Marketing. It’s not for sissies. Many a marketer has spun themselves in circles trying to figure out the best way to sell. One clue to successful marketing that they may not realize is that it has more to do with who you know rather than what you know. Retention of your consumers is a key aspect of sales that you could potentially be overlooking. Let’s look at a few ways to hold onto those customers.
Quality customer service should be your primary focus in not only customer acquisition, but also in consumer retention. Research from the Gallup Group has shown that customers pay more attention to a brand when they received service evaluated as “courteous, willing, and helpful,” than when it was evaluated as “speedy.” And if those consumers are noting your brand in a positive way, you know they are more likely to come back.
Know Your Audience
Your focus always needs to be on the customer at hand. Spend as much time as it takes with the customer you are working with. (Just make sure the time is being sent productively, learning key customer traits.) Anytime a customer feels rushed or notes that their CSR has moved on to another customer, they are more likely to note that experience in a negative way. Imagine this: You came to a store on a rainy day to buy one specific product. After a long deliberation, you have finally found what you wanted, and—ready to end a long night—you head over to the customer service person. However, as soon as you get there, the phone rings. The rep picks up the phone and starts working on the order of the person who is probably sitting at home, comfy in a chair in their pajamas. You came out in the rain! You should have been the first priority. This leads you to have a negative experience with this store. Now, you might have an idea of how your customers are feeling. They want to be your number one priority.
Be Where Your Audience Is
Just as we said above, you need to make sure that you are doing everything your customer wants you to be doing. If the consumer has come to your website, and wants to make contact with you, how difficult have you made that for them? Once you have researched your customers, you should have an idea where they like to go. Are they a Twitter group, like many Millennials? Or do they prefer Facebook, like Gen Xers? Or, do they prefer good old email or phone contact to reach you with their questions? Whatever options you provide, make sure that your presence is not idle. If someone contacts you via a Facebook message, and does not hear back from you in a week, they are probably not coming back. (Not to mention, Facebook will let other users know that you have slow service.)
Get Everyone Involved
Nothing aggravates customers as much as getting false information. If your company has created a new return policy, and someone calls in and gets information about the old policy, you may never see that customer again. Or imagine how annoying it is when a customer gets one answer from one rep, but another answer from another rep. Not only is their understanding about the real answer muddied, you have just wasted their time in trying to get it figured out. Make sure everyone on your team is thoroughly clear about all policies they will be needing to communicate about.
Solve More than Just the Problem
If an error occurs, of course there should be an apology to the customer. But all is not lost! If you are able to go beyond the apologies and assure the customer that it will never happen again, because you have solved the problem that caused the error in the first place, you will appear caring and knowledgeable. Those are qualities consumers like to come back to.
In the end, you are going to have to see each customer as a friend. Don’t lose your friends. Do everything you can with your business to keep them close. They may just bring more friends to the party.