Today’s competitive business landscape means it’s not enough to simply have a great brand and product. Connecting with your customers, building a relationship and learning about what they really need is just as important.
But how does one actually go about establishing relationships with customers? Especially when a growing number of customer-brand relationships take place outside of a physical store. These tips will help you achieve your objectives.
Engage your customers to encourage communication
The cornerstone of any good relationship, regardless of whether it’s personal or within a business setting, is great communication. Promoting your brand and product is important, but taking the time to listen and understand what your customers want and need is just as critical, if not more. We all need to be recognized and understood.
Instead of only telling customers why your product is great, also give them the opportunity to talk to you, to tell you what they need. It seems obvious, but for many webshops whose primary way of differentiating themselves is in fact how they meet their customers, it’s completely essential. And many webshops tend to forget that this part of business also exist, that it isn’t all transactional and ease of doing business with.
So by doing this, simply making your business available to talk to, your customers will feel heard and respected. Follow up with them in a timely manner, reply to questions and complaints and make sure no customer is left without a response. And collect all the feedback you get.
Encourage customers to share feedback
Encouraging customers to share feedback shows that you are open to their suggestions. It underscores that you are willing to listen to what your customers have to say, regardless if it’s good or bad. The important thing to remember here is that you have to address their concerns.
Remember, it takes time for customers to do all these things for your brand. Let them know that you recognize that and that you appreciate it. You can do this by offering exclusive discounts or rewards to those who share feedback.
Go above and beyond to live up to customer expectations
Work on the premise that your customers expect a consistently good (not awesome) experience, which encompasses both your products and services. Your goal should be to simply live up to those expectations.
It seems simple, but it’s often really hard and requires a lot of room to maneuver for employees. On a cost-benefit basis, on average, it’s better to live up to expectations than exceed them, especially for a new business. That is unless you choose to invest extra resources to exceed expectations.
A quick tip to exceed expectations is quite simple: Try delivering the same service and products, but provide them earlier than expected. Keep your customers in the loop with the latest about your products or services as well, but do try to keep it relevant for each customer.
Don’t skimp on customer support
Make sure you have people and processes in place to help customers and collect their feedback. Furthermore, try to have enough resources and invest in good tools for them. We’ve found that one thing especially makes a big difference for a better support experience: implementing software that allows support to keep track of conversations that occur across different channels with the same customer. Doing so will eliminate the risk of your customers having to repeat themselves, which we all absolutely hate to do.
If integrated with your own systems, it also allows customer support to actually know customers better since they have instant access to relevant customer data when assisting customers (e.g. order history, tracking, previous conversations, etc.), resulting in more personalized customer support.
Make it more personal
Technology affords us numerous opportunities to connect with customers on a personal level. There are a lot of online tools and platforms available today that offer better ways to communicate with customers.
Social media alone offers several options that facilitate open dialogue between brands and customers, and even Facebook has recently made a bid in customer support with their updates to Messenger.
The critical thing to remember is if you are using social media to engage with customers, it’s also vital that you tend to their support needs on social media as well. This includes addressing complaints and acknowledging compliments to show that you are a brand that values what customers think about you.
Loyal customers are the best advocates for your brand. Take the time to nurture them and build real relationships with them and you’ll see business soar.