A customer’s interaction with a company cannot occur solely through the product they have purchased or the service they receive. Businesses have to regularly engage customers in a number of different ways, nurturing the relationship and connection outside the service.
Like any other relationship, the one between business and customer also requires a lot of effort and a strong level of communication.
Here are a number of suggestions on how you and your employees can engage customers outside of the product or service that you offer.
Establish Emotional Connections
The iconic “It’s not personal, it’s just business” from The Godfather makes for classic storytelling and definitely marked its place in cinematic history, but it doesn’t entirely apply today, even from the perspective of competitors. Now there is more emphasis on the importance of emotional connections and personal feelings, that have become a part of modern businesses.
You need to build strong emotional bonds with your customers in order to establish a long lasting business relationship built on trust.
Unfortunately, big businesses are sometimes painted as ruthless power-machines, with the public eye often casting them in an unemotional light. We see them as the big corporations that have power, and assume that they view their customers as statistics, charts, and a means to an end.
That’s why it is so important to show customers that you view them as individuals, that you really care about their welfare, and put in a lot of deliberation into the kind of service they deserve to receive from you.
Consumers are usually very wary when entering into business relationships, and may already harbor the notion that you only see them as a number, so it’s your job to convince them otherwise.
Establishing an emotional connect with your customers is one of the quickest steps toward developing consumer loyalty. That, in turn, aids in retention efforts, which creates increased profitability. In fact, just a 5% increase in retention can lead to an additional 25% in profits.
So now that you know what you have to do, how do you go about doing it? It’s all in the communication and interaction.
Start simple and have company representatives introduce themselves to customers in a first contact scenario. It is important that you give your customers friendly faces to remember your brand by, so your business is not viewed as a cold corporate entity.
One way that you can do this is to put your team up front and center, so your customer base has exposure to them and gets familiarized with them. Post photographs of your team members on your website and social media pages. You can also have their bios featured on your website or on any other channel that is relevant and visible to your business.
You should also film a few videos at company parties, take pictures and videos at off-site activities, team bonding sessions and the like, to illustrate the atmosphere in your offices. or just to illustrate the atmosphere in your offices. This humanizes the job that you do, and shows the positive environment that you foster within your organization.
It’s also important to take diligent notes when speaking to customers, as this gives you something to reference when you communicate. Take careful note if they mention anything that isn’t related to work or your product. Remembering and appropriately mentioning personal things that they might have casually told you about, like a child, or a career ambition, will definitely touch them and.
On a similar vein, make note of important days and reach out proactively to wish them a happy birthday or congratulate them on some major life event.
Create a Community Forum
Community forums are a great way to communicate with your customers while also forming a community around your product or service.
Your community forum could be a help page on your website where users and the company can give advice, share stories, and ask/answer questions. It could also be a social media group, where users can communicate with the company and also create their own content.
This strategy not only gives you a chance to engage with your customers, it also lets the customers bond with one another and gives them an additional support source.
Social media gives you a very unique way to engage directly with your customers. If you are not using your social media to create engagement with the audience, then you are missing out on a golden opportunity. Take this chance to answer their questions, comment on their updates, and participate in group discussions. It’s a great way to engage with your customers on a level that is chatty and informal, and will make them warm up to you on a very personal and human level.
The overall goal here is to make the customer see a face and name to your business.
Social platforms work well for this because your customers are most likely already there.
Promote Customer Initiatives
There are many ways to give back to your customers that rewards them for their loyalty and acknowledges them outside of the product.
A rewards program is always one of the best ways to go about doing this. You’re giving the customers discounts as an acknowledgment of their continued loyalty. These rewards should be substantial for the customer but in a way that does not negatively impact the profitability of the company.
Giving offers to your customers do not begin and end with just special pricing. If customers are raising money for a cause, promote it; especially if it is a cause that directly relates to your market and demographic.
You can also highlight customers on your website. Display their stories and their voice; giving them the spotlight while also subtly narrating the success your product has had with them. This can be done via testimonial videos, which are also incredibly effective marketing tools.
Offer discounts to loyal customers for special events and invite them to networking mixers where they can rub elbows with some of your other loyal customers.
Run a Contest
Contests are a great way to give back to your customers and communicate with them in a tangible way outside of your business. Give them a chance to win something substantial, which has value to them, and you’ll be shocked at the level of engagement you receive.
Not only does this deepen the relationship between company and customer, it also gives you an opportunity to reward your customer for their participation, with special offers and future promotions.
Customers want to engage with the brands they use. By reaching out and giving them your attention, you’ve won part of the battle on retention.
Establishing meaningful relationships with your customers will help you retain their business, even if a competitor is offering lower prices or enhanced features.