20 Great Customer Service Ideas to Surprise and Delight Shoppers
Do you believe in offering great customer service to your customers?
Your customers are and will be the biggest part of your success story as an entrepreneur.
You could create the best looking website and market better than anyone else on the planet.
But without your customers pulling out their credit card to make a purchase on your store, you’d be nothing.
Running a successful online business requires you to offer the best customer service to your customers in appreciation for their loyalty and trust in your brand.
- What is Customer Service?
- 20 Great Customer Service Ideas to Surprise and Delight Shoppers
- 1. Master the Best Customer Service by Inviting loyal customers to a VIP sale
- 2. Offer Great Customer Service by Giving customers first access to certain products
- 3. Take your customer service to the next level with video email responses
- 4. Customer Service Idea To Try Out: Sending holiday or birthday cards
- 5. Make your customer service fun and playful
- 6. Improve your customer service by fixing the issue with the most complaints
- 7. Repost customer pictures on your social media accounts
- 8. Teach customers something new
- 9. Automate your customer service with a loyalty program
- 10. Feature customers on your blog incentivize with cash prize
- 11. Make a donation in your customer’s name
- 12. Send gift cards to them on customer appreciation day
- 13. Give swag as part of your customer service strategy
- 7 Experts Share their Great Customer Service Stories
- 14. Offer Great Customer Service with Freebies
- 15. Showcase Your Great Customer Service with a Thank You Note
- 16. Give the Best Customer Service with Special Discounts
- 17. Customer Service Should be Personalized
- 18. Take your Customer Service to the Next Level
- 19. Get Your Whole Team Committed to Giving Great Customer Service
- 20. Highlight your best customers
- Want to Learn More?
What is Customer Service?
Customer service is the act of serving, helping and assisting those who purchase or plan to purchase from your business. It could be as simple as responding to an email about when a product will arrive or as thoughtful as a small token randomly given to loyal customers.
By offering great customer service, you help ensure that customers enjoy shopping from your online business. This can help increase customer loyalty, increase repeat shoppers, boost the number of positive reviews on your store and spread a word of mouth promotion about your brand.
20 Great Customer Service Ideas to Surprise and Delight Shoppers
1. Master the Best Customer Service by Inviting loyal customers to a VIP sale
A great customer service idea is to make your customers feel part of a tight-knit and exclusive community. Calling your previous customers VIPs helps make them feel special. Afterall, customer service is all about showing how much you value your customers.
After a customer has purchased from your store once, add them to your VIP list. Every now and then, host special events for your VIPs. You could host an exclusive sale that gets marketed to your VIP email list only instead of publicly on your social media. You can create unique discount codes reserved for VIP customers only.
2. Offer Great Customer Service by Giving customers first access to certain products
Are you launching a new collection on your store? If so, you could create a private link that doesn’t appear in your navigation a few days before making it public for everyone else.
You can mention that the link is exclusive to your VIP customers and that no one else can see it.
This type of customer service gives your best customers first access to new products that they can rave about online. As your following grows in popularity, your customers will create a viral effect for these secret collections.
You can also hide your secret collections on 404 pages or in a hidden part of your website ultimately surprising customers who stumble upon it by accident.
3. Take your customer service to the next level with video email responses
Most online retailers send canned responses. Boring! And you never get the answer you want either.
If you’re just starting out and want to personalize your customer service a bit, you can create personalized video response emails.
In these emails, you’ll want to address your customers by name, introduce that you’re an employee at the company and respond to their exact question. It can take a bit more work but it adds a more personal element to customer inquiries that top retailers couldn’t do if they tried.
Plus, if customers need step by step instructions for a specific part showing a screencast video so they can clearly see the exact steps they need to follow.
4. Customer Service Idea To Try Out: Sending holiday or birthday cards
Each year, there are two times when people want to create special memories: the holidays and their birthday.
As people grow older their birthdays are often forgotten or neglected. This is your biggest opportunity to stand out. You can use a customer service app like Happy Birthday Email which collects your customers birthdays and sends an automated email out on their special day. You can offer a small free gift with each purchase through their birthday link using an app like Ultimate Special Offers. If you want to take their birthday to the next level, you can mail out birthday cards a few days prior to their birthday with a handwritten note wishing them a special day.
