Recently, I purchased a pair of slacks for my mother from a "travelling" clothing company who makes regular stops at local nursing homes. Wheelchair bound with advanced Alzheimer's, Mom requires specialty clothing you can't buy in regular stores.

These nursing home shopping events are always hectic but the sales team is extremely helpful and courteous. As I wanted a particular colour and fabric for Mom, they called the store to see if they were available. The answer was yes and the order was made. I paid cash and walked away knowing the slacks would be shipped promptly.

Unfortunately, the slacks arrived in the wrong colour as the sales person wrote the incorrect colour on the receipt – and I had not waited around for her to complete it (my error). Unaware there was a mistake, the nursing home staff immediately sewed Mom's name on the slacks when they arrived.

So here's where the customer service comes in to play. When I called the store about the error, they immediately offered me a full refund as they no longer had the style and colour I requested and suggested I could donate these slacks to someone else (I declined and Mom will keep the slacks).

I was pleasantly surprised with their offer but here's where it gets really interesting. The sales associate told me the store would soon be closing as the owner wanted to retire and a buyer could not be found.

So even as the store is preparing to close – they are taking exceptional care of their customers to ensure complete satisfaction!

What are you doing in your business to create an exceptional customer experience?

I put this question to my InTouch networking group during a recent roundtable discussion and here are some of the answers I received:

  • Give unexpected gifts or bonuses to customers.
  • Ask in-depth questions to truly understand their needs, which can change the direction of a sale (and may even surprise your customer).
  • Have a human answer the telephone – never a recording. And return phone calls promptly.
  • Take the lead on decisions to make the customer experience easier and more relaxing; e.g., reserve hotel rooms and restaurant reservations for out of town clients.
  • Have a list of resources available for referrals for extended services customers may require.
  • Offer added value without profiting; e.g., discount on a wide range of nutritional products and not offering only one brand, which can be biased based on profits.
  • Using a system, such as Send Out Cards personalized with the customer's photo.
  • Complete complicated government forms on behalf of clients.
  • Host an annual gratitude party for customers.

What can you do differently in your business that no one else is currently doing? Or what can you do better?

When you heighten your customer's experience you've got a customer for life – and your referral pipeline will flow.

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Referred to as a "Magnetic Marketing & Mindset Master," Susan Regier, owner of Vantage One Writing, is an in-demand marketing content writer, speaker, and "tell-it-like-it-is" coach/mentor to serious entrepreneurs who want to attract more clients and make more money. Claim your free guide: 15 Tips to Increase Your Influence, Attract More Clients & Make More Money at SusanRegier.com.