You’ve created a great product or service, developed a sound marketing plan and launched the business you've always dreamed of having. Your greatest adventure is now beginning, and that's attracting and retaining customers. Making people feel valued and appreciated by building relationships can help turn your customers into ambassadors for your business and your brand. Read these tips for making connections with customers.
Encourage Great Customer Service
From the moment customers or prospective customers walk in the door, call or engage with your company online, the level of your customer service plays a huge role in determining the impression they will have and take with them. Whether in person or on the phone, a friendly greeting is a great way to start, followed by demonstrating a sincere desire to help. Remember, it’s not always about the sale. Even if a customer doesn’t end up buying at the first interaction, they’ll remember you when they do need your product or service if you helped them solve a problem or simply just listened. If possible, take handwritten notes that you can keep for the future and start a digital file that may serve for ideas later on.
Start a Conversation
Consider social media as a platform to connect with both potential customers as well as your current loyal base. Share interesting behind-the-scenes business photos, customer stories and big news or changes to your company or products and services. Sharing stories through social media gives new customers a "picture" of who you are and what your company offers. It also lets customers feel like they are part of the team and invested in your success.
Ask for Feedback
Everyone appreciates feeling like their opinion matters. Asking for feedback can be as easy as a comment card, but try taking it to the next level by sending a follow-up email inviting customers to share their experiences. You can also ask for feedback via social media or through customer polls on your website. The most important part of asking for feedback is to listen, acknowledge and respond. Customers who take time out of their day to help your business improve are doing you a favor so repay them with respect and a “thank you” to create a lasting connection. Consider even sending a formal handwritten thank you note.
Provide Useful Content
Helping your customers is just as important as listening to them. Rather than blasting out sales and discounts on your blog and social media, try delivering what customers want and need: solutions. By offering useful content that's contextually relevant to your product or service, you position your company as a trusted partner and not just a marketing machine. Ask them what they'd like to learn more about. Again, feedback is critical.
Reward Your Best Customers
You’ve built a loyal fan base of brand ambassadors through customer service, content marketing and social media connections. These customers regularly refer your company to their friends and family, leave positive feedback on your site and sing your praises through social media. They feel like they’re part of the team, so be sure to thank them for their hard work! A loyalty program that includes discounts, exclusive content and offers and even a VIP event for your most profitable or most loyal customers will really make them feel special. It will also keep them coming back and sending others your way.
All content provided herein is for educational purposes only. It is provided “as is” and neither the author nor Office Depot, Inc. warrant the accuracy of the information provided, nor do they assume any responsibility for errors, omissions or contrary interpretation of the subject matter herein.
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