Tips for dazzling your customers.

By Lynn Beresford

A lot of people say you can't astonish customers," says Brian McCallum, marketing director for Communication Briefings, an Alexandria, Virginia-based company that publishes a newsletter, videos and reports on workplace communication. "But there's a big difference between good customer service and astonishing customer service." According to McCallum, here's how to dazzle your customers:

Offer to do customers a favor that's above and beyond the call of duty. McCallum cites a moving firm whose owner personally delivered a kitchen set at no cost--in his own station wagon.

Underpromise and overdeliver. Tell them you can have it done by 5 p.m. tomorrow; then have it done by noon.

Give customers a benefit they don't know exists. If you offer coupons, give customers who forget the coupons or don't know about them a discount anyway.

Put concern above profit. Don't schmooze customers into buying higher-priced products. Show them you have their best interests in mind by selling them only what they need. They'll value--and remember--your honesty.

Follow up with customers after they do business with you--especially if they've purchased big-ticket items. Says McCallum, "As the value of the product gets higher, follow-up becomes a more important issue."