Connect With Your Customers
When you are getting ready to launch a startup, you have likely done plenty of research into where your customers usually hang out – and how you are going to engage with them. But there are always surprises in business – and one of them could be where and how you communicate with your fans, clients and buyers.
For a real connection with your customers, you must do it in a customized manner. So how can you connect with your customers in a way that matters no matter where they are? What do the top companies have in common, and how can you replicate them?
How can you know what you can do better if you aren’t asking your customers? Your customers have first-hand experience from buying or using your company. You might think that you need to improve your shipping methods – but they might tell you it is actually the buying process that is difficult.
Ask your clients or customers what you can do better – and then do it better.
Now and Future
The customers and clients you have now will enable you to have clients and customers in the future. Rather than keep looking to land a big fish, put the right time and effort into the people already putting their faith (and cash) in you. Simply by having happy clients, you will get more clients – and repeat business can be far more lucrative than new business.
A loyal client is likely to spend more over the duration of their need for your product or service.
When the time comes to scale and grow – do it while keeping your already loyal customers in mind. Grow with the space to keep them enjoying the same service they have from you since the start.
When clients and customers part with the money, they want a good experience that includes the product or service that they have purchased. Most companies go above and beyond to make sure that their customers know how much they are appreciated. Discounts, personalized offers, samples, acting on feedback, and engaging with them on social.
The competition to be great is tough – but if you choose to incorporate an appreciation of your customers and clients from the start, then you are giving them a reason to stick around.
It’s the little things like taking birthdays of the customers and sending them cards or discounts – something that secures the bond between you both.
There is a fine balance between being too salesy and too personal – but if you feel the need to choose between the two – opt for friendly and personal. No one enjoys being oversold to, because it makes it feels like all you want from the person is their money.
But to build a truly loyal customer, you need to make sure that you make it personal. Keep it conversational and friendly and respond to the needs of your customers.
You can set up emails to always have the name in the opening and offers that correspond to the preferences of the customer.
Look at how you can treat your clients and customers as people – not like numbers.
Your customers are going to contact you in the way that is easiest for them – not what is easier for you. If they receive a package and open it when they get in from a night shift and are not happy with it – they’re going to go for their most used social media or emails.
Customers who are based on the other side of the world will also communicate when and where suits them.
It’s your job to ensure you are keeping on top of all the feedback or complaints you get on any of your channels. For startups, you might not get more than 1 or 2 comments with a complaint, which allows you to set the precedence for dealing with customers.
Seek out the bad reviews and comments, and make a point of fixing the issue – don’t let customers believe that their experiences don’t matter. Prospective customers will also read those comments, and you never know how big of an order is going to go somewhere if they find you haven’t dealt with it properly.
It is possible to outsource customer services as your brand becomes bigger, but in the early days, it is going to be you dealing with it all.
Suppose you have a flair for social media, then great! But if not, you might quickly find that it becomes overwhelming. Ideally, you will be posting daily and, in some cases, more than once a day. On top of that, you’ll need to respond to engagements and track your metrics. Your customers will expect a response on social media comments within the first 24 hours. What that means is that you need to make sure that you are dedicating at least an hour a day to responding to comments.
A hands-on approach is good but keep in mind how much time that will take up. Instead, use tools to help you plan and automatically post your content. This takes the pressure off you to be on social media for hours each day (unless it is part of your business).
Be part of the conversation rather than just enjoying lots of likes and comments. Involve yourself and be present.
Above and beyond
Doing just enough is usually just not enough to make sure your customers are going to stick around. Very few companies set out to do ‘just enough’; instead, they want to do more, be more, and integrate themselves into the lifestyle of their ideal customers.
What is the value-added thing that you could do for your customer to put you firmly in their hearts and get that coveted top-of-the-mind position?
If you don’t have any customers to treat well yet, then here are some of the best tips around increasing your customer base: Gaining Customers – Start Your Business Magazine.