asking. Even cooler is that we are asking because we really do want to make sure their dog is doing well so it is totally genuine.

  10. I find that a quick handwritten note goes so much farther than a store-bought note. It doesn’t have to be long, but a quick thank you in your own writing is a very personal touch.

  11. Super post, Neil!

    In my offline professions, I’ve been teaching and interacting with patients for over a quarter of a century. There’s only ONE rule in the field of medicine when it comes to professional ethics … “The Patient is Always Right”

    To better serve your customers as a small business owner, keep this thought in the forefront of your mind … “The Customer is Always Right”

    And keep smiling!
    Melanie

  12. #13 – LISTEN! And not pretend to listen by saying “Uh-huh, uh-huh…” and zoning out, but honestly truly listening to what the person on the other end of the phone is saying :) As soon as your mind is open and can relate to the other human being, the business-customer relationship is strengthened and it’s win-win.

    (this especially works well when customers/clients are yelling at you (perhaps even cursing). instead of yelling back or interrupting or heavens forbid hanging up on them, be silent and actually listen to what they’re saying. when they calm down, as they eventually do, ask them if they’re finished and then repeat the gist of what they said and list the steps you’re now going to take to help them. works every time, even if they’re an ass ;))

  13. Lydia Sugarman :

    I have to disagree with #4 for a lot of reasons. I think it diminishes the professional relationship, if it’s any more than a handshake. Personally, I don’t like being touched by just anyone. Even if I have a personal relationship with a person, I don’t carry that over to business. It’s just too familiar. assumes too much. And, if there’s no personal relationship, it can be viewed as an invasion of personal space or even patronizing. Better to keep a client relationship professional and “un-touchy.” They will appreciate it. There are plenty of other ways to build a professional relationship.

  14. Really enjoyed this one, Neil, because this is exactly what happens to be on my mind these days. And, yes, I’m smiling in hopes of putting more smiles on the faces of others : ) A couple things to echo/support your message:

    1. Be accessible and engage your audience in conversation after any public appearances (talks, shows, etc.) & encourage folks to come by & say hi even if they don’t want to purchase/sign up. If you are approached with “stuff” from people when you make yourself available like this, then ask someone else to stand nearby to collect it or make an announcement that you are not accepting any “stuff” at this time, but are happy to accept questions, etc.

    2. Send brief responses as immediately as possible to any kind of positive feedback, as opposed to waiting to give a more “thoughtful” reply later. The tendency is to fix what’s wrong immediately (handling manual unsubscribes, problem with webstore checkout), and the person who is really loving the material gets put on the back burner. Now, I’m still struggling with this, because my feeling is that if someone writes a paragraph about how they liked/loved this or that, how is a simple & quick “thank you” sufficient? But often I see that that it might be a long time before I get to that thoughtful reply *sigh* if I don’t reply immediately. I imagine this might seem like Smiling Customer 101 and “duh”, but it is really hard when you are the person people want to hear from personally (i.e., it is not a delegable thank you) & you want also to be genuine and engage people. On the other hand, I hope that people know the intent is there & I think they cut me some slack, so it is not like I get a bad name necessarily, but as you point out it is about what puts that SMILE on the face and that comes from the little extra effort. So I’ve been thinking a lot about what kinds of things can be delegated and I think that email is not one of them when it comes to certain areas – people are so happy if they hear from you personally on some issues. But it seems like on the “fix it” issues it is not always necessary that they hear from me; they just need the issue dealt with. So that’s something for me to think about.

    Good luck to everyone and thanks again.

