You know that feeling you get when you walk into a bar and hear a person say, “The usual?”. It’s one of life’s simplest pleasures and something that only loyal customers get to experience. Most importantly, it automatically makes you forget all the other gin joints in all the towns in all the world. This right here is a perfect example for a business on how to connect with customers.
The thing is, consumers value personal connections, and they express that value through their purchasing decisions. Today, businesses can collect large amounts of customer information that makes it easy to personalize experiences. However, they need to know how to use this data to make them feel like regulars.
The good news is, it’s not that complicated. Here are 10 ways to connect with your customers.
#1: Communicate With Your Customers
As a key to any good relationship, communication is an essential way to connect with customers. Promoting your business and listening to your customers is equally important. Rather than just telling customers about your business, have conversations with them. Find out what your customers need, then show them you have a solution to their problem.
The more you communicate, the bigger are chances you will connect with your customers. And that means the more likely they are to remember you and your business. You need a communication strategy to determine which communication method is best for your business and your target customers. Consider your customer demographics before you settle on a method. For example, social media is used differently across different age groups.
The same goes for your employees. You should teach them how to communicate with customers effectively. Instead of waiting for customer service to become a problem, foster communication skills with customers while onboarding new employees. Maintain an employee policy, requiring timely follow-up, to make sure the customer’s needs are met.
#2 Ask For Feedback
The best way to measure customer satisfaction is by analyzing customer feedback. It provides valuable insights into the areas that need improvement to build a stronger brand.
Whether customers have a good or bad opinion about your business, they will make their feelings known. Always show them you’re listening. Place comment cards on your business counter, or conduct a survey. You can also do feedback boxes or reach out directly.
Customer feedback helps you find the best solutions for your customers’ problems. The better your offering meets their needs, the more your business will grow.
Always listen carefully to comments and respond promptly, whether it’s a compliment or a complaint. The worst thing you can do is ask for feedback and then not address their concerns. And don’t forget, even negative feedback is valuable and can give you an honest gauge of customer satisfaction.
#3: Be Active On Social Media
Companies benefit from having social media accounts. However, simply having a social media account is not enough. You need to be actively engaged.
Many shoppers see whether a company has an online presence before they will do business with them. Customers are already using social media platforms to browse new products, leave reviews and share favorite items with their friends, and you should meet them where they are. Interacting on social media can help your company’s brand shine, and it is a great way to stay on your customers’ minds and feed.
#4: Show Appreciation
Reward long-time customers with a loyalty discount program. You can hand out reward cards or use a loyalty program app to track customer rewards.
With a loyalty program, customers earn points for buying your goods or services. After earning a certain number of points, the customer gets a reward. For example, you could reward a customer with a discount on their next purchase.
Also, give away inexpensive branded items, such as pens or notepads, or even expensive items, like shirts, hats, or jackets with your logo on them. It’s a small yet effective way to say thank you to customers while keeping your business top-of-mind.
#5: Respond to customers ASAP
We’re always on the lookout for some trendy tips or hacks. But often, the simplest changes that are right in front of our nose can have the biggest impact on results.
People expect a timely response after sending you an email, right? Twenty-four hours seems to be the politically correct time frame point for most people. It seems obvious when you think about it. Response within one day is still in the window of a time that feels right. And yet, how many times have you waited and waited and waited for someone to give you a simple “Yes” or “No?” Many times a simple, “Yes, I received this and will review in-depth to respond soon,” is enough. However, most companies still can’t even be bothered with that.
#6: Under-Promise and Overdeliver
This is a tricky one. When you underpromise, you set yourself up for success. Unforeseen obstacles and delays can arise at any time. A team member may get sick, or stakeholders may want changes. Even hardware can crash. Underpromising is a way of building these sorts of obstacles into the timeline. It allows you a safety net that can alleviate stress for you and your team.
To exceed customer expectations, you can deliver a product or service faster than anticipated. When you deliver earlier than expected, the customer will be happy about the surprise. For example, tell a customer their order will be ready by the end of the month, knowing you will have it ready a week earlier.
When you overdeliver, both you and the client receive a feeling of joy. The client is excited because they received more than they expected. And you, as the product or service provider, get a bump in your perceived value. The client then sees you as someone who really goes above and beyond.
If you impress your customers, they will keep coming back.
#7: Connect With Customers By Keeping Them In The Loop
Whether it’s a major announcement like the introduction of a new product or a service. Maybe an upcoming promotion, or your latest blog post, it’s imperative that you keep your customers in the loop.
Thankfully, this is becoming less challenging since you can easily reach your customers through email, newsletters, push notifications onto their mobile devices, or updating your social media channels through tools like MailChimp and Hootsuite.
Keeping your customers updated lets them know more about your business and how you can bring value into their lives.
#8: Learn From Brands Who Spoil Your Customers
Customer needs and expectations are constantly evolving, and those expectations are based on the sum total of all their experiences. Your customers are no longer comparing your product or service to the best in your industry. They compare you to the best of their experiences, which means your business competes against the world’s best brands.
A common mistake most companies and business owners make is they compare themselves to the industry competitors. Instead of focusing on how your competition meets customer needs, look for brands exceeding your customers’ expectations regardless of the industry. The amazing experiences your customers have with these brands will be imposed on you.
#9: Engage in Authentic Conversations
Customers are attracted to authentic people, and the human side of communication has re-emerged. Even the digital natives seek a more personalized, empathy-friendly world of tech-enabled communication and connection. In essence, customers want to be recognized as unique individuals, not just as users of your product, an order, or a series of cookies tracked on a website.
Today, brands increasingly communicate with consumers directly through helpful AI and customer-service automation. Brands should make sure a human element is maintained throughout every interaction, and customers can access real people when needed. Customer trust demands both the responsiveness of AI and a human touch.
#10: Solve Issues Promptly
One of the best ways to keep your customers happy will always to solving any issues they may have with your company quickly, whether it’s a complaint or a question. It shows that you care about your customers and value their business. Naturally, this means you need to constantly be monitoring social media in order to answer any complaints and questions promptly. Having someone dedicated to this can significantly benefit your business. You should also have a plan in place for dealing with complaints.
When you turn an unhappy customer into a satisfied one, they’ll be more likely to remain a customer. And they may become an advocate for your brand if they have a positive experience with you. Monitoring social media on a constant basis can also prevent a social media crisis from spiraling out of control by allowing you to immediately respond to anything that comes up. A crisis on social media can make or break your brand, so it’s vital to deal with it immediately.
Businesses can prosper as well as retain clients when their customers are happy. The good news is that connecting with customers doesn’t have to be overwhelming! It’s all about discovering the most appropriate tactics that suit your business niche and target audience. Follow these steps to improve the quality and consistency of your customer interactions, and you’ll be sure to connect with customers at every opportunity.