Customers are the lifeblood of your business. You already know this if you’re a small business owner, but do you know how to keep your customers happy?
In this blog, I’m covering the top six ways you can engage your customers and keep them satisfied for life.
1. Know Your Customer
How can you deliver great value to a customer you don’t even know? You can’t.
Getting to know your customer base is more than just understandingtheir demographic information.
What drives them? What kind of things do they enjoy? What are their problems and what are their needs?
Understanding these things about your customer gives you the foundation you need to answer their problems and tap into their passions.
Check back with them often to ask how they’re doing. Ask them about personal things in their life: i.e. how Suzie’s ballet audition went, when Grandpa John’s surgery is, etc.
Also ask how you can serve them professionally and make their life easier right now with the products or services they purchase from you.
Taking an interest in your customer when you’re not trying to close a deal goes a long way towards securing their loyalty.
Your business doesn’t have to be Tom’s Shoes or similarly involved with a huge cause in order to inspire your customers.
Even if your business is a small window-washing company, you can inspire your customer base by doing the following things:
• Make them insanely happy! Whenever you interact with your customers, give them the best customer service possible. 89% of consumers have stopped doing business with a company after experiencing poor customer service.
• Get involved with a cause bigger than your business. People love supporting their communities and getting behind causes. You can partner with a cause as small as a local animal shelter or as large as an international justice organization, but either way, this gives you an extra (and awesome!) reason for your customers to do business with you.
3. Reward for Loyalty
If some of your customers are actively and openly engaged with your brand on a regular basis, they’re the best possible people to give the full experience.
If you have a product line, send them something they haven’t tried. If you have a premium service, give them the upgrade for free.
The actual cost to you is minuscule compared to the impact those customers will have on their friends, family, colleagues, and social followers when they talk about what your brand did for them.
Before streaming became the best thing since sliced bread, Netflix rolled it out as a free add-on for their existing customers. It was in its infancy as a service at the time, but it allowed them to give their customers something they didn’t know they wanted.
This action of genius contributed to their leading the charts for brand loyalty in 2011 and to their amazing growth since. LinkedIn's blog provides an excellent, in-depth look at this colossal brand.
4. Build Trust
Trust isn’t about just trusting the brand; it’s about trusting the information gathered. What does trusted advice look like?
Take a look at the current “haul video” phenomenon among teenage girls. After shopping at a mall, influencers upload YouTube videos of themselves talking about their haul (purchases).
They talk about how they plan to mix their new finds with the rest of their wardrobe.
This is simplifying the complicated world of teen shopping — an overwhelming world of shifting trends and countless options — and makes sense of it by showcasing fashionable peers who offer trustworthy guidance.
This kind of influencer cuts through the infinite options and provides decision-making criteria. J.C. Penney and American Eagle have capitalized on the phenomenon by hosting unbiased haulers on their sites and in their digital communications.
Neither retailer requires that the haulers show only brands purchased at its store, and the haulers are transparent about their links to the companies (J.C. Penney’s gives its star haulers gift cards to shop with).
The lesson for businesses: Third-party validation always inspires customer loyalty. When your customers see some of their favorite Instagram or YouTube influencers, or even well-known people in your community wearing your brand, eating your food or using your service, they are instantly inspired to become more engaged, and this, of course, inspires loyalty.
5. Take Customer Advice (and Credit Them for It)
Instead of just going by the numbers or by your intuition, try asking your customer what they want next.
Create a poll with a few of the ideas you’ve been thinking about and send it out via your blog, social media accounts, and email.
Leave room for your customers to make suggestions that you didn’t list, and always offer some kind of incentive for participating in the poll, even if it’s just a chance to win something small like a gift card. (This can greatly affect how many participate.)
If you end up making a change or an update based on your customer’s feedback, give them credit for coming up with the idea and send them something to show your appreciation.
For surveys or polls, Polldaddy or Survey Monkey both offer simple setup options and user features.
6. Be More Convenient than Anyone Else
You probably hate it when you have to work at using a product or service.
So do your customers. Make it easy for them to choose you over your competitors. Do the homework for them. Save them time.
Little things like auto-billing, automatic orders, refills, and reminders make it easier for users to enjoy what they’re paying for.
Put yourself in your customers’ shoes. What’s the greatest inconvenience customers must endure when doing business with you?
What can you do to make that process more convenient, flexible, personal or attractive to improve customer experience? How can you anticipate and help them avoid the hassle?
Unfortunately, being a customer isn’t always easy-breezy. Create goals to make doing business with you as painless and rewarding as possible.
Check out how 10twelve uses these 6 ways to engage and keep customers. Reach out to us if you have any questions.