I’m sure you’ve heard this: Customer Care is the new Marketing. I’m sure you’ve heard this too: It’s much cheaper to retain customers than it is to attract new ones. Are you having trouble understanding how you might convince your current customers to stick around, and perhaps purchase a little more? Check out these 5 tips that can help you drive loyalty in your current customer base using your existing customer support staff.
1. Listen. It’s easy for companies large and small to rely on assumptions and impulses to tell them what their customers want. When money is being spent on advertising and product development or improvement, we might think that if we add a feature or model or flavor our competitor has that we currently don’t, all of their customers will come straight to us. But until we listen, we really don’t know if that feature/model/flavor is even important to our customer. Asking questions and listening can truly take the guesswork out of business decisions.
2. Respond. People want answers to their questions and comments. And in today’s world of endless technology, people want answers right now. Acknowledging a customer’s inquiry in a timely fashion sends a message to your customer that he matters. When customers feel as though they matter, they are inclined to stay loyal to a company through hardships that might otherwise cause them to stray.
3. Be Human. Our society today has evolved into a more casual communication style. Long, formal written emails and letters have been replaced by quick, straight-forward interaction. We move fast, think fast, read emails and talk on the go, and don’t have time for lengthy exchanges. Use real, common language and insert some personality. People like people, and the more we can tell we’re talking to a real person that has similar experiences, the better we feel.
4. Remove Barriers. Do you have policies that benefit your company, but serve as obstacles to your customers? Do you ask customers to fill out the same information multiple times, or repeat their story over and over again? These may not sound like big issues, but they waste customer time and that can irritate your customers. Why not try to do some of this work for your customers? See if you can find a way to reduce customer effort, and you just might surprise your customer and inspire loyalty.
5. Keep Your Word. Do everything you can to follow through on commitments you make to customers. It sounds so obvious, but much of today’s customer frustration comes from a company’s failure to honor its commitments. If you find there is an area where your company frequently struggles, perhaps it’s time to re-evaluate the promises your company is making. When you set proper expectations from the beginning, customers find they are less surprised.
Do you have your own trick for inspiring customer loyalty? We’d love for you to share it here.