You already offer a great service at a great price, but that may not be enough to keep your customers coming back for more, or motivate them to tell friends and family about your business. If you want to reap the full value of a customer, give them a memorable customer experience—one that goes beyond a simple exchange of value.

Why Customer Experiences Are So Important

Customer experiences are important because they’re unique and subjective. Most people make purchase decisions logically, evaluating the value of a service against its cost before moving forward, but the actual experience with a company is cumulative and emotional—and that emotional hook can be powerful. A positive experience makes the service more memorable, increases the chances of return, and compels customers to share the experience with others.

Big businesses marshal many resources to improve customer experiences, but as you’ll see, small teams have even more power to transform a customer’s experience for the better.

How Small Teams Can Make a Difference

Small teams interact in more intimate settings, which are more conducive to emotional connections and memorable experiences. Here are just a few of the customer experience hacks your team can use to make the difference:

  • Provide unique, changing experiences. Process is important, but when you’re giving a nearly identical service to a mass of customers, it’s easy to slip into an unchanging routine. Employees may say and do the same things over and over and lose enthusiasm for their jobs. If customers repeat this plain experience, they’ll feel unsatisfied, and may no longer recommend the service to others. The key is to find a way to make the experience a little different each time, like how small teams in whale watching crews can explore different areas, and use the unpredictability of whale behavior to make each trip unique.
  • Talk to customers one on one. You’ll also get more out of a customer experience by talking to your customers one on one whenever you get the chance. Even small talk, which is sometimes painful to initiate, can make a big difference in how you’re perceived. For example, if you operate a consulting business and you’re working with a client in a brainstorming session, don’t immediately jump to business, and don’t only speak to the group. Get to know the individuals you’re working with, even if it’s on a surface level, and make them feel individually seen and recognized.
  • Emotionally relate to customers. Find a way to relate emotionally to your customers; doing so makes them feel not only validated, but appreciated. If they form a bond—even a fleeting one—with one of your team members, they may be especially likely to return for future needs. For example, let’s say you run an auto repair shop. It would be easy to manage your team with an in-out mentality, striving to take in cars and repair them as fast as possible. But offering sympathy to distressed motorists can go a long way in ensuring their return business and earning recommendations.
  • Show your own personality. Let everyone on your team show off their unique personality. I personally do that by having every person on my team blog on our company blog. Stay professional, of course, but don’t try to mold all your people into the same “template.” Doing so could make your business seem faceless, fake, or impersonal. Instead, let your employees show off the quirks that make them special, whether that includes cracking jokes, relaxing their posture, or even just being sincerer in their words and actions. Doing so makes the experience more human. For example, waiters with more genuine personalities tend to be more successful.
  • Go the “extra mile” with support. This is one of the easiest items to execute on this list. Occasionally, you’ll have customers that need a bit of extra help—they may be experiencing an especially frustrating issue, or they may be unfamiliar with your service and confused about the process. Either way, this is your small team’s time to shine. Take the time to go above and beyond your usual service offerings, and do everything you can to make this person’s experience valuable and memorable. That extra effort won’t be forgotten, and you’ll probably earn some rave reviews based on that experience alone.

Together, these hacks will make your average customer experience much more valuable. Your customers will walk away feeling more satisfied with their purchase, they’ll tell more people about the experience, and they’ll probably revisit you the next time they have the chance. Keep your team trained and aware of these hacks, and you’ll notice a significant difference in overall sales and returning customers—just pay attention to your reviews and you’ll see for yourself.