  15. Brian Kevin Johnston :

    Neil- Thanks for the great point.. I personally have found “FOLLOW UP” to be the biggest key… People buy when they are ready, not when you are ready to sell them something… A Follow up strategy (Email, Newsletter, Phone, F2F, etc) keeps you “top of mind” for when they are ready… Best to ALL Brian-

  16. I learned a lot from your post. just like a new energy of thoughts. I ll try to develop same culture in my company. Keep Posting

  17. I wish you the best of luck in finding a place to stay in the US – I saw the journal and it indeed it seems the Dutch guitarist is handy! : ) I imagine there would be a guest house somewhere to suit your needs. The thing is that the US is indeed vast, so distance is often an issue, even with a home base here. I would survey key areas for interest. Does your friend in Virginia live in northern Virginia, in which case a Washington DC concert would be great…or is he further south, in which case you could hit Richmond, VA or the Research Triangle (Raleigh-Durham-Chapel Hill in North Carolina) and draw a wide audience from neighboring areas. Using his interest as an example, ask if he is willing to help promote an area program. But the main thing is to choose some key locations – perhaps where you have a contact – and then see what the interest would be. If there is sufficient interest, you can contact series organizers accordingly as often such series exist for classical music…otherwise a house concert. Maybe you have thought of these things already. All the best!

  18. Hi Neil! Hello everyone! I am so sorry! I was trying to post a comment on another blog which has obviously nothing to do with this blog. Please delete that second post (and this one of my apology, too). I don’t know how to delete it myself. I don’t think there is a way I can. Please forgive me. I don’t know how this happened.

  19. Peoples first impression of you when they see you? Unhappy, sad, boring? Perhaps you could concentrate on what you do when you greet a customer. It would at least feel akward and the client may be the boss and my colleagues. It would not be false, it is normal between hello people smile and acknowledge each other.

  20. Neil you have noticed so small things which are very helpful in our daily life for customer relationship. Well some of the things I was not not doing but will start and see the impact.

  21. sell textbooks :

    Great post. Now if only more people would take part. When I was working at my various jobs growing up I always answered the phone with a smile, it does give a more pleasant tone to the other person. It is amazing how far a smile will go. If you treat you employees well they will in turn treat your customers well. We have all seen people in their work complain and how obnoxious it is.

  22. I’ll stay with:
    Do the unexpected, and
    Say your customers name twice
    in that order.

    ~~Juan~~

  23. Doesn’t cost anything to smile and it surely sets everything right.

  24. Great write-up, making your customers smile is a great free technique which will help with marketing and improve your brand image… Never underestimate a smile!

  25. I am regularly read your post but first time post to comment on you site, very nice describe about smile how to gain more client to give little smile

  26. Neil,
    Interesting points. There is one more which I found attracts people that I did in my 1st startup.
    Dedicate a separate page for clients – you could narrate a story of how you met them, etc. make them special on your website instead of just placing just their logos along with other companies.

    Great post and a nice pic :-)

  27. I would add: never ask the customer to do something for you. Always provide an alternate solution where you do all the work.

    For example, if they call you and you’re busy, don’t ask them to wait on the phone-get their number and tell them you will call them in a few minutes.

    In fact, most of the time you won’t actually have to use the alternate solution: being helpful puts the customer in a state of mind where they want to be helpful to you (you’re obviously a nice person, they don’t want to bother you).

  28. Follow up with clients so that we can have more benefits as we can know their problems if they have and secondly we can make our product or service more useful from their suggestion or survey or feedback.

  29. Here is a excellent and heartwarming video about the magic of smiling: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Cbk980jV7Ao

  30. Smiling definitely is contagious, just like gossip, yawning and the bird flu.

  31. How To Increase Sales :

    Another great post Niel.

    Please buy stuff from people they like.

    I do it all the time, if I like someone I want to do business with them because I want them to get the business, not someone I don’t like or don’t want to spend time with.

  32. customers being always with your facial expression and your services with soft skills, Customer satisfaction is always good..for your business..

    jacob

  33. Hand written cards are very good option but it will be difficult when you have large customer base. It will take much time and efforts.

  34. Great post, it really helps to have an ethical and professional conduct in place!

  35. The old school methods always thrive!

  36. Sound easy but in fact its difficult to make someone smile. This is a great post.

  37. It goes further than most people think.

  38. Hi Neil,

    Thank you once again for your great post! On trick #11, I find that just by sending a thoughtful hand-written card can do wonders as well =) Appreciating clients’ time and gesture is the basic thing we can do to bring smiles on their faces =D

    Have a great day!

