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At the crudest level of commerce, customers are commodity shoppers. They want the cheapest product with a feature that benefits their need immediately without hassle. These shoppers aren’t loyal to any brand, just their wallets, and won’t hesitate to bypass your product if someone offers the “same thing” five bucks cheaper.

More sophisticated shoppers are stimulated beyond the scope of price. They’re not interested in the “wham, bam, thank you ma’am,” but the experience that comes with the product, from purchasing it, to using it, and even the relationship they build with you.

I love sophisticated clients because they’re just better than basic ones.

Sophisticated customers are more engaged with you, your brand, and your products. When you work with a sophisticated customer, you’re in for a treat. They are always willing to pay a premium price for the right experience – and that means you can charge more, make more, and experience more success working with them.

3 Ways to Create a Great Customer Experience

1. Create Emotional Connections

Manicures are what? $10, $15? You can walk into any nail salon in a three block radius and get one anytime you want, right? But instead of jumping all over the place, you have a specific salon you frequently go to.

Yes, it’s close to home, and the price may be right, but for you, it’s more than that. Maybe the nail lady makes you laugh, or the nail tech is always trying something new on you.

Perhaps it’s where your mom always went, and the memories arise whenever you walk in. The free glass of wine while getting your nails done doesn’t hurt either. Whatever the case, the salon you’ve chosen is more than a matter of convenience or habit. You’ve become emotionally engaged with it.

Emotionally engaged customers are exceptionally valuable. These customers are three times more likely to recommend your business as well as repurchase products from you. They’re also less price-sensitive, and even less likely to shop around and compare prices against competitors.

What kind of emotional connections can you create for your customers to make them feel attuned to you?

2. Personalize the Experience

When’s the last time you walked into a department store where the salesperson remembered your name and shopping preferences?

Greeting your customer by name is one of the first ways to create a meaningful experience. When people are acknowledged, it makes them feel good. They’re happy to see you because you see them as more than another customer, but know them specifically.

Now if your customers visit you frequently, you’ll start to recognize them by specific tastes and preferences. I used to work at Starbucks, and every day, we’d have specific regulars who had set needs.

Bruce always wanted the Americano.

Megan always wanted the grande no-whip caramel frapp.

Now, when I go to Starbucks, there’s a specific one that’s my favorite. I can stop visiting for months at a time, but when I walk in, the barista knows my name, and my signature tall zebra mocha with two sugars.

How can you personalize every customer’s experience to add warmth to your brand?

3. Demonstrate Appreciation

Our lives are full of tasks, must-dos, and gotta-get-dones. We have so much to do, and it’s so rare that we’re acknowledged or appreciated. Those moments we’re shown true appreciation lead us to smile wide with pleasure. It feels good to be loved, doesn’t it?

Infuse appreciation into your customer experience. Greet members by name, and acknowledge their status when they use their loyalty cards or make a substantial purchase.

Hold special events for your customers that are all about them. Every holiday season, Nordstrom holds an exclusive shopping night for cardmembers. During this night, valued cardholders sip champagne and nibble hors d’oeuvres as they get their holiday shopping out the way. Starbucks rewards app holders with free drinks, apps, and iTunes downloads through their app.

Your appreciation may not be as sophisticated, but perhaps a personalized bottle of wine and a handwritten note can go a long way with your clients.

Discovering what works is a matter of knowing your clients, understanding your industry and the general expectations of service within it, and going above the norm to acknowledge your gratefulness to customers.

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