It is important for new business owners to capture their target market in the early stages of their business. Why? Customers are the integral part of every business. In addition, customers employ a variety of touch points and exchanges with the companies that they do business with. Each of these exchanges will influence a customer’s general experience, approval or loyalty.
Therefore, it is important to keep your customer’s happy with the service you provide as well as the product. A customer wants to know ‘what’s in it for me?’ So, companies should offer value-added benefits that will let the customer know that they are important to the brand. Remember, it is not all about your company and what you are selling. How will your products sell without first ‘courting your customer’ and giving the impression that your brand is based on what they think? Let’s discuss some ways that you can please your customers and possibly maintain a higher customer retention rate.
Interacting with the Customer
Companies should use surveys to quantify and monitor their customer’s experience at each touch point as well as conduct relationship studies to cover a wide range of touch points. As an entrepreneur, you should effectively leverage technology to get immediate customer feedback (just like Starbucks) and collect customer data through various channels such as social media networking and email support. Putting your company’s brand in front of the customer and taking strategic steps to value your customer’s opinion are ideal ways to maintain a higher customer retention rate.
Some ways you should do this is through:
- Interactive webcasts
- User groups
- Online newsletter
- Online forums
- Contests via Facebook
- Allow customers to leave comments on company blog
You could invite your customers to participate in some of these online company events.
Reaching Out to the Customer
Instead of waiting until a customer calls to complain, it is better to reach out to the customers first. You can do so in a number of ways such as:
- Notifying a customer by email when a shipment is delayed
- Sending an email reminder to a customer regarding something that needs tracking (for example, reminding a customer that their credit card will soon be due or a medication needs refilling)
- Provide a means for customers to access and use online discount coupons
There are many companies being left behind when it comes to mobile technology. This concept is one of the best things that could have happened for a company’s loyalty program. It allows companies to speedily deliver customer rewards, interact closely with the customer and offer extra-value and convenient service that customers will appreciate such as point-of-sale where customers can buy directly from their cell phones. Even more favorable, all of this can be measured. In fact, you can adjust your strategies in real-time and use testing to allow for a more clear-cut and refined loyalty program. Another concept is to create a mobile app that rewards customers for possibly referring their friends and family via their social media networks.
Here is an example: Let’s say a restaurant employs the Punchh service, which is a branded mobile app, and the customer downloads the app, it adds a virtual punch card to the customer’s mobile device. The app is then launched when the customer goes to the restaurant and the restaurant owner ‘punches’ the loyalty card after a meal purchase. Here is where it gets more interesting: Punchh alerts Facebook to see which user made the referral and if the user has made other referrals to the same restaurant.
The Generation Y Consumers
Generation Y consumers tend to be more visually inclined. With the advent of Instagram Vine and Facebook, you should take advantage of posting images when launching a new product and listing a popular product. Go a step further and provide some ways for the customer to give their opinion, review and feedback on a product using this platform.
With these technologies, customers are given the opportunity to be heard and the information provided allows you to improve your product and services to meet the customer’s needs.