  39. thanks alot bcoz i get chance to learn what i want to learn. actually unknowingly i was also showing like this behaviour with my customer but today i read this so in future i hope i can show my behaviour with my customer knowingly

  40. #6 is something that many employers need to learn. Unfortunately there are many employers that treat their employees like slaves and don’t care about them. This can really hurt the productivity of a company.

  41. Thank you Neil, I started using the “smile while on the phone” technique and it really works and it makes the conversation a lot smoother…

  42. A customer of mine last week not only reminded me how important eye contact is, but how you can make it even when you’re not face-to-face with your customer. That’ right — “eye contact” is possible even when you and your customer are separated by a phone line or a computer.

  43. The psychology of the smile links with your tone. Your tone can tell a lot, and I’ve always sent smiley with my text messages as long as I meant it. What’s amazing about this is the fact that it’s not a “trick” towards the costumers or anything close to that. It’s actually just a better way to let them understand your intentions, and a text coming back with a smiley will just double the positivity!

  44. Great post Neil. It’s funny how traditional business practice has lost it’s way. My take away… “Be Human”. Thanks for a great reminder of how business should be done.

  45. Thanks for all the awesome tricks Neil. I love to read such type of informative post on blogs. I appreciate your knowledge, I think customer satisfaction should be any entrepreneur’s motto.

  46. I’ve tried the video thing before and it doesn’t work too well for my readers. Posts definitely work better.

  47. Being all formal are the old ways. The more you are frank and comfy with your costumer, the more he is going to trust and respect you.
    Thanks for the post.

  48. i have a blog forum , when i keep replying to emails of problem posters personally [not a general copy paste message] that their question will be answered soon , and we are looking into it . I thing this effort goes a long way in building up relation with your readers …

  49. Im not sure how long i will be able to do this as the huge no. of emails i get everyday seems to increase , so does my reader count . But i dont like to ignore small and silly problems that users post , coz that is where i made my first start … and the extra effort brings smile …

  50. Neil Patel,
    Thanks for this beautiful post. some of them are doing SEO as a business. But some of them are using SEO strategies for business.

    I hope the second one is much better than the first one.

    When a customer enters a website through Search engines their expectation is high. Because apart from webmasters most of the SE users believes that they are giving best results. But we people know that its because of SEO tricks.

    Engaging customers is always challenging one. compare with getting visitors to a website.

    So my opinion is if we make our website more user friendly for visitors there is a trick. Even if its along with SEO stuffs then that would be great.

    Your reply will encourage me to participate more on posts and impress me to read yours regularly..

    Thanks for your chance

  51. Rahul Korrapati :

    Hi Neil,

    This is Rahul writing from India. I tried subscribing to your posts via e-mail delivery. It seems to have a problem and says “Oops! This link appears to be broken.”

    Cheers
    Rahul

  52. You are right Neil.. though the rules are taken for granted most of the people just don’t seem to care enough..

  53. Can you share tips on how to reach the Fortune 500 business in one of your next editions?

  54. Great post. I think smiling is crucial. When I was doing more daily sales (commission based work) I would smile the entire way into work to help me “get in the mood” to sell and be personable to people. It might sound stupid but I have to say I think it works because you find yourself feeling “happier” and I think it makes you more personable when someone walks in to the store. :)

  55. I think some people really forget to do this “Although this may seem obvious, it’s often overlooked. Say please, thank you and you’re welcome often”.

  56. Cathrine gabler :

    I relate customer satisfaction by reducing my price level at the maximum, giving some excellent offers etc. After reading your post I understood how a small smile makes big difference. Excellent post Neil.

  57. Awesome post, Neil, and even better picture! I try and use number 10 regularly to make the customer happy and put good karma out, and it has always been very happy received and reciprocated by return and referral business. If a customer orders X I’ll throw in Y, or a few extra X as a surprise – people are so reluctant to give anything free these days its always refreshing to the customer.

  58. In regards to #2 Bring smiles into your phone conversations

    I used to run a Call Center. This trick was the first bit of training I gave new employees. When you pick up the phone start smiling, dont stop untill you hang up. People will not yell at you as much. I gave this lesson before any learning on the actual business.

    I received excellent feedback for the work by techs did.
    Not because they were overly knowledgeable or helpful, but because they were nice.