If you’ve been running your online store for a year, you can also send holiday cards to everyone who’s purchased from your store. A thoughtful message wishing them a happy holiday season and an amazing start to their new year can go a long way. You can also include a special discount code on a small business card which you include inside every card to help increase sales.
5. Make your customer service fun and playful
Have you ever paid attention to how top brands like Netflix or Amazon respond to their customers?
Netflix has a conversational tone in their social media responses which are often packed with personality. And Amazon customer support employees sometimes pretend to be Avengers for their customers.
Most online retailers respond to comments the exact same way. “Sorry about the inconvenience, please send us a direct message (DM) so we can resolve your issue.” This doesn’t work because it’s a canned response but also you’re forced into a second step of communication to resolve an issue.
Customers want resolutions quick and easy. Rather than asking them to contact you, you should be taking the initiative to DM them for further details to respond. Few brands do this but it’s that added little touch that could go a long way!
6. Improve your customer service by fixing the issue with the most complaints
You know what your everyday complaints are. You probably get the same one or two angry complaints from your customers every day. But did you ever take action to solve the problem?
If customers are constantly emailing asking about shipping times, you should include shipping times or a tracking code immediately after purchase.
Maybe your customers keep complaining about the quality of the same product, find a different supplier with better reviews.
Do customers keep bugging you about a lack of response on your end? Hire a part-time customer support rep. Or respond to customer inquiries on your morning commute, during your lunch break, after work and (not or) on weekends. If you want to run a successful business you need to be super responsive.
The best way to solve most customer complaints is to solve the customer’s problem before they know they have one.
Customers don’t send tag you in their photos because they’re trying to be nice. They’re doing it for their own self-serving purpose: they want your attention.
So to offer great customer service, give it to them.
If a customer is wearing your product or posting a picture with it, like their post and share it on your social accounts and tag them in the post.
Give them the praise they deserve. Not only did they like your store enough to buy from it but they took it to the next level by engaging with you post-purchase.
You can never have too many customer photos. Most people pay for social proof through influencer marketing but if you can get it for free, take advantage.
8. Teach customers something new
Help your customers reach their goals by teaching them something new. If you own an outdoor equipment store, you can create content around how to set up tents or how to how to find north on your compass. If you own a fitness store, you might teach people how to do certain workouts correctly.
You can teach your customers something new in a few different ways. First, you can create video content on YouTube showing the exact steps in a visual way. Second, you can create blog content that educates customers in an engaging way.
By teaching your customers a new skill, you end up offering great customer service because your service isn’t only tied to a direct sale.
9. Automate your customer service with a loyalty program
The easiest way to provide great customer service is by creating a loyalty program. You can install a loyalty app on your store as a marketing automation tool.
Customers who sign up for your program can earn points to receive discounts and free gifts from your store.
You can encourage more engagement from your loyalty program by having days where you triple points on your collections to get more customers shopping.
Earning points can be addictive for your customers while giving them the incentives that keep them excited to shop on your store regularly.
10. Feature customers on your blog incentivize with cash prize
Beachbody is the brand that does this better than anyone else. They sell their workout DVDs and programs online. However, to boost social proof to generate more sales, they offer a cash bonus starting at $500 to select customers who’ve lost weight on their programs.
Featuring relevant customer success stories on your blog gives your customers a spotlight which helps make them feel special. However, some customers might not be motivated in being featured on your blog. They need to feel like there’s something in it for them? Enter cash prize.
You can offer $50 cash bonuses to customers who share a really compelling story that relates to your niche. You only pay the bonus if it’s featured on your blog. This allows you to be picky about the quality of the type of content people share.
This customer service idea helps your customers share their story while giving them an incentive to do so which helps humanize your brand.
11. Make a donation in your customer’s name
Does your brand donate to a specific charity every year? Take your customer service to the next level by adding every customers name to the list of donors when you submit your donation.
Then, automate a personalized email to all your customers telling them that you donated to that specific charity in their name with proof. You can include a link or a screenshot with their names.
Avoid making political or controversial donations in someone else’s name. Stick to a charity that’s relevant to your niche that empowers others or betters society to avoid any backlash from this.
12. Send gift cards to them on customer appreciation day
Having regular customer appreciation days is a great customer service idea to help customers feel valued.
On this day, you can offer gift cards to customers to spend on your store. If your lowest product price is $40 and you offer a $10 gift card, it acts like an acquisition cost rather than a business loss. If you have an item that’s the price of the gift card, customer will use it to get free products. So be sure to know the pricing of all your products on your store.
