Friday, October 23, 2015

9 Low-Cost Ways to Show Customers You Care

To show customers you really care, you don’t need to dole out unreasonable discounts or charter a thank you cruise. Instead, zero in on creating an unmistakably great product, service, or experience that hits the exact mark for your target audience. Then fire up your creative side and add in a personal flair for low-cost ways to make customers smile in the moment—and stay happy in the long run.

After all, new customer acquisition can make or break a startup or small business. It can be a huge hurdle and cost, so once you win over a customer, be sure to keep them connected to your company by fostering that relationship for good. Here are 9 inexpensive ways to make this magic happen. 

#1: Make people your mission

What’s the core of your business? This may shock you, but it’s not your product, your service, your vision, your innovation or even your amazing team. Those are all just means to an end to solving a real problem for actual people. When the customer is king, you rule the marketplace by giving the people exactly what they want. Never lose that first-line focus.

When the customer is king, you rule the marketplace by giving the people exactly what they want.
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#2: Take names

From saying a genuine hello, to personalized email campaigns, to shouting out someone on social media, the best way to show customers you care is to say their name, early and often.

#3: Listen up

It’s like an outtake from the 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, or advice your mom would give, but listening with real empathy makes a world of difference. This is easier said than quietly done, but nothing helps a business stay on track more. “Bring customers into the kitchen,” says Matt Rissell, CEO of TSheets. “Or go to their kitchens.” Having easy outlets for customers to contact you is important, too. Think about a help page, live chat, email, phone, text, and other options (want some examples, check out TSheets’ customer support page)—and consider a cloud-based customer management solution to keep track of this all in a manageable, affordable, and even mobile way. 

#4: Hang out where they do

You don’t have to play pool at the bars your customers frequent, but where do they network online? What social media pages are they fans of? What podcasts do they listen to? Make sure you’re there too, and part of the engaging conversation.

#5: Check in

Remember to check in proactively. Set up online customer surveys. Follow up after any service issues arise. Or say someone left a review, positive or negative. Leave a quick answer back to either say thanks for the feedback or show what steps you’re taking to address the problem. A blog, feedback forum, and other online avenues can help pay this effort forward far into the future. 

#6: Surprise and delight

When unexpected, nice things happen, who can’t help but smile? In the days of online interaction, a physical birthday or anniversary card or small welcome gift in the mail can be a huge stand out. Plan out ways to wow customers, and win on word of mouth alone.

 #7: Offer a human touch

When you call someone by name, send a handwritten card, or have a real person available to talk to, that’s what sets you apart. The more your interactions feel like a real friendship, the longer the business relationship lasts. 

The more your interactions feel like a real friendship, the longer the business relationship lasts.
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#8: Make a VIP section

You can see it in the charts: some customers just add up to more. They are your superstars. Make them feel that way by giving them an elevated status. Have a special rewards system for loyalty with exclusive offerings, treats and discounts.

#9: Spread the love

Good customer service is about more than actions or words, it’s about a way of being. Every business has a personality. Make yours easy to love. Define a good customer-focused message that you can hold on to—and that your team lives and breathes—then go forward in confidence.

Take these tips to heart, and win over every customer.

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