  59. All are awesome Thanks! # 2 and #8 are huge in my opinion. When I get phone calls and the person on the other end is in a bad mood the whole convo goes south! As for follow up I think that is a huge, huge asset! Makes me feel special ;-)

  60. I do agree that saying the persons name when you talk is a great way to get someone to listen. If you just pay attention to people that have authority you will realize they use this practice a lot.

  61. I will just give a scenario. I work in a shoe store. A customer walks in a store. I smile and greet her. She starts browsing the shoes. Now my question is should i immediately go to her and ask “how may i help you?'” or wait for her. let me remind you that some customers don’t want to be followed or asked. What is the correct way.Thanks a lot.

    • Change the questions you ask. Instead of how can I help you, say something like “are you aware of the coupons we have today”… their response is probably “no”, then you can ask, “what were you looking for…”

  62. Customer satisfaction is also one of the most important factor, when we are online business or any kind business, what do you think about customer satisfaction.

  63. Mentioning any offer in the business grabs the attention of the customer

  64. Customer need only good product with reasonable price And employee need all benefits related to human resources, Just focal on both things and get good results from your business,

  65. saglikhaberleri :

    Interesting points. There is one more which I found attracts people that I did in my 1st startup. ;)

  66. Giving a gift is a really nice idea!!!

  67. truly amazing tips Neil. I never thought smiling while talking on phone can have so much of impact.

  68. These are nice tips, Neil. Happy customers keep the business going and moreover, are the best ad we can have.

  69. One of the really positive parts of your site is your photo because you are smiling on it. That enthusiastic smile makes me smile and feel better.

  70. Everybody likes a smiling face so it is always advisable to have a smile on face when dealing with clients but at the same time the smile should be genuine and not fake. A polite and warm voice tone makes even better impact. I also like your idea of giving gifts to your clients as it is very fruitful for your relationships with your clients and shows that you care for them.

  71. I definitely agree with 7 and 12.
    I’ve learnt that staying in touch with a customer, or even getting their feedback after a deal is done is not only a great way to show that you care but it keeps you at the forefront of their minds – you’re more likely to remember the incredibly helpful person who went out of their way to provide support than you are the person who took the money and ran.

    With 12, this one is useful all around the board, even if you don’t communicate with clients or other partners face to face, being polite and even seeming ‘warm’ in emails and such will go a long way simply down to the fact that you put the onus on them to be equally as polite and helpful back, therefore benefiting you both.

    The only issue I have is that tips 3 through 5 may be construed as flirting, haha! In all seriousness, I advise anyone reading this to be wary of the way they come off using those tips, your professional relationship could be a car crash otherwise.

    • Thanks for the feedback Jasmine. I see what you mean, and I would agree that you should be careful about how you present yourself. You want to come off friendly not flirty.

  72. i have a good customer base, i always try to give them freebies like pen, calendar etc as freebies this does helps me to keep my customers smiling.

  73. hey neil,
    nice contents over here.”Little trick #5: Tell a customer he’s special” is really interesting.

    Thanks.
    Matt

  74. Thanks for sharing this type of information. This information such a useful information.

  75. If you have many customers, I can’t imagine how you can treat each of them as a unique individual. Every time you send me something unsolicited, no matter how nice and without business agenda, I think to myself “this must be some plan where they send this to thousands of people as a PR stunt”

  76. This is a really cool post. This really shows your dedication to the meaning behind the results

  77. great dude your post is so nice.

  78. It is very useful really appreciate for your posting.

  79. I like your Little Tricks to Get More Customers Smiling Article, Really its good for me…

  80. I am confused!!! can someone explain me again!!!!

  81. Nice Blog, Keep Writing

  82. Its very good website, i like this Article, its very informative

  83. Nice tricks neil,
    I really appreciate you are giving such a very use full tips to make a business grow. keep giving lovely ideas and thank you so much.

    Reg
    Samira

  84. Really useful tricks to attract customers and sell products.

  85. Useful information. Fortunate me I found your web site accidentally, and I am shocked why this coincidence didn’t came about in advance! I bookmarked it.

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