You can also celebrate customer appreciation day by offering a free small gift like a bracelet which has a low cost under $3.
13. Give swag as part of your customer service strategy
A great customer service idea is to give swag to certain customers. You can give swag as part of the loyalty program you offer or for customers who stand out.
You can give swag such as stickers, t-shirts, phone cases, usb chargers, reusable water bottles, branded sunglasses, or mugs. Pick a product type that makes sense for your niche. And that works within your budget.
You can give swag to customers who send customer photos or who spend a minimum purchase amount on their order. These little extra incentives can add an element of surprise to an unsuspecting customer which can help brighten their day.
14. Offer Great Customer Service with Freebies
Shelley Grieshop, Creative Writer at Totally Promotional, mentions “Although we frequently give discounts for our wedding favors and essentials, we also give couples free can coolers that say “Bride” and “Groom.” It’s an added touch we provide to thank them for shopping with us.”
15. Showcase Your Great Customer Service with a Thank You Note
Jordan Harling, Chief Digital Strategist of Wooden Blinds Direct shares, “With every purchase that we shipped out, we included a handwritten thank you. Each note was twenty words at most and took seconds to write. But the impact of these notes exceeded our wildest expectations. We immediately saw a boost in engagement on social, sales saw an increase, and we’ve since seen more repeat customers. Another benefit was the effect it had on our employees. Having that connection with our customers through a handwritten note improved both morale and productivity in our workplace. All this, just from taking a few seconds to provide a personal touch.”
16. Give the Best Customer Service with Special Discounts
Amy Kilvington, Head of Content at Blinds Direct, says, “We show our appreciation to loyal customers by offering them special discount codes. These are delivered via email and are completely unique, so they can only be used by customers we’ve selected. We also treat our best customers to freebies here and there, such as a bundle of cushions to match the blinds they’ve purchased, or a surprise refund of an order.”
17. Customer Service Should be Personalized
Kelsey Leigh Bowen, a Customer Service Representative, says “I‘ve worked at the same company for over eight years, a small, online business called Little Things Favors where we specialize in wedding favors and decor. Though there are lots of other sites that sell the same products as us, the main difference is that we’re a small business. So when customers call or email, they likely always get me on the phone, and they like that. They can rest assured that I’m the one who’s handling their order and following up with the warehouses personally to take care of whatever they need. It’s very personal; there’s no hold-times or being transferred from various representatives. I’m like their own personal wedding assistant!”
18. Take your Customer Service to the Next Level
Katy Kassian, Owner of BuffaloGals Mercantile, shares “I create items from vintage textiles and reclaimed burlap sacks- A customer ordered a gift her mother in another state. It didn’t fit and the mother contacted me. I told her if she could wait 2 weeks, I would actually be visiting that other state and would bring everything in stock so she could pick what suited her. She could and was thrilled to have her choice right in her living room. 750 miles away in Colorado!”
19. Get Your Whole Team Committed to Giving Great Customer Service
Donnie Shelton, Owner of Triangle Pest Control, says “Our team has two training meetings every week where we ask our team to share things that they’ve done to exceed customer expectations – things as small as helping a homeowner carry groceries in from their car or bringing the newspaper from the end of the driveway, to things like clearing low branches or repairing a vapor barrier in a client’s crawlspace. One of the best things that we’ve seen as a result of this is customers who look forward to seeing “their guy” show up for regular service. Some of our most loyal customers rely on us year after year because they know that our technicians aren’t just professional and knowledgeable, but they actually care about them and their families.”
20. Highlight your best customers
Gregory Bullock, a Marketing Manager at Theraspecs, shares, “One of the most important ways we thank our customers is by allowing them to share their experiences with TheraSpecs glasses on our blog. These stories are so much more meaningful than just a “typical” customer review because they give a literal face to our products and form an emotional core for our business. For example, we recently featured a decorated war hero who shared his newfound relief from light sensitivity caused by his traumatic brain injury. It is such a heartfelt read!”
Your customers are your business’ lifeline. Recognize the value they bring to your company everyday. Without them, you wouldn’t be the success you are. So take the extra step to thank them, put them in the spotlight and build a lifelong relationship with them. Consistently going above and beyond for your customers can make your brand more memorable and special.